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Evergreen plant native to the Mediterranean basin, with small elongated oval leaves of gray-green color, gray wrinkled trunk, which darkens with the age of the plant, and gnarled branches; in nature it grows up to 10-15 meters, very long-lived. In spring many varieties produce insignificant whitish small flowers, followed by green fruits, which ripen becoming black. It is not a plant traditionally used as bonsai, but it is possible to obtain remarkable specimens; It is also recommended for beginners, having no particular needs.
Pruning and exposure
Pruning: it is advisable to perform pruning in early spring or autumn, to avoid pruning branches that already bear flowers or fruits. The buds must be trimmed throughout the spring and summer, leaving 2-3 pairs of leaves. Lagature with metal wire can be done all year round.
Exposure: the olive loves the positions in full sun, possibly ventilated. It is a fairly rustic plant, which can withstand temperatures even slightly below zero, during the winter it is advisable to keep it away from frost, placing it in a cold greenhouse or covering it with non-woven fabric.
Watering and soil
Watering: this plant develops in places with a dry climate, but also likes abundant watering; it is advisable to water it abundantly, leaving the soil to dry between one watering and another. It is added to the water of the fertilizer for bonsai every 15-20 days, from May to September.
Soil: the olive has no particular soil requirements, as long as it is well drained. We can prepare an optimal mixture by mixing three parts of peat, two parts of sand and two parts of clay. Repot every three years at the end of winter, avoiding cutting the roots too much or moving too much of the earthen bread that covers them, because they are particularly delicate.
Olive - European Olea: Multiplication and diseases
Multiplication: by seeding of the fruit pits, to be practiced in summer, the seedlings are repotted the following year, in spring. It is also possible to practice cuttings in spring, to be placed in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts, keeping wet until rooting has taken place. The olive trees cultivated in the wild often produce shoots from which it is possible to obtain new plants, sometimes suitable for cultivation as bonsai.
Pests and diseases: the olive cultivated as a bonsai can suffer from root rot if the soil of the pot is kept too wet. It is hardly affected by parasites or other diseases.