Olive herb tips on cultivation, propagation and harvest

The Content Of The Article:

As the name implies, the taste of olives is reminiscent of olives, while its shape resembles that of rosemary. The spicy plant comes from the Mediterranean and therefore fits perfectly with Mediterranean dishes. The easy-care herb has not yet gained much publicity in this country, but it is very popular among culinary garden lovers because of its spicy flavor. The moderately hardy olive oil needs additional protection in the cold winter months to survive without damage.

Location & Planting Substrate

The olive herb is a very undemanding and easy-care spice plant. It is due to its origin from the Mediterranean drought and extremely sunny conditions gewöhn, these demands should also correspond to the location in the garden. With shady places, the herb does not get along well and responds to lack of sunshine with a faint aroma. The following aspects are to be considered at the location and the planting substrate:
  • Ideal are sunny to full sun locations
  • Prefers dry soils
  • Too wet floors are not tolerated
  • Apply drainage to loamy and impermeable soils
  • Very suitable for growing in the herb bed and rock garden
  • Loves warm wall locations
  • Makes itself very beautiful in a herb island, on the edge to heat-storing stones
  • Also suitable for the Kübelhaltung on balconies and terraces
  • Perfect are vessels made of terracotta, which store heat
Tip: Optimal are wind-protected and south-facing locations. The stronger the sunshine, the more intense the olive aroma and the scent of the plant, which spreads a spicy note in the garden.


The olive herb is offered in specialized stores in planters and should be planted as soon as possible after the purchase to the intended location. The following aspects have to be taken into account when planting, so that the olive oil can quickly feel good and settle in:
  • Lift sufficiently large plant hole
  • Loosen soil before planting and enrich with organic fertilizer
  • Cast on moderately, do not cause waterlogging
  • After about 2 weeks, sufficient roots are formed
  • Only crop for the harvest after settling in

Pouring & fertilizing

The olive oil is used to dry soil and makes no great demands on the casting process. For a rich harvest, however, regular fertilizer inputs are essential. The following criteria should be considered when casting and fertilising:
  • In normal weather conditions with periodic rainfall, do not water additionally
  • During long-lasting dry phases pour moderately from time to time
  • Avoid waterlogging
  • Regular supply of organic fertilizers
  • Only fertilize during the growing season in the warm seasons
  • Apply fertilizer about every 4-6 weeks into the soil around the plant
  • In this way, the soil is loosened up with the same
  • Fertilizer can also be administered via the irrigation water

Leaves, flowers & growth

The olive oil comes from the Iberian Peninsula and is also native to Morocco. Therefore it reminds in its appearance and its taste of the herbs from the Mediterranean regions. The plant is also referred to in many places as a holy herb. The herbs are visually similar to a small cypress plant, which is why its leaves are mistakenly called needles. The following aspects are important in leaves, flowers and growth:
  • Evergreen, perennial, woody over time
  • Reminds the growth form of rosemary
  • Taste of the spice plant is similar to olives, in conjunction with thyme flavor
  • Grows up to 50 cm high, small semi-shrub
  • Needle-shaped, elongated leaves
  • Yellow flowering herb
  • Long lasting flowering phase from June to August
  • Blooms in warm weather conditions and good care into the September


The olive herb needs a regular pruning, otherwise it will be shed after a few years. In addition, pruning stimulates the plant to a vigorous growth. In the pruning of thicker shoots slightly slanted interfaces are to create, on these the rainwater runs off better. In this way, no moisture forms in the subshrub and harmful mold can be avoided. The following procedure is to be followed when pruning:
  • Complete pruning only in early spring, just before the beginning of the growth phase
  • Cut to a maximum of one-third to half the growth height
  • Cut away already stalked flower stems completely
  • Cut back completely dead shoots close to the ground
  • Pruning still-growing shoots only slightly
  • Always stop about 1 cm above the new shoot
  • Pruning also possible after flowering
  • Never cut into the old wood
  • Too deep cuts cause the plant to die off
Tip: In autumn, only a small shape cut should be made every year, thus protecting the natural foliage of the olive oil from the onset of winter frosts.


The needle-shaped leaves of olive oil have an intense flavor and are ideal for seasoning many foods, including fish and meat dishes, salads, soups and many other dishes from the Mediterranean cuisine. Ideally, it is harvested depending on the need for use, the spice develops a fresh and very spicy flavor:
  • Can be harvested continuously and regularly
  • Shorten shoot tips at harvest to promote bushy and branched growth
  • If needed, cut off whole stems
  • Separate leaves for individual dishes separately
  • Also suitable as an extra seasoning for breads and cheese platters
  • Collect in the late autumn for drying
  • Suitable for the production of herbal oils


The olive herb is a robust plant and can even remain in the garden during the winter months in the field, but extremely low minus values ​​are not well tolerated. For this reason, the subshrub needs additional winter protection, especially in exposed locations and higher elevations:
  • Moderate to very hardy
  • Protect from the cold with brushwood, fir branches or garden fleece
  • In extremely hard frosty nights, cover with warming bast mats
  • With frost protection, it can withstand even longer periods of frost well


The olive herb can be propagated through cuttings, often it is a little reluctant, so this process is to be repeated. The cut pieces can be used in this way for the extraction of other plants that can be planted in other locations:
  • Give cuttings in water or planter with growing soil
  • Often roots develop only hesitantly
  • For higher propagation rates add special powder for rooting
  • To improve the climate, put transparent plastic foil over the pot
  • Maintain constant humidity
  • Add water regularly before the soil grows dry

Diseases & pests

The olive herb is a very resistant and robust plant, so that diseases and pests do not play a big role. However, wet conditions and waterlogging can cause root rot and mildew, in which case the watering should be limited and drainage applied.
ConclusionThe evergreen olive oil is an easy-care and undemanding plant, which can be excellently cultivated in the local gardens. Due to the good winter hardiness, the perennial herb with an additional winter protection can survive even extreme minus degrees and flourish again next year and form many spicy stems. The casting is only necessary during extremely dry weather periods, so that the gardener can also drive safely longer on vacation. With regular fertilizer applications, the harvest is particularly abundant, dense growth is also supported by a regular pruning. In autumn, a rich harvest can be dried for the winter season. In this way, many dishes can be refined year-round with the savory and olive-tasting herb.

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