Olive trees have become very popular over the last few years and growing them indoors is becoming quite common. The olive tree is an extremely resilient plant and is able to withstand harsh conditions. Olive trees are not commonly considered as a Bonsai type, however it is possible to create Bonsai from olive trees and they look just as spectacular as the thousand year old ones.
The olive tree really makes for a beautiful Bonsai specimen and growing and taking care of olive Bonsai trees is not too much different from any other Bonsai species. They are a fruiting tree and can even produce Bonsai olives.
If you are interested in owning one of your very own Bonsai olives trees, here are some tips and care instructions.
By far the best type for bonsai cultivation would be Olea Oleaster, a wild olive whose cultivar “Olivastro” is used as rootstock for O. Europaea; formerly classified as the subspecies O. Europaea Oleaster. While this type is the most expensive to buy, it is extremely vigorous and can withstand a lot.
Even though olive trees are resilient and can handle growing in soil that isn’t always ideal, either being too alkaline or too acidic, they do best when grown in neutral soil. It is necessary that the soil has adequate drainage, but must also retain water to prevent the Bonsai olive tree from drying up. Try using a soil mix that contains 33% Akadama, 33% sand, 33% peat.
Olive trees generally do very well in warm climates with lots of sunlight. Olive Bonsai are very much the same and require being placed in an area that gets a lot of sun. If your bonsai has experienced a winter without much sunlight it is important to wean them onto sunlight. While it is possible for these Bonsai to survive in cold temperatures, they prefer warmer climates and will potentially die if temperatures are very low.
Like most plants and Bonsai, the olive tree requires a constant watering schedule, once daily is usually enough. Do not over water and water a bit more in the height of summer.
Feed your Olive tree with a low-nitrogen feed throughout the growing season which is from spring to mid autumn. Once-fortnightly should suffice.
Olive trees do not require a lot of repotting maintenance and only need to be repotted once every 2-3 years.
All Bonsai require pruning but the olive is considered to be slightly tricky to prune. When an olive branch is trimmed, the new growth that follows can be ugly and coarse.
When pruning the olive Bonsai, pinch out buds that are facing upwards and downwards. This maintains horizontal symmetry across the branches and will increase ramification along each branch. Ensure you prune branches that begin to face inwards. Remember that heavy pruning will lead to coarse growth.
Olive tree cultivars are available at these nurseries and olive estates:
Image source: http://www.bonsai-made-easy.com/bonsaiolivetree.html
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