Are you looking for the perfect plant for both your living room and your garden? Meet the shady lady tree! We have put together a simple guide that will teach you how to grow and maintain a black olive tree.
This guide will help you grow smaller shady lady plants inside from seed and full-size shady lady trees outside. We will also take a look at a pros and cons list that will help you decide if this tree is a good fit in your garden.
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How to Grow a Shady Lady Tree
First, decide whether you want to grow this tree inside or outside. Even though they are named the same, the two plants have very different requirements.
1. How to grow a shady lady plant indoors
Indoor and outdoor shady lady trees differ in size. While the outside variety can reach 50 feet in height, the indoor version is much smaller.
Still, don’t forget! Shady lady plants will still grow to be quite large both in girth and length.
Make sure you have plenty of space in your house to allow your shady lady tree to develop in.
The plant will grow to impressive heights that might even reach your ceiling. Even if you prune it. Therefore, if you have a small apartment or house, the black olive tree is not for you!
The shady lady plant needs as much sun and warmth as you can give it.
Place your shady lady tree as close to a window as you can.
This tree is not related to the much more well-known Mediterranean olive tree. However, the shady lady plant still needs as much sun as it can get. Therefore, if you live in a colder climate, or in a house that doesn’t receive much sunlight, your shady lady might not thrive.
The indoor shady lady variety is not easy to find.
How far are you willing to go for a shady lady plant? Unfortunately, as many gardening specialists will tell you, this indoor decorative tree is rare. As a result, if you have your heart set on it, start doing your research right now.
2. How to grow a shady lady plant outdoors
Shady lady trees are only suitable for medium to large gardens.
If you have a small backyard, try a dwarf black olive tree or a miniature shady lady. Both will provide the same Oriental accents to your garden without taking up too much space.
Shady lady plants are very tolerant of salt and high heat. They also love humidity in the air and soil.
As a result, you don’t have to worry if you live in a coastal area. Shady ladies will take well to the salty air. You can also relax because these trees need little maintenance and energy from you as they are very resilient.
Plant shady lady trees at least 15 feet from any building.
As the tree matures, the lower branches hang low and can encumber vehicle traffic or people passing close to them.
Other gardeners have experienced problems with the roots. According to their statements, shady lady tree roots can come up through the soil and destroy walkways and alleys in your garden.
Only plant shady lady trees in grassy areas.
Nuisance alert for gardeners with concrete alleyways! Shady lady trees produce small black fruits called olives. When they fall, they stain concrete permanently.
How to Take Care of a Shady Lady Tree
Shady lady trees are perfect for beginner gardeners as they require little maintenance.
- When you plant your shady lady, add organic peat humus and topsoil to the pot or the hole where you are planning on putting it.
- If your tree is very young, do not cut off its lower branches even if they seem a nuisance. At this stage in the tree’s development, they feed the trunk and help to make it stronger.
- When your tree is mature and the trunk has become strong, cut the lower branches to a distance of three feet above the soil.
- If the top shoots of your shady lady tree are growing in a wayward fashion, do not cut them off. Even if you don’t like this aesthetic, allow them to grow naturally. Soon enough, the shady lady tree will fill in and look like an Instagram dream.
- Don’t worry about leaf litter. The shady lady gives off very small leaves that will not make a mess in your garden. It will also shed tiny flowers which will blow away naturally.
- If you feel the need to water your shady lady plant, or if you live in an area where rain doesn’t fall naturally, you can do it regularly. However, make sure to give your plant enough time to absorb the water. Let the roots to dry in between watering.
- Fertilize your shady lady tree three times per year. A good rule of thumb here is to fertilize it every season except for winter. Always use high-quality granular fertilizer.
Tip – Always use gloves when you are when taking care of your shady lady plant. The branches have very small spines that will prick your fingers!
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Is the Shady Lady Tree an Olive Tree?
The shady lady is also called the black olive tree. We understand if you thought it’s related to the more common Mediterranean olive trees.
However, the two species of plants have nothing in common. The shady lady plant is native to Central America as opposed to real olive trees that come from the Middle East and the Mediterranean regions.
Apart from that, the shady lady does not produce edible olives, despite its name. This type of decorative tree does grow very small and black hard fruit. Hence its name, the black olive tree. Still, don’t try to eat them!
