An Olive bonsai is a great choice for any home, office or outdoor living area. Olives are very versatile and able to adapt well to most indoor environments. They actually thrive on neglect!
A neglected olive will only grow more healthy throughout the years but they can also be a demanding pet if you’re not careful. To help you properly care for your olive bonsai, we’ve put together this guide with everything you need to know.
Continue reading if you want to know more about the best Olive Bonsai Care guide on the internet.
An olive bonsai should be planted in a well drained soil mix. A good potting soil mix for olives can be made from two parts potting soil, one part horticultural sand and one part perlite. For a more advanced mix, use four parts bonsai soil with three parts perlite and one part vermiculite.
To determine the amount of ingredients needed, double the size of your desired bonsai pot in inches and then multiply by two to figure out how many cubic inches you need. For example: a 10 inch pot would need 20 cubic inches of soil mix.
In general, olive trees need to be watered about once a week. However, during periods of high heat and low humidity, this may increase up to daily watering. When watering an olive bonsai, be sure to saturate the soil mix but don’t allow it to become waterlogged.
Allow the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry out before watering again. Olives prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH level of 5.5-6.8 so adding a teaspoon of sulfur to the soil mix before planting will help achieve this if your soil is alkaline. To test the pH level of your soil, use Litmus paper or buy an electronic pH tester that you can find at most home improvement stores for about $20.
Olive bonsai trees prefer warmer temperatures that range from 50-75 degrees Fahrenheit. They do not like cold drafts or extreme fluctuations in temperature so it is important the tree is placed in a location where it will receive the proper amount of light and warmth.
Olive bonsais do best when placed in a bright location with some direct sunlight. However, they can also adapt to lower light levels if needed. If you’re keeping your olive bonsai indoors, be sure to place it near a window where it will receive at least four hours of direct sunlight each day.
Fertilize your olive bonsai once every two weeks during the growing season (March-September) with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label as too much fertilizer can be harmful. Stop fertilizing in October and resume again in March.
Olives can develop thick trunks and will form multiple branches when kept indoors. There are no rules when it comes to pruning your olive bonsai but typically, you’ll want to remove the newest growth which is usually in the center of the plant.
If you’re removing a lot of primary branches, you may want to leave at least one branch at the end of any cut you make to ensure that sap does not run out of the trunk. If the sap is allowed to collect at multiple locations on your tree, it can lead to problems with bacterial and fungal diseases so take care when pruning.
If you’d like to shape your olive into a bonsai masterpiece, wiring may be the technique for you. Wire can be used to gently guide branches into the desired position. When wiring, use a wire that is soft and easy to bend.
Aluminium or copper wire works well but be sure to avoid using galvanized wire as it can damage the bark of your tree. After wiring, make sure to check the wire daily to make sure it is still tight and hasn’t cut into the bark.
Insects and Diseases
Olives are susceptible to a number of insects and diseases so it’s important to be vigilant in checking for any signs of trouble. The most common pests that affect olives are aphids, scale, spider mites and whiteflies. If you notice any insects on your tree, use horticultural oil or insecticidal soap to get rid of them.
Diseases that can affect olives include bacterial canker, olive knot, olive anthracnose and olive dieback. If you see any symptoms of disease, such as lesions on the leaves or bark, take your tree to a local nursery for diagnosis and treatment.
The final consideration when caring for olive bonsai trees is their placement. They should be protected from drafts as well as direct sunlight which can cause scorching on leaves, branches, or bark. In addition to avoiding too much sun exposure, olive trees also need plenty of indirect light. A bright east- or west-facing window is ideal.
What Size Should Your Bonsai Pot Be?
The first thing you need to consider is the size of the pot. A common misconception among beginners is that an excessively large pot will allow the roots to expand and eventually fill the pot with roots.
However, this is not true. Roots do not grow indefinitely and may even die off if there is too much space in the pot. The purpose of a bonsai pot is to create an environment that limits root expansion by exposing all sides of the roots to air.
A general rule of thumb is to select a pot that is 2/3 the size of the tree’s root ball. So, if you have an 8″ diameter root ball, you would use a pot with a diameter of at least 5″.
What Type of Pot Should You Use?
The best type of pot for a bonsai is an unglazed “yakishime” pot. Unglazed pots allow the soil to breathe and help regulate the moisture levels in the pot. They are also more durable than glazed pots and can withstand outdoor elements.
If you are unable to find a yakishime pot, you can also use a glazed stoneware pot. Be sure to select a pot with a drainage hole in the bottom so that water can be drained as needed.
How to Care for Olive Bonsai Trees
Olive bonsai trees are very easy to care for and will do best if you follow these steps:
- Place the olive tree in an area that receives at least six hours of sun every day.
- Water sparingly, only applying enough water so that the soil is completely moist, but not soggy.
- Fertilize with a time-release fertilizer during the growing season.
- Re-pot every couple of years or as needed to accommodate your tree’s growth.
Olive bonsai trees are beautiful and simple to care for. Make sure your tree gets six hours of sunlight every day, make sure the roots are not exposed, and fertilize during the growing season. If you follow these easy steps, you will never go wrong with your olive bonsai trees!
With a little bit of care, your olive bonsai will thrive and provide you with years of enjoyment. By following the tips in this article, you can ensure that your tree remains healthy and beautiful.