Olive Tree care indoors....losing it leaves- what am I doing wrong?

I bought a lovely tall Olive tree from Morrisons early in the summer, I then moved the pot into the dining room which is north-facing in autumn, it receives plenty of light, no sun and is on the cool side all day, the CH is on in an evening to around 17C, I keep watering it but not too much.  Is it too hot, too cold, not watered enough, should I move it to an cooler room or is it natural (autumnal phase) to lose it leaves now?  Haven't feed since summer.  Winters here are cold, frosty and damp so wouldn't survive outdoors.  I have seen them in italian restuarants and always have a good head of hair!  leaves I mean...........
 When will the leaves re-grew, if at all- still looks healthy though. Stands 7-8ft in the pot.  Flowed in summer so was very happy.  Will have lost all leaves in 3 weeks  is my guess....



  • GirasoleGirasole Posts: 194

    dizzy, how strange because I noticed the same thing only yesterday about my olive tree which is in a cool outhouse. I shall be very interested to what replies you get.

    Where are you based.....roughly? I am here in Cambridge, UK.


  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,820

    Olives are fairly resilient. My 2 are in an unheated greenhouse with a layer of fleece wrapped around, I did this last winter as well.

    Basically the CH is not doing them any favours. I looked to see where you are based to give further help but you have not recorded it.


  • GirasoleGirasole Posts: 194

    Rosa, as I said my one is in an unheated outhouse so don't understand why its leaves are dropping. Should it be wrapped in fleece like yours?



  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,820


    This is a really useful link on their care

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,806

    I think dizzylizzy's is being spoilt-mine has been in a pot outside for the past 5 years- and has survived all winters

    I would stop all watering -it is a mediterranean plant after all-move it to the coolest place in the house-with luck it will be OK

    At 7 foot it must have been an expensive purchase I guess- but has been having too much of the good lifeimage

  • Hi- I live on the outskirts of York in the country wher it is exposod and often has frost down to -17 c,  The backgarden which is north-facing is still frosty from this morning.  have lost hebes in 2010 with the cold weather so won't risk the Olive tree.  Do have an echium pinnan which hasn't yet flowered and has a trunk now of  2 inches across.  Overwintered in mum's conservatory last year but was only 7 inches high then- now 5 foot,  Think I may have to  do something- planted near the house and porch south-facing- seems to be in new growth now.  Did recover from the December frosts but may be pushing it to leave it unprotected as more frost is predicted.. Can't lose it yet as I haven't seen it flower yet and believe it is a biennial  once it has flowered??  Is about 5 feet high and the top seems to have sproutted growth over the last few weeks.  One of my cherry trees is flowering and a red penstemon is still in flower from last year............

  • They were selling like hot cakes in Morissons- as soon as they had a delivery they were sold out- only £30-  that size is usually around £50-£60 I believe.

    May be too large to bring indoors next year- but suppose I can trim it- it is a lollipop shape, so don't know if it is grafted.  Looks identical to the youngest one in the link someone has kindly added.

  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,820

    Keep posting but internet playing up.

    Is it possible to put in your porch?

    I don't water just check compost, which is JI3 + grit to make sure it is not 'bone' dry.

  • discodavediscodave Posts: 510

    Make sure your not over watering it, olive trees like to be on the dry side, if you think it needs watering leave it another week (and dont soak it). Remember, Olives are mediteranean plants, they like plenty of sunlight. They ususaly drop some/most of their leaves this time of year. You should start seeng new growth around March time. I agree that the central heating may not be doing it any good though. 

  • ~Carol -  My tree is nearly bald and if I happen to brush by it more leaves fall.  They all seem to be dried out too but this could be the CH as mentioned above.  I haven't watered it much at all just put a little in when it seemed too dry.  I've put it out in the porch now so the temperature will be cooler and will stay at an even termperature so hopefully it recover soon.  Some very helpful tips above.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,815

    Olives, like most Mediterranean plants, can withstand some very low temperatures as long as their toes are not wet at the same time - it's cold coupled with wet that does the damage, not cold on it's own.

