Olive (Olea europaea L.) is a perennial, evergreen, diploid species in the Oleaceae family (Source: Oxford University Press) Olive trees have long been used in landscaping and as ornamental plants, and for good reason. They offer year-round greenery, delicate foliage, and a lovely Mediterranean vibe. While mature olive trees add a classic elegance to gardens, they can be a little more challenging to grow in containers.
But with a little love, caring and creative underplanting, you can create a stunning pot display that showcases the beauty of this timeless tree. Since olive plants create a natural shade, it is important to add an underplanting that complements the olive trees.
By underplanting, I mean planting groundcovers or species of plants that grow well under the main plant and that enhance its beauty. Underlying plants not only add beauty to the pots but also help in moisture conservation, soil stability, and pest control.
If you plan to add some character to your potted olive trees, you have come to the right place. In this blog, I will explore the perfect plants to use under olive trees in pots for a beautiful and thriving display. You might also enjoy reading: 5 of the best companion plants for olive trees you need to know about.
How to Beautifully Underplant Olive Trees in Pots
Underplanting olive trees in pots is an excellent way of enhancing the aesthetics of your garden or patio while providing more benefits for the olive trees. By choosing the right plants and flowers for underplanting, you can add an extra layer of visual appeal, fragrance, and texture to your olive trees.
Here’s how to beautifully underplant olive trees in pots:
1- Choose The Right Container
Olive trees need a large container to accommodate their vast root system. I recommend you choose a container that is deep enough for the roots to spread out evenly and wide enough that there is enough soil to retain moisture.
The most suitable containers tend to be terra-cotta or concrete as they provide good insulation for the soil. I believe that it is also essential to ensure the pot has adequate drainage to avoid excess water stagnating at the bottom of the pot.
Keep in mind that olive trees are highly drought-resistant species, and effective watering is essential (Source: sciencedirect.com)
2- Consider The Right Plants
Underplanting your olive trees with the right plants is key to creating a visually stunning display. The best plants to use are those that are drought-tolerant and have shallow roots.
Succulents, herbs, and flowers such as lavender, thyme, and rosemary do well in containers. These plants not only complement the olive tree’s foliage color but also flourish in the same growing conditions.
3- Add an Accent Plant
A carefully selected accent plant adds visual interest to the pot. A succulent, such as an agave or an aloe vera, could stake its claim at the base of the olive tree.
Or, if you’re looking for something more colorful, consider planting a flowering plant like pansies or marigold. I suggest you add a flowering plant that contrasts the foliage of the olive tree, and you will create a warm, sophisticated look that is sure to stand out.
4- Provide Good Soil Nutrients
Olive trees require well-draining soil that is nutrient-rich. When underplanting in pots, it is crucial to use good quality potting soil that is nutrient-rich.
You can opt for a soil mix containing slow-release fertilizer or add some compost to the soil to boost its organic content. Also, I suggest you consider lightly fertilizing your olive tree to promote growth and maintain its health.
To ensure that the underplanted olive tree and accent plants thrive in pots, it is vital to check soil moisture levels and feed them occasionally and routinely.
I recommend you gently prune any old or dead leaves to promote healthy foliage growth. Also, be mindful of pests and diseases that could affect your olive tree and accent plants. Regularly check for any potential infestations and treat them accordingly.
What Can Be Planted Under Olive Trees?
Before you start underplanting, remember that olive trees require plenty of light to grow, and not all plants can thrive under direct sunlight. One of the best options for underplanting olive trees is the species of Mediterranean herbs like rosemary, lavender, thyme, oregano, bunch grasses, and bulbs. These herbs and plants can grow healthily alongside olive trees, are easy to maintain, and enrich the ambiance with their fragrance.
Generally, Mediterranean herbs, geraniums, succulents, and flowering plants are some of the best options for underplanting your potted olive trees. These add beauty, reduce soil erosion, preserve moisture, and keep pests away.
Other Plants That Grow Well With Olive Trees
Another popular option to underplant olive trees is geranium. Geraniums are highly adaptable and can thrive in different temperature conditions. Their bright colors are perfect for creating contrasts with the olive tree’s greenness. They tolerate low levels of water and can resist pests.
If you’re looking for groundcovers, I suggest using succulents like Sedum, which can help in retaining moisture, reduce weeds, and provide insulation. These plants require little maintenance and grow beautifully alongside olive trees.
Sedum plants have wide petals and are available in various colors, making them the perfect option for adding vibrant tones to your potted olive tree.
The final option that you can try is adding flowering plants like daisies, cosmos, and chamomile, which enhance the beauty of potted olive trees and give outstanding visual contrast to the greens and fruits.
I suggest you opt for a blend of different colors and flowering types to have mixed and stunning visual effects. Flowering plants, such as daisies, cosmos, and chamomile, attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects and play a crucial role in the pollination of olive trees.
What to read next:
- Growing and Caring For Olive Trees: Everything you must know!
- The Best Achillea Companion Plants to Add to Your Garden!
- How To Revive a Dogwood Tree (Here’s How!)
- Top 10 Unexpected Succulent Plants Benefits.
Underplanting olive trees in pots is a fantastic way to add greenery and interest to your outdoor living space. With the right container, suitable plants, and excellent soil nutrition, your olive tree pot display will flourish beautifully.
Remember to maintain your display by checking soil moisture levels, feeding your plants, and pruning gently.
I believe with a little care and attention, your underplanted olive tree display will thrive year-round and add a classic charm to your garden.