Can You Grow an Olive Tree from a Pit

Many people usually use cuttings to grow olive trees. But guess what? You can start an olive tree from a pit, too. The simple pit of an olive has the potential to become a strong, giving tree.

Getting pits to grow is not easy. To up your chances, plant several pits, not just one. Growing an olive tree from a pit can be a rewarding experience. This detailed guide will walk you through the entire process. Find out how to propagate olive trees successfully and enjoy the process.

Understanding Olive Pit Propagation

Olive pit propagation is how you grow olive trees from pits or seeds. Although most olive trees start from cuttings, pits can work too. Yet, it's tough because not many pits will sprout.

To better your odds, plant lots of pits. Get fresh seeds in fall. Those from store olives might not grow well.

First, prep the pits. Soak them in water for a day. This step is key to break the hard shell and help them sprout. Then, plant them in soil that drains well, mixing sand and compost.

Germination needs the right setup. Keep the pots in the shade, in a cold frame. Use a mat to keep them at 16 degrees Celsius. It can take a month for plants to show up.

When seedlings appear, they need to get used to outside slowly. In two weeks, they should be ready to face the open air.

Move the seedlings in mid-fall. Cooler, wet weather is perfect then. This timing makes their new home kinder.

Planting from pits asks for patience and good steps. Even though many pits won't grow, the right care improves your chances.

How to Gather and Prepare Olive Pits for Planting

Interested in growing olive trees from pits? Here's a guide on how to do it. Let's start:

  1. Gather Fresh Olives: Pick fresh olives straight from the tree in autumn, before turning black. Avoid anything with holes or damage.
  2. Gently Crush the Olives: Crush the olives to loosen the flesh. This makes it easier to remove.
  3. Soak the Crushed Olives: Soak them in water overnight. This helps remove any leftover flesh or debris.
  4. Clean the Pits: Remove the flesh from the pits. Use a scouring pad to scrub them clean.
  5. Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the pits under running water. Make sure they're clean and free of any debris.
  6. Nick the Pits: Make a small nick at the end of each pit. This is important for the seedling to grow out.
  7. Soak the Prepared Pits: Let the nicked pits soak in water for a day. This prepares them for planting.

Now, you're set to prepare and plant the olive pits. In the next part, we'll show you how to plant them and care for the seedlings.

Planting Olive Pits: A Step-by-Step Guide

Planting olive pits is an exciting way to start your olive grove. It's important to be careful and use the right methods. Follow these steps for a good chance at germination:

Gather Materials

Before you start, gather what you'll need:

  • Olive pits
  • Well-draining soil mix (half sand, half seed compost)
  • Individual containers
  • Shaded cold frame
  • Germination mat
See also
How to Graft Fruit Trees

Prepare the Soil

Fill each container with moist but not waterlogged soil. The mix should be well-draining.

Sow the Olive Pits

Sow the olive pits in the soil mix. Plant each one at a depth equal to two times its diameter. This is the best for germination and root growth.

Provide the Right Environment

Put the containers in a shaded cold frame. Use a germination mat at 60 degrees F (15 degrees C) for the best start. Keep this up for about a month.

Maintain Moisture Levels

Keep the soil moist at the top during germination. But, let the top layer dry between waterings. This helps avoid disease.

Adjust Germination Mat Temperature

Gradually raise the germination mat's temperature as seedlings appear. 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) is ideal. It helps the seedlings get used to warmer weather.

Acclimate the Seedlings

After a month, the seedlings should be acclimated outside. Gradually give them more sun and adjust your watering to outdoor conditions.

Transplant the Seedlings

In cool, moist mid-autumn, move the seedlings outside. Choose a sunny, well-draining spot. Water and protect the trees from harsh weather during the move.

Follow these steps to grow olive trees from pits successfully. With patience and proper care, you'll enjoy your olive tree's growth and beauty over the years.

Caring for Olive Seedlings: Tips for Successful Growth

Once the olive seedlings start growing, they need special care. This will help them grow well. Here are some key tips for taking care of olive seedlings:

Gradual Acclimation to Outdoor Conditions

After sprouting, olive seedlings must get used to the outside slowly. Less than two weeks is best for this. They get used to the sun, temperature, and air. Always keep them sheltered from direct sunlight at first.

