olive trees and oleanders in pots

Anyone know what to feed olive trees and oleanders in pots (to stop them getting too big and lack of space)?  What about watering?


  • martymowermartymower Posts: 123

    water (sorry)

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,768

    You needn't feed them anything specifically to stop them getting too big - just treat them as any shrub in a tub - once they've got big enough to occupy the largest size pot that you want them to, each spring  take them out of the pot, scrape the surface compost off and repot in the same pot, topping up with fresh compost.  Feed with general fertiliser throughout the growing season in accordance with instructions on the packet.  

    Water them enough to keep the compost damp but not sodden throughout the growing season, less in the winter.

    In most areas of the UK oleanders need protection during winter months as they are usually not frost hardy, and I would recommend taking them into a heated greenhouse or conservatory.

    Olive trees are a bit hardier but should be moved to a sheltered position in the winter and protected with fleece if sharp  frost is forecast;  They will cope better with frost if their compost is dryish rather than wet.

    Please remember that all parts of the oleander are highly toxic - please supervise young children around them.

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • Thank you dovefromabove.  The oleanders are small ones and look quite healthy at the moment, hope they will flower in the summer.  It was said in the newspaper advert I bought them from they would be okay to -5 C.

  • LavandeLavande Posts: 153

    Yes Phil they should be alright to -5 but I would still wrap some fleece around them or move them if possible.  One year I took a dead and frosted oleander out of its pot and dumped it behind the shed until I could get rid of it properly.  A couple of months later it had sprouted lots of new growth and I felt terrible for not being patient.  Two years later I planted two new oleanders into the soil and wrapped them in fleece along with the one that had survived (potted).  All three were killed by the frost this year.  They are definitely dead as the stems are pulpy.  They were so beautiful too.  it's a shame.  Anyway good luck - they are lovely even when just in foliage the flowers are a bonus.

  • Thankd Lavande,  I'll keep all that in mind.  At the moment I have them sheltering behind a wooden fence, fingers crossed!

  • I have an olive tree in a pot that was really healthy last year, and flourished in my south facing conservatory with just a water once a week. Over winter the leaves have become more and more shrivelled, and although they aren't dropping off, it is looking really unhealthy even though the weather has started to warm up. I didn't water it at all over the winter, and have only watered it twice recently, but the soil still looks wet, but it is as if the leaves have no moisture in them, and there is no sign of any new growth. 

    I don't know whether I should feed it, repot it, or leave it and hope for the best!


  • Helen449Helen449 Posts: 1


    This is a reply to the comments about olive trees and oleanders.

    I'm lucky enough to live in the South of France where Olive trees and Oleanders grow everywhere and I'm a tour guide at an olive oil mill.

    I'm not terribly green fingered but both of these plants thrive in my garden. I think that is because they get a lot of sun and not too much water. 

    As I understand it both olive trees and oleander seem to suffer from the same types of problem (such as canker, oeil de paon etc. ) and the advice I have heard is to keep the root area completely free of plant matter (weeds or cut stems) and avoid standing moisture at the roots. The soil should drain well and not be too heavy.

    Don't add too much fertiliser !! This can cause lots of problems, especially nitrogen based fertilisers.

    Olive trees should be pruned every year to encourage fruiting and to allow the sun and wind to circulate freely around the plant. They prune in a fanned out bowl, or cup, shape here, taking out a lot of the inner branches. This is to let the sun ripen the olives well on the inner side and outer side of the tree. Also remove any crossing branches and all the suckers at the roots.

    Oleanders seem to enjoy a good pruning after flowering and this encourages thicker stems and a bushier plant. 

    The winters here can be colder than the UK overnight, but the temperatures are definitely a lot hotter during the summer. Both plants seem to resist the frost here, but I think that is probably because the ground is so dry and the frosty periods are not too long. Some varieties of olive tree are not frost resistant. 

    Olive trees and oleanders grow in the harshest of places here with temperatures of 40° in the summer, very poor soil and being watered perhaps twice a week. 

    For Sally Brown, I would take it out of the pot and plant it in the garden in a well drained soil. You can always fleece cover the leaves if the weather gets really cold for prolonged periods. Be careful not to over feed. 

    Hope this was helpful. 


    My oleanders in pots overwinter in the garden but it's south-facing in East Anglia and they are against the house wall.  I give them a weak splash of tomato food in June but otherwise no food.

    the only problem I have is slight yellowing in some leaves and maybe they need a splash of Epsom salts ?

  • Villaverde123Villaverde123 Posts: 181

    I keep my Oleanders in pots in an unheated greenhouse overwinter with quite dry soil.  Bring out about now and refresh soil top or re-pot if required and water once a week.

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