Bonsai Olive Tree: How to Grow and Care!

bonsai olive tree

Oh, the olive trees and the enchanting bonsais! Olive trees are one of the spectacular trees to have in any bonsai lover’s collection.

But do you know how to grow and care for an olive bonsai at home?

If not, then trust me, you are at the right place. But before going any further, let me tell you about my own practical experience of cultivating olive trees as bonsai in my home in Delhi. It has been nearly ten years since I bought my first olive tree and it is still doing well in my home.

There is a myth going around on the internet in bonsai circles that olive trees don’t like winters or cooler climates. Delhi can get cool during the winter seasons, and that is why most people avoid this bonsai to bring home.

Well, trust me, in my experience, this is not true, sadly the internet is full of misinformation. Olive trees make the ideal indoor bonsai plants and it won’t take you long to find out whether they can survive cool climates or not.

Having an olive tree growing in a bonsai only enhances its beauty, which has been admired for thousands of years. Olive trees grown as bonsai are unique and a great addition to your collection. They give your home a lively appearance. The flowers they grow are exquisite, and the plants they bear are good for health.

Today, I will chat about how to grow this bonsai, how to take care, how to make this olive tree into a bonsai at your home on your own, and what are the benefits of having this bonsai in your home. So, without further delay, let’s begin!

How To Grow An Olive Bonsai Tree?

If you ask me, my experience of growing this olive bonsai tree for over ten years now has been very rewarding. Olives will always tell you that ‘it wants to grow’. All we have to do is create suitable temperatures and conditions while providing proper care and attention. There are a few little tricks or steps that you can follow to grow a healthy olive bonsai tree at home. Let us find out these tricks or steps!

Step 1: Planting an olive seed

Take an olive seed and plant them in the soil thoroughly.
Ensure it is the right time of the year, so there’s a good growth of the bonsai. You can even use the cutting method if you like.

Step 2: Decide the design

Then, decide the design you want for your bonsai and plant the tree accordingly for the tree to grow in that shape. 

Step 3: Keep the bonsai under sunlight

Keep the bonsai tree directly under the sunlight for at least 4 to 8 hours. Sunlight is very important for growing an olive bonsai tree as they are native to warm regions.

Step 4: Water the bonsai

Water the plants regularly. Check the soil every day to see if it has dried up. You should water once a week to avoid any overwatering. Since the bonsai olive trees are adapted to heated areas they need lots of water, especially during summers. And in winter, your water is within limits. 

Step 5: Fertilize the bonsai

The last step is fertilization. The bonsai should be fertilized every once a month to provide the plants with the nutrients it needs that the soil cannot provide with it. Fertilization is essential for all bonsais and plants.

How To Care For Olive Bonsai Trees?

Caring for any bonsai is very important for many reasons. One is to keep them in miniature versions, and the other is to give them the desired shape. Bonsai trees are usually brought to homes to give the surrounding a vibrant and bright environment. They can catch all the negative energy around it and provide fresh air.

To understand further how to care for an olive bonsai tree, I have listed below some pointers that you can take into consideration while planting or growing them.

1. Temperature requirements of olive bonsai tree

Bonsai olive trees need bright and warm temperatures, the same as native olive trees. The bonsai should always be kept in the sunniest location whether indoors or outdoors. It is ideal for the tree to receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. The bonsai can easily survive in high temperatures.

During summers, olive bonsai trees are best to be kept on a terrace or balcony where it gets lots of air movement and sunlight. As for winters, the best location for the bonsai would be indoors, but it should receive as much as bright light and air it can get.

But always be careful to avoid too much humid temperature around it. You may be comfortable with the heat, but the same cannot be said for olive bonsai trees. Excess humidity can harm the plant.

2. Watering requirements of olive bonsai tree

Bonsai olive trees need plenty of water. Since they are kept in small containers indoors, they tend to dry up more quickly than other plants. A daily check is necessary to prevent it from happening. Water is one of the most essential requirements for this plant to grow thoroughly.

You should add water to the bonsai generously until it is dripping from the drainage hole in the pot. It is essential to keep the soil moist and hydrated. Adding a layer of moss or gravel to the ground will reduce the chances of them drying up quickly. Due to it being habitable to warm temperatures, it needs plenty of water.

