Mission Olive Tree

Growing Zones in Ground: 8 - 11 / in Pots: 4 - 11

(1 customer review)


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Mission Olive Trees are a good choice for home growing because these versatile olives can be harvested and pickled when green (less ripe) or black (fully ripe). Mission Olives can also be pressed into oil. Mission Olive Trees are self-pollinating, drought tolerant, and cold hardy down to 20-25 degrees F. The fruit is considered a freestone type, which means the seed easily releases from the pulp of the olive.

Mission Olive Trees are vigorous growers suited to coastal climates and warmer areas. They can be grown in the ground in USDA Zones 8 to 11, and in a container over-wintered indoors in Zones 4 to 11. The trees are upright with silver-grey leaves and thin, light tan bark. In-ground trees under ideal conditions can reach heights of 30 feet and widths of 18 feet, but can be kept smaller with pruning. Container grown olive trees make unique, rugged specimens and are often treasured for generations.

Olive Tree Care

If you are in USDA Growing Zones 8 to 11, and have a location with room in the sun, it is best to plant your Mission Olive Tree in the ground. Choose a location with at least 15 feet of growing room on all sides that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Dig a hole twice the size of the potted rootball, then plant the tree so the surfaces of the rootball and the ground are even. Backfill with potting soil and water the tree in well to be sure no air pockets remain. The soil should be well drained. 

Mission Olive Trees grown in containers are treated in much the same way as those in the ground. The soil should drain well, and the tree needs as much sunlight each day as possible. Overwinter potted trees indoors when temperatures drop below freezing. Expect some leaves to shed when moving your potted olive tree from outdoors to in, then back outdoors again in spring. For both potted and in-ground Mission Olive Trees, water once per week, or when soil is dry down to 2-inches from the surface.

Fruit & Harvesting

Mission Olive Trees bloom in spring and have fruit ready to pick beginning in September when the green olives have developed a milky juice. If the juice is clear, wait to pick for another week. Green olives can be used in pickling, or for oil. If you want black olives, wait until the Mission Olives ripen to a deep black color in November. Black olives can be eaten fresh, pickled, or pressed for oil. Mission Olives contain about 20% oil content. 

At the end of November and through early to mid December, you may still harvest the last of the season’s crop of black Mission Olives. At the end of the fruiting season, it is best to pick any remaining olives. This allows the tree to apply its energy toward a strong bloom in spring. It is common for an olive tree that has a vigorous bloom to take a year off, and produce far fewer olives the following year. This alternating bloom cycle is a natural way for the Mission Olive Tree to remain healthy and produce olives for ages. 

Growing Zones

Plant Growing Zones


Mission Olive Trees are self-fertile and will make fruit without a second pollinator tree. However, you can greatly increase the quantity of fruit by adding a second Mission Olive Tree. You can also grow a Mission Olive Tree with other similar olives, such as Ascolana Olives, or Sevillano Olives to increase pollination and yields.

Mission Olive Trees can grow well in a wide range of soil types. Since they are somewhat drought tolerant, they can be grown in drier areas that have high proportions of gravel and sand in the soil. Mission Olives can also be grown in richer, more clay-like soils, as long as the immediate planting area drains well.


Where do Mission Olive Trees come from?

Mission Olive Trees are the result of a cultivated olive variety brought to California by Spanish Missionaries in the 18th century. Since then the Mission Olive has grown in popularity, and it is grown in many other US states, Mexico, and Africa. 

How cold-hardy is a Mission Olive Tree?

Mature Mission Olive Trees can survive temperatures as low as 20 degrees F. However, these trees prefer warmer climates. Container growing in colder zones and overwintering indoors during freezing months is recommended.

Can the fruit of a Mission Olive Tree be eaten fresh?

Mission Olives can be eaten fresh when black, or when green and producing milky, not clear, juice. However, eating these olives raw or cooked when fresh is far less popular than pickling both the green and black stages of the fruit. Both black and green Mission Olives can be used to make oil.

How small can you keep a Mission Olive Tree?

In the ground a Mission Olive Tree can attain heights of 30 feet. However, you can prune the tree each year after all fruit is harvested and before the next bloom in spring. In this way a Mission Olive Tree can be kept quite small. Container grown trees can be kept at sizes of 4 to 6 feet tall, and still grow many olives. As a rule, the larger the tree, the higher the crop yield.

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What others are saying

  1. Josh (verified owner)

    The tree was very healthy with new tiny leaves when it arrived. Perfect!

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    • Citrus Customer Care (store manager)

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We are happy that your tree is thriving, and we appreciate your business.

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    • Citrus Customer Care (store manager)

      Thank you for your positive review. Enjoy your tree.

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