Olive Trees in Cold Climates


THE FIRST TIME I SAW OLIVE TREES GROWING IN THE GROUND HERE IN CANADA in Canada I was on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The olive trees were espaliered against a house—and they had Christmas lights draped over them. I was with Bob Duncan, who runs the nursery and demonstration orchard Fruit Trees and More. He said his olive trees are warm enough most winter nights…but when it gets too cold, he turns on the incandescent Christmas lights (which give off heat), and drapes an insulating fabric over the wall.

I was surprised to learn that olives can be grown on some of the southern Gulf Islands in British Columbia. I had a bad case of zone envy as I flew back to Toronto.

I returned home from that trip with an olive tree, a medlar tree, and a kaffir lime tree in my suitcase. I had gone to British Columbia with an empty suitcase, knowing I’d be visiting nurseries. And I wanted another variety of olive so I could get fruit from the two pot-grown olive trees that I’d been nurturing for over a decade in Toronto.

It’s over three years later, and I’ve still never had an olive. It’s a bit disappointing. But nevertheless, I find my olive trees stunningly beautiful. I LOVE the way the grey leaves shimmer in the light.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Cary Cloud when I hosted the Urban Forestry Radio show recently. Cary owns Olive Tree Growers nursery in Florida. His specialty is potted olive trees. Click here to listen to the podcast and learn about growing olive trees. 

Jean and Cary Cloud of Olive Tree Growers

Jean and Cary Cloud of Olive Tree Growers