Here';s the good oil. The ancient and venerable European Olive (Olea) tree has certainly put roots down in NZ and adapted extremely well to our Kiwi lifestyle. The Olive is not only a highly regarded feature tree in New Zealand landscape schemes, it is now becoming an important horticulture crop for both the fruits and high quality Virgin Olive oil.
Both Sir George Grey and Logan Campbell were responsible for planting large numbers of Olive trees in New Zealand from about 1860 onwards. Their legacy can still be seen in Cornwall Park, Auckland, where some of these original trees continue to grow and produce Olives. These days Olives for oil production are grown just about everywhere in New Zealand with Hawkes Bay, Martinborough and Marlborough being 3 of the key production areas.
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As a garden plant Olives do well where the winter is cool, and not too wet, and the summers are long and hot. I think I would thrive in those conditions as well! Olives will grow in poor soils but will do better in fertile open loam that is free draining yet does not dry out completely especially when the fruits are forming. Once established the Olive tree will become more drought tolerant. Olives have a shallow root system and therefore are better located away from very strong Southerly winds. Some wind is acceptable, even desirable as Olives are wind pollinated. Many varieties are self fertile but as you know we always recommend a partner for the best results. A side dressing of Gypsum from time to time will also help add alkalinity to the soil and mimic the trees horticultural origins. Warning- don';t overfeed with Nitrogen rich fertilizer.
Olives look their best when group planted and their beautiful shimmering blue grey foliage combines well with just about any other colour in the garden. Olives can also be used as dramatic container plants around pools and patios. No matter if you want to grow Olives as a culinary delight or a visual delight they have proved that they certainly do "oilright" right here in little old Godzone.
As indicated by the name this Olive hails from Greece. It has a compact form and is a good choice for topiary work. Attractive grey green foliage and small white flowers followed by heavy crops of small fruit that have good oil content. Happiest in the sun with protection from harsh wind. Evergreen.
Suitable for warmer areas including Auckland/Northland
Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: Std