The Olive tree is one of the most beloved and well-known trees on Earth. Its history is tied to Ancient Greece and mythology, dating back over 6,000 years to the Early Bronze Age. The cultivated olive tree may be the oldest known tree, and fossilized leaves have been found buried deep in the Earth on the Greek island of Santorini dating back 37,000 years.
It was the Spanish who brought olives to the New World in the 1560's, and around 1770, missionaries introduced olive trees to California. The Mission San Diego de Alcala was the first mission to start cultivating the trees.
We love olive trees because of their delicate and simple beauty. As houseplants and gardening become more popular, so does the search for easy- to-grow, attractive trees to add to interior home design or outdoor landscape. Whether you like the pruned, topiary style or more wild and free, olive trees add style and personality. In the ground or in a pot, an olive tree can thrive and become a part of your family's history and tradition for generations.
Here are 5 reasons to own an olive tree:
They are easy to care for.
Olive trees are low maintenance plants. They are drought tolerant and prefer dry soil and air, regular watering, and six hours of daily sunlight. Their adaptability means that they are cold hardy, yet can handle warmer temperatures as well.
They can be kept indoors.
Although they are happiest outdoors in fresh air, olive trees can also be kept indoors by a window. They will fruit whether they are in a pot or in planted in the ground. There are also decorative fruitless olive trees.
They are symbolic of peace, friendship and tradition.
Giving an olive tree is an offering of peace and friendship. Olive trees are frequently used in wedding ceremonies to symbolize love and tradition. A small olive tree makes a lovely Wedding, Housewarming, Mother's Day, "I'm Sorry" or "Thank you for your Hospitality" gift.
You can use them in flower arrangements and home decor.
The silvery, feather-like leaves on an olive tree branch can be the perfect touch for your tabletop decor. It can be the pop that you need in a homemade bouquet. Or the extra touch on a beautifully wrapped gift. Olive tree branches and leaves have so many uses in home decor or DIY projects- a search on Pinterest will attest to that!
They are great for small spaces.
The olive tree's minimal and modern aesthetic is perfect in smaller living spaces. The upright growth can reach up to ten feet tall, but with regular pruning and maintenance, the olive tree can stay smaller. There are also more compact, dwarf varieties such as Arbequina that only grow up to 6 feet.