3. Fertilizing requirements of olive bonsai tree

Fertilizers are necessary for all plants as it gives the bonsai nutrients that the soil cannot provide to them. Since the olive bonsai tree is a fruit-bearing plant, it requires more fertilizers than other regular plants. The reason is that the fruit also takes nutrients from the soil to grow steadily. But once they are detached, it takes away all the minerals with them, leaving the plant with depleted soil.

A unique quality of olive bonsai is that it can even grow on bad soil. However, the bonsai requires a steady nutrient supply during its growing period from March to September. But avoid fertilizing them during winters. You also have to remember to limit your fertilization so that no harm comes to the bonsai.

Organic fertilizers like Hanagokoro and Biogold or natural fertilizers are best to use for olive bonsai trees. But it is not compulsory to apply for them. You can also utilize liquid fertilizers by diluting them to their saturation point. It is one of the best ways to safeguard the plant from over-fertilization.

4. Pruning requirements of olive bonsai tree

Pruning is essential for olive bonsai trees for better and healthy growth. Olive bonsai trees are slow-growing plants that sprout out well, making them easy to prune. But try to avoid pruning them during their growing seasons as it lowers their growth rate. While doing so, you also have to be careful that you do not weaken the tree.

The shoots of the olive bonsai trees have to be shortened to gain a fine structure and branching. But if you do not cut the shoots down, then they become thicker and stronger. This way you don’t achieve your goal. You should usually carry out the removal of shoots during the end of the growing period or winters.

5. Propagation requirements for olive bonsai tree

The propagation of the bonsai olive trees can be done by two methods, one by tree seeds and the second by cutting. Growing the bonsai from cutting should usually be done in summer as it is more difficult to grow than the seedlings. A temperature of at least 20 degrees celsius or higher is needed during cutting.

Now for growing the bonsai from the seeds, the best time in the year to propagate them is spring. They also require high temperatures while developing. The bonsai grows rapidly even after drastic root cuts. It depends on you on how you want to grow your bonsai. Choose the method that is comfortable and suitable for you and your plant.

6. Styling requirements of olive bonsai tree

Olive bonsai trees can be styled into various designs. The broom shape and free upright shape are amongst the most common styles used for this tree. But they can also be styled in semi-cascades or cascades.

7. Wiring requirements of olive bonsai tree

Wiring is mostly done in any bonsai to attain the desired shape. Olive bonsai trees do not often require the use of bonsai wire as they sprout out well. Young shoots and branches are more flexible to wire and shape but the same cannot be said about the older ones.​​

The old branches can easily break as they are thick and bristle. You have to be very careful while bending them. An easy way to do this is by using a thin bonsai wire to pull the branches to get them in a likable shape.

8. Trimming requirements of olive bonsai tree

This is also another important topic to understand while growing a bonsai tree. Trimming is necessary to maintain the miniature version of the tree. It should be done at regular intervals. The best time to trim the olive bonsai tree is around spring, summer, or late winter.

For the olive bonsai trees to grow safely, you should trim the young developed branches. This ensures a long, healthy life for your bonsai. Nevertheless, avoid cutting all the new growth during trimming. Leave a few of them to sustain the health of the tree.

You can pick the weak branch by hand and for the old ones use sharp shears. Make sure that the cuts made are precise and quick so you do not harm the plant. Trimming in a bonsai olive tree encourages small leaves and internodes.

9. Repotting requirements of olive bonsai tree

Every bonsai needs repotting done once in a while as it is important because it helps the plant grow. Olive bonsai trees don’t often need repotting as they have a slow growth rate. Late spring or summer is the best time to repot your bonsai as that’s their growing period. They are repotted every 3 to 4 years, and the older ones are repotted every 5 to 8 years.

To carry out the repotting of bonsai olive trees, you must have the correct bonsai substrate because it impacts the bonsai’s health. Remember to use a well-drained substrate and plant the bonsai tree structurally stable. You can use pumice gravel as a substrate. It is considered to be the most suitable for this bonsai tree. The pH level is also slightly alkaline due to the presence of lime, making it perfect for the tree.

Repotting the olives is a simple task. The plant must be carefully taken out, together with the soil. Next, carefully prune the lowest third of the soil and the exposed roots. The olive bonsai tree can be repotted in the same container or one that is bigger once the roots have been clipped. The newly replanted soil must be saturated in the final stage to guarantee that the roots are firmly anchored in the ground and to prevent air pockets.

