Olives provide a bold mediterranean ornamental statement with silvery foliage and twisting trunks. They prefer hot climates but still do well here in coastal gardens. An olive grows slowly and may need a more consistent watering schedule to get started in the sand.

Olives are lovely when trained to a multi-trunk form. If this is the desired effect, you will need to plan on pruning to this shape annually. Otherwise maintenance is generally low.

If you are planning to grow olives for fruit, plan on shopping around for a cool weather variety at a specialty nursery. A word of caution – fruiting olives will drop a lot of fruit (and stain) and should be kept away from foot traffic areas.

You can buy advertised "fruitless" varieties of olive, if you are concerned about pollen allergies.

Maximum height
25-30 feet tall & wide

Life Span
100 + years

Pollen is known allergen

Criteria for Ranking

1 (low) - 5 (high)

Drought Tolerance after first year establishment 5
Wind Tolerance 5*
Frost Tolerance 5
Surface Roots/Sidewalk Lifting 5
Power Lines Proximity

5 (good choice)
Cost/Maintenance 4
Disease Resistance/Hardiness 5
*note asterisk denote species will be shaped by a prevailing wind. Single trunk trained trees need more protection than multi-trunk to grow straight. Olive tree at top left is developing a lean from prevailing wind.

Location Several young olives are planted at the new library in the parking lot, and, along Deforest by the church. (see image top left.)