Optimal Watering Practices

For growing strong, olive seedlings need just the right amount of water. They should be watered once a week or maybe once every two weeks. This depends on how warm or cold the weather is, and whether the olives are for eating or oil.

Check the soil’s moisture often. You don’t want it to dry out too much or get too wet. Adjust how often you water based on this.

Temperature Considerations

Olive seedlings thrive in certain temperatures. Begin at 60 degrees F (16 C) and warm up to 70 degrees F (21 C) after a month. This helps their roots and whole plant grow strong.

Keep them safe from too much cold or heat during this time. When planting, they shouldn't be more than 800 meters above sea level, where frost can harm them.

Transplanting in Mid-Autumn

Choosing the right time to move your olive seedlings is important. Mid-autumn is the best for them. The weather is cool and damp, perfect for their roots to grow.

Make sure the seedlings are watered well and kept safe from very cold or hot weather during the move. This will help them grow successfully.

Optimal Care Practices for Olive Seedlings
Gradually acclimate seedlings to outdoor conditions over two weeks
Keep seedlings in a lightly shaded area during hot summer months
Water seedlings once a week to once every two/three weeks
Monitor moisture levels and adjust watering frequency accordingly
Start germination at 60°F (16°C) and increase to 70°F (21°C) after the first month
Protect seedlings from extreme temperatures and frost during acclimation
Transplant seedlings in mid-autumn when the weather is cool and moist
Ensure proper watering and protection during the transplanting process

Selecting the Right Olive Tree Variety for Your Location

Choosing an olive tree for your spot means looking at different kinds. With many varieties worldwide, each has unique needs. Research is key to growing a successful olive tree.

Olive trees do best in climate zones 8-11. Make sure your area fits into this range. Knowing your local growing zones helps find the right olive tree variety.

See also
How Often to Water an Orchid in a Pot

When picking an olive tree, consider how soon it will bear fruit. Some trees start at three years old, while others need five to twelve. The type and your growing conditions affect when you'll see fruit.

For olive trees to have fruit, they often need others to pollinate them. Without the right pollinator, fruit may not grow well or at all. Ensure your tree's pollinator is nearby for good fruiting.

Think about sunlight, soil, and space too. Olive trees love six to eight hours of daily sun. So, pick a sunny spot for them to grow well.

Olive trees handle many soil types but must drain well to avoid sickness. Clays might not be best. Consider using Coco-Fiber Potting Medium or adding peat to help soil drain.

For multiple olive trees, plant them with enough space. This stops them from fighting for nutrients. Spacing depends on the tree size.

Planning for more olive trees in the future is smart. Leave enough space for new trees. This stops overcrowding and helps your orchard stay healthy.

So, think about your climate, when the tree fruits, pollination, sunlight, soil, and spacing. Knowing these will help you pick a good olive tree for your area. This way, you'll grow strong, fruitful olive trees.

Harvesting Olives for Propagation

Harvesting olives for propagation is vital to grow new olive trees from seeds. It's best to pick them in early autumn when they're ripe and still green. You should take them right off the tree to avoid any damage or dirtiness.

Don't use olives that have fallen or have holes from insects. These might not have good seeds or could be dirty, which would make growing new trees harder. Always pick fresh, healthy olives from the tree for the best chance of success.

After harvesting, you need to get the seeds out and clean them well. Start by taking the pulp off, crush the olives gently, and let them sit in water overnight. This step makes it easier to pull the seeds from the flesh and ensures they're clean.

The right way to harvest olives means you'll get good seeds for new trees. Growing olive trees from seeds is a great way to get more of these wonderful plants. It offers a fresh look at how to cultivate these hardy trees.

Key Steps for Harvesting Olives for Propagation
Gather fresh and ripe olives in early autumn.
Pick olives directly from the tree, avoiding fallen or damaged olives.
Gently crush the olives to remove the pulp.
Soak the crushed olives in water overnight.
Separate the seeds from the pulp and clean them thoroughly.

