Olea europaea, the European and Middle Eastern Olive tree, has been recorded as living over one thousand years. Belonging to the oleaceae plant family, the olea europaea is the only one of approximately 20 species which produces edible fruit.
The olive is a fruit of major economical and agricultural importance to the entire Mediterranean region, and its oils are used for many purposes all around the world. The scented creamy blooms along with its uniquely crackled bark and dark leathery leaves all contribute to the undeniably dainty beauty of a bonsai olive tree.
Wind, salt water and drought are all minor inconveniences to the bonsai olive tree, as it is very durable and thrives on the summer sun.
The choice of olive plant is greatly affected by the appearance of the different varieties. Leaf shapes vary from long and narrow to almost round, while their color is generally green, varying from a shiny dark green to a very light green, with silvery backing to some. The bark is generally a pale grey, and becomes gnarled over the course of time.
The flowers of the bonsai olive tree are tiny and fragrant and appear in the spring. After spring the tree will produce small green olives, which turn black when ripe before an autumn harvest. Though they are often eaten pickled or fresh, the most common consumption of olives is in the form of olive oil.
Conditions for your olive bonsai tree
The ideal conditions for your bonsai olive tree include a place in full sun. They can be kept indoors if you have large windows allowing bright light. Water the leaves occasionally with a mister during summer, and water the soil thoroughly but occasionally. Olives require less water in colder weather, and prefer dry climates.
After watering your bonsai olive plant do not be tricked into thinking it needs more water, as it will soak up and store the water you have given it for future use as if always preparing for a drought. This said, they do not survive a very long drought and you should water it close to its base as its root system isn’t very extensive.
Training your bonsai olive tree should occur at the end of spring, and should occur over a period of a couple of weeks rather than all in one day. Unexpected results cam occur when pruning branches, as the new shoots do not always appear where you would expect them and a pruned branch will sometimes wither and die. Binding should be done sparingly, as olive trees have little tolerance and can snap off quite easily. Bonsai olive tree is one of the few types of bonsai which require the branches to be wrapped in material or raffia before they are wired to prevent the bark from being damaged.
Avoid leaving any of the bonsai olive tree’s roots exposed as they are very delicate. Use liquid fertilizer in the summer, and none in the winter. Every couple of years in the early spring, repot your bonsai olive in soil which drains well.