When it comes to indoor plants you may have a noticed a seismic shift taking place in terms of what is the hottest “must have” plant of late. While fiddle leaf figs have been wildly popular over the last several years, there’s a new tree in town and one that is quickly becoming the most sought-after design element of 2021—the olive tree.
Open any home décor magazine or visit the social media pages of your favorite brands and you’re sure to see some iteration of olive trees. The evergreen beauty is often seen complementing the serene indoor layout of a living room, and the branches are gathered in vases and used to add visual and textural interest on the fireplace hearth and in kitchens and bedrooms.
Given its’ popularity, you may be considering buying a tree of your own to provide the perfect focal point for your room—but not so fast. Though they are undeniably lovely, olive trees are considered one of the higher maintenance plants you can purchase. In fact, we’ve gathered a list of 6 reasons why you should pass on the live olive tree and, instead, choose to go faux.
- They are Particular About Pot Size
The first issue you’ll run into with live olive trees is their sensitivity to pot size—too large and the plant can suffer from root rot, too small and the root system cannot thrive.
Pots must be just large enough to accommodate the tree’s root ball. If the pot is too small, growing roots are forced inward, growing in an ever-constricting spiral until they choke the life out of the tree.
Conversely, if the pot is too large, it’s likely your tree could be sitting in an abundance of soil that stays consistently wet. This can lead to root rot and kill your tree.
You’ll need to check the condition of your tree’s root system regularly to ensure it’s happy. If you see the tree is becoming root bound or if you notice roots growing out of the drain holes in the bottom, it’s time to repot.
- They are Particular About Their Location
Olive trees need plenty of bright light so, if you’re bringing them indoors, you’ll need to make sure your preferred spot gets enough of it.
Olive trees require 8 – 12 hours of sunlight during their growing season and 4 – 8 hours during their dormant season. Look for a spot in your home near a southern-facing window with plenty of natural light streaming in.
- They’re Susceptible to Pests
It’s not uncommon for olive trees to fall victim to plant pests like aphids, scales, and fruit flies, even if they are kept indoors.
If your tree becomes infested, you may need to haul your heavy tree outdoors in the hopes that the bugs’ natural predators will take care of your unwanted guests. Other options include removing the pests by hand (shudder) or applying an insecticide to remove them.
- They’re Easy to Over or Under Water
Think of olive trees as the Goldilocks of the plant world when it comes to watering.
Not too wet.
Not too dry.
Only “just right” will do.
Trees planted in pots dry out much more quickly than those in the ground, so you will need to be vigilant about watering. But don’t water too much. Overwatering can cause leaves to yellow and drop, and it can put your tree at risk of developing root rot.
- They Require Fertilization to Thrive
Add one more thing to your olive tree maintenance list—the regular application of fertilizer, even during the plant’s dormant season.
During winter, you’ll need to feed the tree every month using a houseplant fertilizer. When growing season arrives, double your feedings, applying every two weeks.
- They are a High-Stress Plant
As lovely as they are, olive trees were not meant to live for long periods in pots. You’ll need to give your tree several weeks outdoors during its growing season to ensure it stays happy…and even then, you may notice signs of stress.
If notice your tree is producing sucker branches, or growth coming from the rootstock of the tree, consider this a sure sign your tree is unhappy. Sucker branches steal nutrients from the tree, weakening it so you’ll need to check your tree regularly for suckers and remove them immediately to keep it in good health.
If you are thinking it sounds like a lot of work to keep an olive tree happy and thriving, you aren’t wrong. Luckily, there is a solution that allows you to enjoy the beauty of olive trees without all the maintenance. Our artificial olive trees are remarkably realistic and can create the high-end aesthetic you’re looking for.
All the beauty, none of the hassle. That sounds like a win/win in our book.