How to Grow Kalamata Olives


Kalamata olives grow native to Greece, originating in the city of Kalamata. These tree produce large, oval, red-black fruit with a salty, meaty flavor. Once cured, they make a flavorful addition to pizza, pasta dishes, casseroles and salads. Because olive trees are heavy-feeding, sub-tropical plants, growing them in cold climates or in containers is unadvisable. Those in climates with cool, mild winters and hot, dry summers will have the most success growing kalamata olives.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss fertilizer
  • Shovel
  • Garden rake
  • Kalamata olive seedling
  • Nitrogen fertilizer
  • Water
  • Dig a hole about as deep as your seedling's root ball is long and three times as wide. Because olive roots are fairly shallow, the soil around them should be loose and easy to penetrate. Choose an area in full sun with loose, loamy soil.

  • Mix the soil from the hole with an equal amount of peat moss fertilizer.

  • Release the seedling from its pot and untangle the roots. Gently set the seedling into the hole so it stands straight up. Spread the roots out in the hole to encourage them to strike out. Cover the roots with soil-peat moss mix and press down lightly.

  • Water the tree with about 2 1/2 gallons of water on the first day and 2 1/2 more gallons on the second day. Water your seedling with 5 gallons of water weekly after that. When the olive tree strikes its roots, shown by new leaf growth, water with about 10 gallons of water every week and a half.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prune back one of every two crossing branches in the center of your tree's foliage each autumn. Right after harvest is ideal for pruning. This opens up the crown for light and air flow.
  • Always cure your olives before eating them. Uncured olives are so bitter that they're inedible.

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  • Photo Credit Martin Harvey/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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