Cold hardy olive

I’m looking for information about cold hardy olives in zone 7b. Most described as cold hardy can’t go below 10F. My temperatures often dip to 0F. Are there any olives capable of growing and producing in 7b? I’ve already eliminated common cold hardy varieties such as Arbequina and Koroneiki as they can’t handle temps below 10F.

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Surviving is only part of the issue. The additional problem is that they ripen very late and may not get enough warm weather in November/December to mature.


If you don’t have sufficient heat units, can they ripen next season (spring) like citrus?

They start shriveling once it hits freezing.

What if you kept them above freezing with Christmas lights?

I searched for cold hardy citrus and now I have 3 citrus trees growing in my yard that have been covered in 4 inches of ice and snow. I’m trying to find out if it is possible to find similar cold hardiness in olive. So far, everything I’ve found suggests no olives can take 0F. I’d love to hear from someone who has found an olive that can go that low.

It might be worth growing out seedlings to find the most hardy genetics, but you’ll probably still need a greenhouse to ripen any fruit. I’m in zone 8a and planted seeds a few years back (in addition to planting named varieties). The seeds seem to germinate easily enough (though not at a super high percentage). I have managed to ripen olives to a very limited extent here. So far the only ones that ripened outside the greenhouse were already on the trees when I bought them. It’s been a few years and those trees have not tried setting fruit again because they had to focus on regrowing after losing most of their wood the first winter (commercially grown olives tend to be grown where it’s warm so the wood is not hardy even if the tree has the genetic ability to be hardy). I’ve gotten a few ripe olives in my greenhouse which fully developed in place (I actually have a batch ripening now too).

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There are Bulgarian varieties claimed resistant to -21C, such as Bakinskiy, Elite-5, Nikitsky. Personally, I have 2 varieties (small plants about 1m high and a diameter of a pen). Last winter they had the opportunity to test -16C - no damage to the leaves or the smallest branches.

Thank you Piotr. I found this site with quite a list.

Are there any other suggestions?

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Check out this video.

They get far less heat than most of the US. Frantoio seems to be the recommended variety.

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Arbequina is the most cold hardy that i have found and it tends to die to the roots every year. I am in Zone 8a, north Texas, every other olive that i have tried has failed. winter lowest temp is usually only 19F. Cold hardy Avocado, and most cold hardy citrus have all failed for me.

@Dudeness what other varieties of olives have you compared Arbequina to? My Arbequina took a beating early this year after I accidentally left my greenhouse window open during some bad spring weather

Re-read the first post. I eliminated Arquebina and Koroneiki because they are nowhere near cold hardy enough. The Bulgarian site with several varieties listed hardy to -21C is the first I’ve seen that can handle my climate outdoors. Salt Spring Island does not get below about -4C so varieties adapted to their climate are highly unlikely to be cold hardy.

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-16C° for how long?

Hello, I’m aware of 3 local varieties, in Northern Tripoli, Peloponnese, Greece.
They discovered these random seedlings some years ago. 1 of them is categorized for fruit production and the other 2 are oil productive.
They’re propagated by the following nursery, they might also be hard to communicate with, so bear with them.
While they’re not listed for sale at the moment, they should provide you with additional information.
All 3 of them survived harsh winters of -16 for decades now.

Few hours, and -8C to -10C for about a week. No cover, open ground, wind chill much higher.

Ah, so it was only a very brief dip. I highly doubt they would have fared well if those low temps were sustained.

I know i had tried Nikita Jubilee and Black pearl. Both are listed as hardy to 10F. I can’t remember the other two varieties i had tried, but i couldn’t find anything else available in the US that was hardier.