Tips for Successful Olive Tree Growth and Care

Proper care is key for olive trees to grow well. Use these tips for a thriving tree and abundant fruit.

1. Provide Adequate Sunlight

Olive trees need lots of sunlight for best growth. Plant them where they'll get 6-8 hours of sun daily. This helps with good photosynthesis and energy production for growth.

2. Ensure Well-Draining Soil

Olive trees can handle various soils but need good drainage to avoid root issues. Ensure the soil drains well to prevent water from sitting around the roots. Add organic matter if drainage needs improvement.

3. Water Regularly

Watering right is vital for olive trees, especially in hot places. These trees like deep but less frequent waterings. Give them a deep soak weekly to reach the root zone. Don't overwater to avoid root rot and other problems.

4. Minimal Pruning

Olive trees need less pruning than some other fruit trees. Focus on cutting out dead or sick branches and on letting light in by thinning. Do this during the dormant season to not harm fruit growth.

See also
When to Plant Spring Onions

5. Fruit Production Timeline

The time an olive tree starts to bear fruit depends on its type. Some get fruits at 3 years old, but some might take 5-12 years. Be patient and give good care. After they start fruiting, they'll keep producing for many years.

6. Use Mulch

Put mulch around your olive tree for many benefits. It saves water, stops weeds, and keeps the soil's temperature even. As the mulch breaks down, it puts nutrients back into the soil, helping the tree.

With these care tips, your olive tree will grow strong and give lots of fruit. Olive trees are tough and long-lasting, perfect for any yard or garden.

The Timeline for Olive Tree Fruit Production

Growing olive trees is a patient's game. They need time to bear fruit, affected by their type and the environment. Here's a look at how long it takes different olive tree types to produce fruit:

Arbequina Olive Variety

The Arbequina olive variety fruits early. It usually starts bearing olives after three years. These olives are small to medium but are prized for their mild, buttery taste. They are a favorite of growers and olive oil fans.

Coratina Olive Variety

The Coratina variety blooms after about five years. Sometimes, it might take even longer to start fruiting. Their large, oval, and uneven olives produce an oil that's bold, bitter, and sometimes spicy. This makes it a good choice for those who like strong flavors.

Hojiblanca Olive Variety

Compared to others, the Hojiblanca variety blooms a bit later. But, with patience and good care, they can give lots of olives. Its olive oil is known for starting sweet and going to bitter and spicy. It offers a taste that many find interesting.

Picual Olive Variety

Among Spain's most common is the Picual olive. It starts fruiting about three years in. The oil from these olives tastes bitter and spicy. It adds a bold, unique flavor to dishes.

Fruit production's timeline is linked to several factors like the growing location, the tree's health, and the weather of the area. While some olive tree types can fruit early, others may require more time to mature. Giving your trees the care they need, including watering, feeding, and keeping pests away, can quicken their time to bear fruit.

Timeline for Fruit Production
Flavor Profile
Approximately 3 years
Mild and buttery
Approximately 5 years
Strong, bitter, and sometimes spicy
Smooth and sweet transitioning to bitter and spicy
Approximately 3 years
Bitter and spicy

Taking good care of your olive trees is the key to fruit production success. This includes regular watering, fertilizing, pruning, and preventing pest and disease attacks. With the right care and patience, you will see the fruits of your labor in time.


Growing an olive tree from a pit is worth the effort. With the right steps, you can see your tree grow and bear olives. The key is to plant more than one pit to increase your chance of success.

Be sure to pick fresh pits from ripe olives and clean them well. They need good soil and enough water to sprout. It's important to care for the seedlings as they grow.

Choose the right olive tree type for your area. Olive trees like sunny, dry places with good soil. They don't need much water once they're grown.

Planting olive trees is not only fun but can also make money. You might get some good income from them. Urban olive farms can also help fight poverty and use water wisely.

It takes time and care to grow an olive tree from a pit. But, with the right method, you'll see it flourish. Try different types and give them the care they need.

Was This Helpful?
Spring Portal Blog