Watering and fertilizing olive tree in winter: How it works

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:15 pm

In winter, the olive tree takes a break in its growth. During its winter dormancy, it needs significantly less water and nutrients. How often you need to water and fertilize the olive tree in winter depends on whether your olive winters outdoors or indoors.

Watering the olive tree outside in winter

If your olive is wintering outside, its watering needs will depend on the weather. Weather can vary, sometimes drastically, from year to year, depending on the region, but also locally. While some years get lots of snow with temperatures around freezing, other years are really frosty-cold. And then one spends the turn of the year at 15 degrees and rain from time to time. In very mild and humid winters, the olive tree can therefore absorb much more moisture from the air through its leaves than in freezing temperatures and correspondingly dry air.

Watering and fertilizing olive tree in winter: How it works

However, since the olive tree prefers it too dry than too wet, you should consider where your plant is located when wintering. Outside without a canopy, much too much water gets to the soil and roots during rainy winters. A drier wintering indoors can be more advantageous. If this is not possible, cover the container well, preferably with a layer of mulch and an additional tarp or similar. Check regularly if the soil is too moist. If you notice that the soil is dry, it is best to drill into deeper layers of soil with your finger. If it is also dry there, you can water the tree in moderation. But do not be surprised: It may well be that outside it is not necessary to water your olive tree in winter.

Watering and fertilizing olive tree in winter: How it works
Less is more: olive trees do not need much water

Watering the olive tree indoors in winter

When wintering indoors, you will also need to pay regular visits to the olive to determine if it needs watering. The soil should not dry out completely, but again, it’s better to be too dry than too wet. Don’t water the tree until the soil feels dry, and even then, only in moderation. The colder it is in the winter quarters, the less water evaporates through the leaves and soil. Therefore, you will need to water less often.

Indoors, the olive tree is susceptible to pests. You should keep a regular lookout for the pesky critters to prevent them from spreading in the first place.

Water the olive tree in winter: Less is more

By the way, a sign of too much moisture in the soil are yellow leaves. This can happen both when wintering indoors and outdoors. With this warning sign you must quickly take countermeasures, so if necessary, better protect the tub from rain and water less. If waterlogging has occurred, it may be necessary to repot the entire tree if the soil cannot dry out.

Fertilize olive trees in winter?

Olives are fertilized only in the growth phase from about mid-April to September. Even if the tree is still outside unprotected until October, it is already preparing for winter dormancy during this time and no longer needs any nutrient applications.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.