Growing olive trees is relatively easy given the right location and caring for the olive trees is not too demanding either.
Both olives and olive oil, the liquid fat produced when olives are pressed, are nutritious and have been staples of the Mediterranean diet for thousands of years.
Do Olive Trees Need Full Sun? Learn more in our article below. We’ve covered everything on how much sun olive trees need.
How Many Hours of Sun Do Olive Trees Need?
The Sun that olive trees need Ideally, olive trees should be exposed to full sun for 8-12 hours a day.
They will still thrive and produce a good harvest at a minimum of 6-8 hours, but more sun is always better for these Mediterranean trees.
Olive trees should have 8 to 12 hours of full sun per day.
If olive trees receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day, they will produce a good harvest.
If the olive trees are planted indoors, they should preferably receive 12 hours of light.
You can choose to plant your olive trees indoors, but in this case, it is important to increase the hours of sunshine.
Aim for at least 10 hours of sunlight indoors, but if possible, 12 hours is even better.
Consider placing your olive tree by different windows during the day to ensure it catches as much light as possible.
Will Lack of Sun Harm Olive Trees?
Olive trees that don’t get full sun probably won’t die, but they will have an unhealthy appearance. They will not bloom and bear fruit.
Even if they bear fruit despite being deprived of sun, they usually take much longer.
Olive trees can live without the sun.
Olive trees without sun are usually not healthy.
Fruit and flowers may not appear on olive trees that do not receive enough sun.
Olives cannot ripen if the trees are not exposed to full sun.
The olives on a slightly sunny olive tree will in some cases not fully ripen.
These issues ultimately result in an unwanted crop, so it’s best to ensure your trees are getting the sun they crave.
Is Excessive Sun Dangerous for Olive Trees?
Any tree or plant can get too much sun, but olive trees are very drought tolerant, enjoying up to 12 hours of full sun exposure during the growing season.
There is also a risk of sun damage to olive trees during heat waves in midsummer.
Olive trees are generally not damaged by too much sun.
During a long, hot drought, there’s no harm in a bit of afternoon shade.
Wilting is a sign of excessive sun exposure. If the temperatures are exceptionally high and it has not rained for a long time, some shade should be provided in the afternoon.
However, unlike most trees, when olive leaves develop brown or yellow spots, it is a sign of too much water rather than too much sun.
Extreme heat and excessive sun exposure are more likely to cause wilting.
In this case, give your trees some shade, especially in the afternoon.
Do Olive Trees Need Full Sun or Indirect Sunlight?
Olive trees can thrive and bear fruit in indirect sunlight.
However, the crop will bear much less fruit if the trees never get full sun.
Olive trees can flower and bear some fruit if grown in indirect sunlight. 4 to 8 hours of full sun are sufficient during hibernation.
Growing olive trees in indirect sunlight all year round results in a lower-quality harvest.
In the hibernation period, 4 to 8 hours of full sun per day and indirect sunlight the rest of the time are sufficient.
However, it is important to understand that full, direct sun is important during the growing season.
The olive-growing season begins in spring and ends after the harvest in autumn.
Can Olive Trees Grow in the Shade?
Olive trees can grow in the shade and even be planted indoors, but that’s not the best environment for them.
Olive trees can grow in the shade, but the environment isn’t ideal.
Olives take much longer to sprout when the trees are deprived of the sun.
Olives can become small and bitter if the tree does not get enough sun exposure.
It is best to provide olive trees with at least 6 hours of full sun per day.
Olives from trees deprived of the sun are usually small and often bitter.
When it comes to growing an olive tree in the shade, it is important to keep the environment warm as olive trees tolerate a little cold.
Ultimately, however, the best option is to provide your olive trees with at least 6 hours of full sun.
Tips to Care for Olive Trees
Olive trees are easy to grow and require little more than sun and a good watering schedule.
The easiest way to grow an olive tree is to prune or purchase a young dwarf variety at your local garden centre or nursery.
Here are some tips to help you take care of your olive trees:
Choose The Right Variety
There are many different varieties of olive trees, but certain types make better houseplants than others.
The non-fruiting dwarf variety is the best choice indoors.
The Arbequina olive tree from Spain’s Catalonia region is a good choice for small spaces, growing no more than a few meters tall when mature.
Arbequina is self-fertile, it is unlikely to produce fruit when grown indoors as there is usually not enough sunlight to stimulate the process.
Select a Good Site
Indoor olive trees grow best in large containers with drainage holes.
Choose a well-draining potting soil for your olive tree.
If the plant doesn’t get enough direct light, its vegetation will begin to dwindle in the winter months, so you may need to provide more light by artificial means for the tree to thrive.
If your tree is in a nursery tub, you may want to plant it in a larger pot so you don’t have to report it as quickly later.
Plant the tree in the new container, adding enough soil to allow it to be buried just as deep as it was in the nursery container.
Prune the olive tree to keep it at the height or shape you prefer or when it looks like it will outgrow the pot.
Wait until the fall of the tree’s second year to prune it.
Water the tree well every week for the first year, allowing excess water to drain into a second container at the bottom of the pot.
Add more water when the top two inches of potting soil feels dry, but remember that olive trees grow more slowly in the fall and winter months.
If the tree seems to be thriving in its pot, you can reduce watering to once a month.
Employ a Good Fertilizer
Use a nitrogen-based houseplant fertilizer once a month during the fall and winter before switching to a slow-release fertilizer twice a month in the spring.
Compost and mulch are not required as they retain more moisture than the olive tree needs.
Protect Them From Pests and Diseases
Both indoor and outdoor olive trees are liable to injury from insect pests.
The most important of these is the scale insect, a hard-shelled insect that can pierce leaves and tree trunks with its hard nozzles to drain sap.
Check the underside of the tree’s leaves regularly and use insecticidal soap to repel invaders.
Spit bugs can also be a nuisance to olive trees as they transmit bacteria that can be potentially fatal to these plants.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Grow an Olive Tree in the Shade?
Your olive tree grows best in full sun, although it will also thrive in some shade.
The olive tree is very tolerant of windy locations, although young trees may need staking until they are established.
Do Olive Trees Prefer Sun or Shade?
Despite their Mediterranean origins, olive trees are more resilient than you might think, however it is advisable to position the tree as sunny as possible and choose a good spot.
Olive trees planted near a warm wall where they can bask in the sun will be the happiest.
Can Olive Trees Get Too Much Sun?
Any tree or plant can get too much sun, but olive trees are very drought tolerant and enjoy up to 12 hours of full sun exposure during the growing season.
There is little risk of olive trees being damaged by the sun, even during high summer heat waves.
How Much Sun Do Potted Olive Trees Need?
Six Hours Place pot-grown olive trees in a location that receives at least six hours of full sunlight each day.
Olive trees enjoy hot, dry growing seasons and should be in full sun at all times. A minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sun is imperative, but 8 to 12 is optimal during the growing season.
In general, the more sun and heat you get, the better your olive harvest will be. With proper sun exposure, your olive trees will thrive.
Olive trees make an excellent addition to any herb garden. Follow the tips in this article to enjoy a good harvest.