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Common Name:


Scientific Name:

Olea europa

Family Name:



This is the classic Olive of commerce and is intimately entwined with the history of western civilization. Trees do not fruit well in our region as they need mild winters, but also extensive chill unit accumulation to set a fruit crop. Conditions seldom encountered in our region. However, trees can be grown for ornament. Classically Olive is a small tree with a stout picturesque trunk and irregularly rounded crown of gray-green foliage. More commonly grown in our region are some of the dwarf forms that are used as hedging plants. Cold winters, poorly drained soils, and a variety of pests and diseases can limit use of this species in our region.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, medium shrub, large shrub, tree, small tree, topiary



Flower Color:

Tiny yellow green in spring, not showy

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Olives, 0.5 inch to 1.5 inch long drup, ripens late summer to fall


15 ft to 20 ft


20 ft to 25 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Medium Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

8, 9, 10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Can live to be 1000 years old or more in their native land, less here; cotton root rot, verticillium wilt, olive knot disease, black scale, citrus whitefly, olive scale, oleander scale, ash borer and root knot nemetodes can all be problems.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.