NATIVE TO... the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and Cuba. The tree is briefly deciduous, often dropping all its leaves and growing new ones in 2-3 weeks. The leaves will turn orange or scarlet before they drop. I have had this happen going into winter and the leaves not coming back until spring. It may occur several times over the summer or not. It is not a finicky or difficult tree as some have thought, it is just its nature to do this. Despite its common name, it is not an Olive.
PRUNE... Be careful with root pruning. It is usually best to reduce a large root mass over several years. The top can be drastically cut back, but only during the active growing season.
TRAINING... The branches form in layers or whorls naturally with little bottom growth. As it grows remove the top and bring up a branch as the new apex. The trees branches grow in a zigzag pattern. Design can be controlled by following this pattern. Be cautious of wiring as small branches are brittle and can break easily. Also watch for thorns.
WATERING... Older trees like lots of water, while younger ones require moderate amounts. DO NOT let it dry out.
LIGHT... They prefer full sun with good air circulation. It can tolerate lower light but the internodes will elongate.
INSECT/DISEASE... The only serious problems are usually from poor growing conditions. Soil that is too heavy may produce fungus. Moving its location may cause leave drop. Susceptible to black sooty mold, lots of times caused by Aphids.
REPOT... Minimum night temperature mid 70's. Be careful! The surest way to kill this tree is to repot out of season. Repot ONLY during the hottest months. Repot every 2-3 years, as it is not a vigorous root grower.
SEASONAL... Protect below 40 degrees.
Dwarf Black Olive