10. Insects and Diseases can occur in olive bonsai tree

Every natural plant will attract insects to it rather be indoor or outdoor. But you can prevent indoor attraction by taking proper care of the plant. A healthy bonsai will rarely have any problems with pests or diseases for years. However, if the environment during winters is warm indoors, there’s a chance of mealybugs or scales attacking the bonsai.

Mealybugs usually form a cluster behind the leaves or underside of it. You can remove them by rubbing the leaves with a cotton swab holding alcohol. While scales are small black bugs that hide around the leaf and suck its leap sap resulting in bonsai problems. If they are caught earlier, then they can be removed by hand. But during an infestation, you can eradicate them by using neem oil.

How To Make An Olive Tree Into A Bonsai?

You have understood now how to care for an olive bonsai tree.

But do you know how to make an olive tree into a perfect bonsai at home?

Yes, by its nature, if you don’t know, the process of creating bonsai is a stressful and skillful one for any plant. Although a small element of stress is a good thing in life and cultivating plants in pots indoors forces a certain level of restricted growth. For your information, bonsai is the process and skill of directing and managing that growth. I have achieved this skill after cultivating this bonsai for ten years now, and now I have a nursery of my own. All of these are continually being grown and developed as bonsai, and as a result, I can confidently say that what follows works!

Now, I will discuss how to make an olive tree into a bonsai with very simple steps that you can follow. Read the steps below to understand better about the topic.

1. Select a healthy and strong olive tree

First, you select a healthy, strong olive tree to grow as a bonsai. Check the tree thoroughly for any damage and try choosing a tree with a unique pattern that you can later twist and turn into something new.

2. Select an ideal container

Like all bonsai, olive bonsai trees need shallow containers to grow in. You should either use ceramic or porcelain pots to grow your bonsai usually, but as they are handmade they tend to be very expensive.

A plastic pot can also be used as it forms moisture around the soil which is much needed by the bonsai. It keeps the soil moist. You can use a pot with any material unless and until it doesn’t affect your plant growth.

3. DIY a perfect potting soil mixture

After the pot has been selected, we need a good potting mixture. The mixture will contain fine sand, commercial potting soil, and peat compost. This potting soil will be perfect for growing olive trees in a natural environment.

Remember, that you will only require a small amount of the mixture as it’s a shallow pot. You can also use bonsai soil instead of potting soil if you want. Both of them are beneficial for the bonsai.

4. Pruning is necessary

During pruning, you need to learn how to find the front and height of the potential olive bonsai tree. Then, start cutting the branches in the shape you require. Be careful while doing this because there are old branches that may have turned hard and brittle. Small branches should be cut first for the overall effect. Branch selection is very important in pruning. The next step is to remove some leaves to create space and initiate wiring.

5. Wiring is an important step

Once the pruning is completed then you have to wire the bonsai. To wire the tree, you should use raffia or a special bonsai wire. Wiring is done from the bottom of the tree to the branches to ensure a solid grip in the soil. This makes it easier to bend the tree. Use a thinner wire to anchor the plant. The regular wire creates cuts in the bark, which further invites pets and diseases towards it.

6. Styling is also important

For a bonsai to appear alluring and lovely, it must be given a shape. In bonsai, there is no right or bad shape. Giving the bonsai a distinctive shape overall is the key objective for it to live a long life. Chokkan, Hen-kengai, Shakan, Kengai, and Moyogi are the principal five bonsai styles. Wires are used to shape the bonsai during styling; these wires should be removed after a year to prevent cuts in the trunk. The plant grows more as a result.

7. Repotting is required in regular times

It is an important measure that should be taken for every olive bonsai plant. Repotting of the bonsai should be done every 2 to 3 years. When the roots tend to outgrow, they require more space and for it, they end up spreading and tangling into each other. To avoid this from happening, repotting is done.

To regulate their growth, you should gently detangle the bottom roots with your hands before pruning them. This step is necessary for the plant to grow more effectively. To switch out the potting soil, repotting is also done. Repotting the bonsai is necessary to replenish the nutrients that have depleted over time in the ground.

