Where Do Olive Trees Grow Best? THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

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You probably know that olive trees like Mediterranean-like climates, right?! Well, that’s where most of the advice on the internet stops. There are not many specific details on what kinds of terrains, locations, etc. olive trees prefer.

So, to give you the most detailed information on the ideal growing conditions for olive trees, I decided to write this ultimate guide and show you all those tiny details that will allow your olive trees to grow as quickly and healthily as possible.

Key Takeaways:

  • Olive trees grow best in Mediterranean-like climates.
  • Ideal temperatures range between 12°C and 20°C (53°F to 86°F), with extremes from -8°C to 52°C (-12°F to 126°F) being tolerable for short periods.
  • They need at least 6 hours of sunlight daily, ideally 8+ hours, and benefit from light winds for proper growth and fruit yield.
  • Olive trees grow best on terrains with 5% to 15% slopes, preferably facing south or southwest, up to 400m (1300ft) elevation.
  • Suitable soils are sandy-loamy, particularly limestone types, with a neutral to slightly acidic pH of around 6.5; they should neither retain too much water nor drain it excessively.

Olive Trees Grow Best Under Following Conditions

olive grove

Here, I’ll thoroughly describe what the climate, terrain, and soil should be like in order to maximize olive tree growth and yield.

Ideal Climate Conditions

Climate is the biggest factor that affects the growth, development, yield, and lifetime of olive trees and their fruit properties. When it comes to climate, olive trees have a few specific conditions:

  • Temperature
  • Precipitation
  • Relative humidity
  • Insolation
  • Winds
best location for growing olive trees, world map
World Map Showing Locations With an Ideal Temperature For Growing Olive Trees

The Temperature

  • Ideal temperature conditions for growing olive trees are the areas where day and night temperatures don’t differ a lot. Ideal average yearly temperatures for olive trees are anywhere between 12°C to 20°C (53°F to 86°F). 
  • Temperatures above 32°C (89°F) in May and June and temperatures above 36°C (43°F) are unfavorable for olive trees. Yet, the upper limit is around 40°C (104°F). There are some sorts of olives that can withstand temperatures up to 52°C (126°F). 
  • When it comes to low temperatures, olive trees can withstand temperatures from -8 °C to -12 °C (17°F to 10°F), but for 7 to 10 days max. Olive trees will mostly freeze if the temperatures exceed -12 °C (10°F).

Precipitation and Relative Humidity

  • Olive trees don’t like areas with high relative humidity and too much rain. Long periods of high relative humidity are extremely dangerous for olive trees. 
  • Mostly, the climates shown on the map above will have enough rain for olive trees to grow properly. However, they’ll probably need additional watering during the summer season. Here, you can check how often to water olive trees


  • Olive trees are halophytes, which means that they need plenty of sun in order to grow properly and bear plenty of fruits. On average, olive trees should be exposed to the sun for at least 6 hours a day. Ideally, that’ll be 8+ hours.


  • The wind is an extremely important factor for olive trees. Olive trees prefer light winds (breeze), which ensures enough airflow for them to grow properly. The right airflow is also important to keep the same temperature and humidity everywhere around olive trees.
  • During the fertilization process, winds are especially important since they’ll improve the overall fertilization and, later on, the olive yield. 

Ideal Terrain Conditions

best terrain for growing olive trees
Ideal Terrain Conditions For Growing Olive Trees

When we talk about terrain conditions, some conditions should be met in order for olive trees to grow the best. Olive trees prefer areas with a slight slope, which increases the exposure to the sun and airflow. Slopes should be anywhere between 5% to 15%. 

South and southwest positions of terrain are much better than the ones with northern exposition. South and southwest positions ensure that the trees will acquire enough sunlight during the day, which is extremely important in the winter period. 

When it comes to the elevation, growing olive trees is possible up to 400m (1300ft). Everything above isn’t so suitable for growing olive trees. 

Ideal Soil Types

drainage properties of different types of soil, clay, sandy, loamy

When it comes to soil quality, olive trees are very humble. Olive trees don’t need extremely fertile soils in order to grow properly. Yet, there are some conditions that should be met.

Olive trees don’t prefer soils that keep too much water (clay soils), but they also don’t like types of soils that drain all the water (sandy soils). 

A mix of sandy-loamy soil is a good option for olives, especially limestone soils that are neutral and slightly acidic, such as terra rosa. Furthermore, the ideal soil pH value is about 6.5.

Also, soils that are acid and not rich in calcium aren’t suitable for growing olive trees, yet, you could do a calcification (a process of soil enrichment with calcium), to make the soil suitable.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where do olive trees grow best in Australia?

    In Australia, the best locations are the southern parts of the country, which include the south of Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania.

  • Where do olive trees grow best in the UK?

    Even though the UK doesn’t have the ideal climate conditions for growing olive trees, it’s still possible to grow them in the southern part of the UK. Yet, don’t expect quick growth and rich yields.

  • Where do olive trees grow best in the USA?

    In the USA, olive trees can grow in areas with plant hardiness zone scores between 8 and 11. You can check more info here.

  • Where do olive trees grow best in Italy?

    The best regions to grow olive trees in Italy are Apulia, Calabria, Sicily, Campania, Lazio, Tuscany, and Sardinia. Check more info here.

  • What countries in Europe are the best for growing olive trees?

    Croatia, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Monte Negro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (southwest part), and Turkey are the best countries to grow olive trees in Europe.

  • Can olive trees grow in Africa?

    Olive trees can grow only in a few countries in Africa. These are the northern parts of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Also, The southern part of South Africa is suitable for growing olive trees (areas around Cape Town and Gqeberha).

  • Can olive trees grow in South America?

    The best locations for growing olive trees in South America are in southern Peru, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and southeast Brazil.

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