Not the plant you're looking for? Search over 300,000 plants
ShrubsTreesFruit Edible

Olea europaea (F)

common olive

Has a rugged, much-branched habit and slow growth, eventually 4.5-9m. Leaves are narrowly obovate or oval, to 7.5cm long, leathery, silvery beneath. Very small white flowers are borne in axillary racemes to 5cm long. Many cultivated varieties have been developed from this species, some of which may fruit in UK under favourable conditions.

Other common names
cultivated olive
edible olive
see moreEuropean olive
lady's oil
olive oil plant
sweet oil plant

Join the RHS

Become an RHS Member today and save 25% on your first year

Join now
Buy this plant
Size
Ultimate height
4–8 metres
Time to ultimate height
20–50 years
Ultimate spread
1.5–2.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green Grey Silver
Summer White Green Grey Silver
Autumn Green Grey Silver
Winter Green Grey Silver
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H4
Botanical details
Family
Oleaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Olea are small or medium sized evergreen trees with simple, opposite leathery leaves. Flowers are in terminal or axillary panicles, and are small, whitish and followed by an ovoid, oblong or globose drupe (fruit).

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Mediterranean

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in deep, fertile, sharply-drained soil in full sun. Under glass, grow in John Innes No 3 with added sharp sand, in full light. See olive cultivation

Propagation

Propagate by seed in spring at a temperature of 13-15°C (55-59°F). Can also be propagated by semi-ripe cuttings in summer

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Coastal
  • Gravel garden
  • Patio and container plants
  • Mediterranean climate plants
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Sub-tropical
  • Edible fruit
Pruning

Pruning group 1. Under glass prune to restrict size in spring

Pests

scale insect may be a problem

Diseases

High Risk Host for Xylella fastidiosa. May be susceptible to honey fungus (rarely)

My Garden

Your free RHS gardening coach

Keep track of your plants with reminders & care tips – all to help you grow successfully

My plants
My calendar

My plants

My calendar

My ideas
Manage membership

My ideas

My advice

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.