Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Olive Tree
Olea europaea 'Arbequina'

Family: Oleaceae (oh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Olea (OH-lee-a) (Info)
Species: europaea (yoo-ROH-pay-a) (Info)
Cultivar: Arbequina

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

6 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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to view:

By Gabrielle
Thumbnail #1 of Olea europaea by Gabrielle

By Fires_in_motion
Thumbnail #2 of Olea europaea by Fires_in_motion

By Fires_in_motion
Thumbnail #3 of Olea europaea by Fires_in_motion

By jackfrost
Thumbnail #4 of Olea europaea by jackfrost


3 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive elgordo75 On May 27, 2012, elgordo75 from Surrey
Canada wrote:

I grow an 'Arbequina' in my garden in Surrey, British Columbia which flowers but doesn't really set much fruit. It is a beautiful plant with graceful foliage and form. It has had some bark splitting from cold and exposure to winter sun but has healed well and puts on a lot of growth each June and July. Apparently the larger they get, the less chance of winter damage.

Positive squallseeker On Apr 28, 2012, squallseeker from New Port Richey East, FL wrote:

Olives typically don't have surface roots and this is not a large tree. I've placed one about 6' from the house and 3' from the driveway and don't anticipate a problem. I don't know about 2' away, but doubt it will hurt your foundation. It was one of 2 types suggested for my area, so I started with this and a mission olive (large tree). After later research I found no issues with other varieties and I now have 6 types growing and all are doing well... the cultivars can be found on-line for mail order. Due to it's size, the arbequina cures faster, and thus to me seems to have a milder taste; taste will be somewhat dependent on the curing method. Don't overwater; when the rest of the yard is withering the olives still look happy, though I still water about once a week; supposedly root rot can be an issue if too wet, but in sandy FL the soil doesn't hold water for long. Fertilizer may make them grow a bit faster, but supposely it is not a major factor in fruit production unless the soil is totally lacking; these things developed in very poor soil conditions so thrive just about anywhere you put them. All of mine can handle temperatures down to 22 degrees, some into the teens, so I don't worry about covering them here (NW of Tampa).

Neutral HiacynthMaui On Apr 30, 2011, HiacynthMaui from Makawao, HI wrote:

I'm not sure if I have this tree growing in my garden. It is a volunteer and is over 5 ft tall, about 3-4 yrs old. I brought a sample to my local garden center and they ID'd it as possibly an arbequina. I would love for it to be an olive tree, esp one that is known for its quality olive oil! If it is, my concern is that it is growing less than a foot away from my house, next to the cinderblock/cement foundation. I hope the root doesn't spread thick and outward. I wonder, if anyone should know, whether I may be able to successfully transplant this tree to another location? What are your suggestions?

Positive Fires_in_motion On Jan 4, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I bought two babies (grafted cuttings) in spring '09 at Rose Garden for a whopping $30 each, after being told this was the only variety of Olive that could successfully be grown in the humid, rainy Southeast. The nursery lady told me there was one in a nearby neighborhood that produces well and has been in the ground for almost a decade. I immediately moved them from their 1-gallon pots into big plastic 10-gal. pots. One has such vigorous growth that I'm constantly pruning it back; this is truly an incredible specimen and has gone from a 2 foot whip to a 5 foot mini-behemoth in a year and a half. The other developed a fungus at the point where it was staked, probably due to me tying it too tightly and damaging the bark. This tree is slowly growing back nicely, albeit without a central leader (main trunk), but I will get to work on fixing that via training.

They both have had absolutely zero cold damage, even in the notorious January '10 freeze. (The temp. was down to about 20 for three nights in a row, with a wind chill of around 15.) They were huddled up on a porch next to the house, to be fair; but still, the cold tolerance of these little whippersnappers has been very impressive to me. They even put out new growth all winter long.

I mentioned that they are in plastic pots because I should have used clay ones in order to help with drainage, considering how much rainfall we get here. But I have read that olive farmers in the Mediterranean water their trees heavily before harvesting, so it's not as much of a xeric species as some would have you believe. There are some impressive large olive trees (of unknown cultivar) growing in Old Metairie in the yard of a Medjool- and Bismarckia-dotted house that Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie wanted to buy last year; the owners are said to have rejected their offer of around $8 million. So yeah, this is a marquee tree, and I hope they do well in this area in the long run, hence why I was willing to spend $60 to find out. I have read they are susceptible to the fatal ganoderma fungus in rainy of areas, sadly. Which is why I will be planting them in a very sandy amended bed and will never ever consider watering them (once they're in the ground). To be honest, they look so similar to the Live Oak that if one wants the olive look in one's yard around here, the best thing would be to just "bonsai" a young Live Oak in one's yard, but then the neighbors might think you're on crack. Live oak acorns even resemble black olives... I've read about farmers in (presumably not-so-humid parts of) Texas trying to grow Arbequinas on a mass scale, so we'll see how that works out.

By the way, the variety name is pronounced Ar-buh-KEE-nuh, not Ar-buh-KWIE-nuh as I'd originally thought. It was developed in the wondrous Catalonia region of Spain, and is said to be one of the best olives for making oil; some olive snobs aver that it's the best. The Arbequina olive has a relatively short shelf life, though, so it's not considered a good "table olive" for eating. They are tiny and fairly bitter compared to other olives, but like I said, they're mainly grown with the intent of being made into oil.

Neutral reverendlisa On Apr 23, 2009, reverendlisa from Austin, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

We have two olive trees - one is an arbequina, which is about 8 ft tall and the other is about 4 ft tall. I don't remember what kind the second tree is, only I remember that we got it to boost the production of the first tree. They have been in the ground for 4 years now.

They are resilient trees. They have survived our Austin summers and winters without much care from us, despite our dense soil.

At the time we purchased these trees, I was told by the person who sold it to us that they "won't produce the first year, but after 2-3 years, the arbequina should be". At his advice, I bought the second tree.

That nursery closed down (RIP Howard Nursery). For some reason I am told now by nearly any nursery/gardening center still surviving in Austin that olives "just don't set fruit around here".
I know that this can't be true because there is a producing olive orchard less than 20 miles away, and yet we have yet to see a single bloom or olive.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Lutz, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Wellborn, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Makawao, Hawaii
Vacherie, Louisiana
Natchez, Mississippi
Troy, New York
Moyock, North Carolina
Carlton, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Clemson, South Carolina
Portland, Texas
Seattle, Washington

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