8. Watering is the most crucial step

Once all the above steps are performed, the last step is to water the plants. Olive bonsai trees are native to high temperatures requiring more water. You should water this bonsai until it is dripping from the drainage hole. This ensures that there are no air pockets and the soil is completely moist. Make sure to keep the bonsai hydrated and filled.

9. Resting is necessary

After you have planted the olive tree, leave it to rest for some time. Let them get adapted to their surroundings. Ensure to provide all the necessary minerals and other ingredients. Proper sunlight and water should be provided to the bonsai for healthy and good growth.

Fun Fact: Did you know the olive is a symbol of wisdom and peace? At the Ancient Olympic Games, a simple olive tree branch is presented to the winners which were cut with a gold-handled knife from a wild olive tree. The Greeks believed this tree was their most sacred symbol of peace and wisdom.

Benefits Of Growing A Bonsai Olive Tree!

Bonsai olive trees have many benefits. They are very good and easy to grow as an indoor plant. They also provided many important benefits. I have listed some of them below! 

  • The olive bonsai trees give an attractive look from their strong, twisted, thick stems in old age.
  • This bonsai tree is easy to take care of and beginners can also easily grow them. You need to only be careful with providing all the nourishment and a perfect environment that the plant is adapted to. 
  • The olive bonsai tree can survive in dead wood areas as they have very hard wood making them suitable for it. 
  • Pruning helps the bonsai attain the shape you require. It is very easy to prune them during their growing season as they are soft and gentle. Wiring can be difficult for the old olive bonsai as they become thick and brittle. At an early stage, you can easily wire them. 
  • The fruit it provides is very beneficial for your health. Olives contain Vitamin E and other antioxidants that reduce the risks of cancer, stroke diabetes, and heart strokes. 
  • The olive oil in fruits has anti-inflammatory properties. The oil also prevents strokes, and heart diseases, and fights Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • Olive oil can also be used in cuisines and other eating essentials. 
  • Olives have medicinal properties as well and are used as medicines to avoid diseases.


Q1. How to shape a bonsai olive tree?

Ans. They usually have a pyramid-type of shape. Wiring is the only effective method used to shape the plant. You have to be cautious while doing the wiring. New sprouts can be handled a little more harshly, while older branches are more prone to breaking.

Q2. When can you wire the bonsai olive trees? 

Ans. You can wire an olive bonsai tree throughout the year as they have a slow growth rate. But be careful while doing so as once they become thick and hard, there’s a chance of the branches breaking. Use soft hands while doing so. 

Q3. How often should you fertilize the bonsai olive trees? 

Ans. The fertilization of this bonsai should be done around March to September. Late spring to mid-summer is their growing season which makes it a suitable time for fertilization. The temperature during the summers should be below 35 degrees Celsius to fertilize it. 

This period provides the plant with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that the soil usually does not make fertilization effective. One month of fertilization is enough for the plant’s growth. Although, try to avoid doing it during the winter season. You have also to be careful to not over-fertilize the plants resulting in harming them. 

Q4. When should you water them? 

Ans. Keep in mind that there is no recommended frequency for watering during the week. Apply the correct watering method to provide a sufficient amount of water to the plants. Watering depends from season to season for bonsai olive trees. Water the plant according to the environment around it. In spring provide moderate watering, ample amount in summers, and little in winters. 

Q5. The best style for an olive bonsai tree?

Ans. These bonsai olive trees can be styled into almost all bonsai trees. It is very versatile. Since they are easy to care for, resistant, and very durable making they are ideal for forming many bonsai styles. Some of the styles are fukinagashi, ishizuki, Bunjin, Sokan, Seki-joju and Sharimiki.


Having a bonsai olive tree in your house is therapeutic. It brings a calm and relaxing environment. Bonsai helps to increase one’s creativity and art through it. Olive bonsai trees can easily be cared for. You have only to ensure to provide them nutrients on a timely basis for healthy growth. I hope the above-mentioned information was beneficial to you and made you understand all about it. 

I would love to hear from you. Did you like this article? Do you have any questions in your mind related to the lovely Olive bonsai tree? Do you own this plant at your home and do you have any tips to share? Let me know what you liked about Olive bonsai the most. Yes, we learn best as a community and so, please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section down below. Also, don’t forget to share this article with your friends, family, and social media!

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