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The wild olive, also known as Texas olive grows into a large evergreen shrub or low branching tree that can commonly reaches 10-12 ft. tall and as wide. Large, 5 in. long leaves are medium green above, pale green below and covered with numerous short hairs that produce a rough surface. Showy white flowers with yellow centers are 1 1/2 in. in size and occur in clusters at the ends of branches in early spring; large yellow-green olive-like fruit mature in summer.

Wild olive comes from dry southern parts of New Mexico and Texas, extending into Mexico where it tolerates temperatures below 20°F, heat, full sun and drought. This southwestern native is well suited to southwestern style garden plantings as a small specimen tree and on slopes and banks. It prefers well-drained soils, sunny locations and performs best with moderate amounts of supplemental water during winter and spring and less during summer. Some old specimens have been able to grow 20-30 ft. tall after many years.

Water Needs

The wild olive is well adapted to hot microclimate locations in the Inland Empire where it thrives in sun and with normal winter rainfall and low amounts of summer water. It is a colorful flowering accent shrubs for courtyard and southwestern plantings in both commercial and residential settings. Monthly deep watering from spring through fall will enhance its spring flowering cycle and help maintain good foliage character. It should be noted there are several winter months marked by an asterisk (*) when rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water depending upon exposure conditions and size.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Low-branching, Dense
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 10 ft. - 12 ft.
Width: 10 ft. - 12 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: White
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Rocky soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Frost, Drought, Cold hardy, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Specimen, Slopes, Screening, Residential spaces, Parks and open space, Foundations, Flowering accent plant, Commercial spaces, Civic spaces, Background plant


Can be pruned as a low or larger shrub or trained up into a small multibranched tree by "skirting up" to reveal branch structure (5). Significant pruning is best done in winter (D).



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