7 Tips For Choosing a Good Olive Seedling

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a small olive seedling

Choosing the right olive seedling increases its chances to grow into a beautiful and healthy olive tree that yields tons of olives. Here are seven tips that’ll help you to choose the best olive seedlings while shopping at olive nurseries.

Key Takeaways On Choosing The Best Olive Tree Seedling:

  • Make sure the seedling has a health declaration or guarantee.
  • Thoroughly check and inspect the health of the seedling.
  • Make sure that the seedling has aged enough.
  • Ideally, pick seedlings taller than 1 meter.
  • Make sure that the seedling has been in a large enough pot.
  • Tell nursery workers to cut the seedling to 1 meter of height exactly before purchasing it.

1. Check The Declaration or Guarantee

First things first, you should always check if the nursery shop has some declaration or guarantee that the seedling is tracked for health all the time and that they can ensure you varietal purity.

If the nursery shop doesn’t have any records about the health of the seedlings and even can’t guarantee the varietal purity, I’d look for another shop. That kind of information is essential and helps you choose the right olive seedling.

So, make sure to always buy seedlings from some reputable nurseries, such as Fast Growing Trees.

2. Check the Health Condition of Seedlings

Whenever you’re picking olive seedlings, even if the shop says that everything’s fine, you should still check the health condition of the seedlings by yourself. Check for any signs of infection, disease, or attacks by pests such as peacock eyes, shield ears, or olive cancer.

If anything is strange to you and doesn’t look healthy, don’t pick those seedlings. Instead, look for other ones, or even find a new shop.

3. Ideal Age of The Seedling

The best seedlings are anywhere between 18 and 24 months old. Of course, you can buy younger seedlings too, but I’d choose the older ones unless you want to plant them inside.

Once the seedlings are older than 15 months, they’ll already have well-developed roots, which is extremely important for re-planting and future growth.

When the seedlings are old enough, they’ll be much more resistant to colds and droughts and will have less shock when transplanting, and they’ll continue to grow faster.

4. Height of The Seedling

The height of the olive seedling should be from 1 meter and above (if it’s 18-24 months old). By that time, it should already have well-developed twigs. If there are only a few long-falling branches, you should avoid that.

Many nurseries force seedlings to grow as fast as possible, and they don’t give them enough time to develop the branches. These seedlings will need a much longer period to harden and adapt to the new (natural) environment.

5. The Right Size of The Container

Perennial seedlings should be transplanted in larger pots every year. Otherwise, there is an uneven root development in relation to the canopy. Both roots and the canopy should have the same growth.

Seedlings that remain in the same container for an extended time progress very slowly; they won’t have well-developed roots, and they’re usually not good seedlings to buy.

6. Seedlings Taller Than 1 Meter Should Be Cut at 1 Meter Exactly

When you’re buying new seedlings taller than 1 meter, tell the nursery shop to cut it at 1 meter precisely. Cutting the seedling will help it form a future canopy and three skeletal branches, which are very important for the healthy and rapid growth of the tree.

Related: When To Plant Olive Trees

7. Good Growth of Top And Side Branches

Last but not least, you should check if seedlings have well-developed side and top branches (twigs). Seedlings with weak growth of side and top branches are not good, and you should avoid them.


olive seedlings farm

Buying a high-quality and healthy seedling is the first step for growing a healthy olive tree that’ll produce high amounts of olive fruits. Low-quality seedlings will bring you more harm than good since they won’t grow as needed, and you’ll have to treat them with plenty of fertilizers to stimulate growth.

By following the seven steps I showed you above, you’ll always make sure that you’re buying a high-quality and healthy seedling that’s ready to be planted and to grow adequately.

Also, don’t forget to check if a specific olive tree variety requires some other cultivars to proliferate and bear as much fruit as possible. Here’s a great article on self-pollinating and cross-pollinating olive trees.