    I would have thought that olives would have coped with this winter's temperatures as long as they were in a really free-draining compost and the pot was up on feet so that the drainage holes run free.  

    I think that your olive may be complaining because it's been too warm and dry - hopefully it will be happier in the porch. image

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    We bought four standard olives last year - two from Morrisons, two from Tesco, and put them in large terracotta pots in the front... I hesitate to say garden, more like a drive.  I watered them religiously and they did well, and we have just left them in situ.  We have had a few light frosts, but no long periods of cold weather.  I haven't watered them.  There hasn't been any leaf drop, and they all look as happy as they did last summer.  We don't have a greenhouse, but I was planning that if we had a harsh winter I would put them in the garage, but I haven't needed to.  The worst thing has been the wind, which has blown them over on numerous occasions, but they don't seem unduly upset about it.  When we brought the Tesco ones home they dropped leaves for a couple of weeks, and I think that was the result of them having been inside the store for a while, but new leaves soon grew back.  Unless anyone thinks that the shock could be too much, I would suggest people stick them outside now, especially as the jet stream seems fixed to give us milder temperatures.  (Possibly on pot feet to aid drainage in wetter areas?)






  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,815

    I think pot feet are important image

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,820

    Moved mine into GH(cold) in case very cold weather. Was asking them if they wanted to go outside now. CH house/conservatory is too warm for them. I do keep them on the dry side all the time.

    Also always have them on pot feet, seems to work has them a few years now

  • Hi

    The good news is it grew back it's leaves when I put it outside last May. 

    This year I have left it in the front porch, which is open, but as we have hardly had any frosts and its feet are dry, it is looking very healthy, it hasn't lost one leaf!

    I keep it on the dry side and pour on the left over from the t-pot.

    Should I prune it this year to keep it a tighter ball shape and if so when is the best time?  It is a free loose shape at the moment. 


  • Hello folks!

     I have an Olive Tree, only had it a couple of years, it is in my ( old ) conservatory, not really too hot, I did have the Olive tree outside but, brought it in for the two winters, it is growing really well, and now has small olives growing!!  I wonder if anyone can advise me how to make sure they don't fall off?   I'm not the most green fingered person on the planet!!

     Thanks all...Love this site..image

    Chrissie X

  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    Our olives stayed on the trees last year, and all I did was keep them watered through the summer and they stayed on.  I preserved them, but they were quite small.  I thought the birds might go for them, but they didn't.

  • star gaze lilystar gaze lily Posts: 11,106

    Try www.bigplantnursery.co.uk/GrowingGuideOlives.htm 



    Ooops just noticed its already been suggested sorry.image

  • Foodie40Foodie40 Posts: 53

    My husband was given an olive tree several years ago. At one point I thought it had died  image , it lost all of its leaves and there was no green in the small branches, so I put it in a bucket intending to chuck it out but never got around to. After a wet and cold winter spent in a frozen then overflowing bucket the little tree sprung back to life!!!

    It now lives in a pot by the conservatory in a sunny but sometimes windy spot, although I move it into the greenhouse when its frosty. This year it has lots of new growth and flowersimage I water it every couple of days unless it's ben raining.

    Perhaps they prefer some harsh treatment!

  • dizzylizzydizzylizzy Posts: 92

    Found my orignal posting, so as an update the olive tree is amazing this year, I took the advise from Matty2, BusyBee 2, Dove from above, and Foodie 40.  I left it in the south-facing very open porch and kept it nearly dry all winter.  I was going to bubblewrap the pot but we only had frost about 4 times.  It has rewarded me with lots of leaves and flowers, and didn't shed any leaves during winter.imageimageimage

    I have just made a video of the repotting to go on youtube for our gardening club.  I repotted as per advise - repotted it into gritty compost with some JI, and will not put it indoors again.  Sited it against a heat retaining red-brick house wall hoping the flowers will turn to olives!

    photo attached, not sure my position agiant the hous


    e wall shows off it's best attributes....image



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