Shady Lady Tree Growth Rate
How fast does a shady lady plant grow? It all depends on what type of plant you have – indoor or outdoor and what conditions you have been growing it in.
The shady lady is an ornamental tree that will grow very fast when exposed to perfect conditions. This means as much sunlight and warmth as you can give it, moist and fertilized soil, and plenty of space for the plant to develop.
However, when talking about the shady lady tree lifespan, things change a bit if you cannot meet these proper requirements. The shady lady trees can withstand any type of climate and soil. But they might not thrive and they might not grow as fast.
They will also suffer from improper pruning or cutting of the branches as well as from parasites and pests.
How to Prune a Shady Lady Plant
- Prune your shady lady tree regularly. The foliage and branches of this gorgeous plant are extremely dense. They can become very heavy on top and weigh down the rest of the plant.
- Pruning will protect your shady lady plant against the elements. In a storm, pruning will make sure that there are no loose branches that can come off the tree.
- Only remove diseased and dead branches. You can also remove some green and alive branches if you feel the need to. Some gardeners do this to their shady lady trees when the crown or foliage has become too dense and the tree is suffering.
- Always prune your shady lady plant in the springtime. This is the period in the year when the plant has not started to grow actively. Contrary to popular belief, plants are not dormant in the cold seasons. As a result, pruning them during the winter might lead to you killing off brand new shoots.
- Remove all the branches that are hanging more than three feet off the ground.
Growing a Shady Lady Tree – Pros and Cons
- The shady lady is a low maintenance tree. It requires very little effort on your part both to plant and to maintain indoors and outdoors. This is great news if you are a beginner gardener. Or if you have a large backyard filled with other plants that you need to take care of.
- This tree thrives in almost every climate you decide to plant it in. The shady lady is at its best in a very warm, sunny, and humid climate. But it will also thrive in any other geographical area.
- Aesthetically speaking, you will love the shady lady! It is one of the most beautiful decorative trees that you could plant in your garden. It looks like a giant bonsai tree and it provides copious amounts of shade. Hence its name, the shady lady.
- You cannot plant a shady lady close to your house. The tree can grow to gigantic sizes and its branches can become a nuisance. As a result, keep it far away from your windows and walkways.
- Gardeners who have children or pets, pay attention! The shady lady produces small fruits that are not edible and could be dangerous. If you grow this plant indoors, secure it so that no fruits are within reach.
- Shady lady roots tend to be aggressive. They grow excessively to the point where they can lift alleys and sidewalks or even wrap themselves around utility lines.
Shady Lady Tree FAQs
How big do black olive trees get?
If referring to the outside variety – the shady lady tree can grow to be 40 to 50 feet tall. This size only refers to shady lady trees that have been grown under the perfect conditions. This means a warm climate, plenty of sunlight, and high levels of humidity.
You can grow a black olive tree in other conditions as well. But, according to most gardeners, it will not reach a height of 40 to 50 feet.
What does a black olive tree look like?
The shady lady tree is classified as an evergreen tree. For beginner gardeners, this means that it will not shed its foliage during the cold season. It has a long and smooth trunk. Its branches are strong and wind-resistant. When the tree is young, the branches form a natural pyramid shape.
However, as the tree develops, the branches will become dense and form an oval crown. Seeing as it is a decorative tree, you will find its crown aesthetically pleasing. It is very well-known for producing shade, hence the name of the tree – the shady lady.
As the tree ages, the top will flatten and the shady lady will start to grow horizontally. You can intervene at that point and prune it. This will get the tree back to its oval shape.
How fast do black olive trees grow?
Under the right conditions, a shady lady tree grows 12 inches per year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture qualifies these conditions as Arizona and California. And, sometimes, the Mediterranean region. Outside these areas, the shady lady tree will grow at a slower pace.
Do black olive trees have thorns?
Yes, they do. Although specialists refer to them as spikes. They are tiny spikes that grow on the branches. They have a protective role against predators such as birds and small animals. Gardeners advise you to wear gloves at all times when you are handling your shady lady tree.
The outside tree nor the indoor smaller plant are not poisonous. However, don’t prune the tree with your bare hands! You can end up hurting yourself.
Are black olive trees edible?
No, they are not. Shady lady trees produce small, black fruits that look like black olives, hence the name. However, they are poisonous to both humans and animals.
If you are growing a shady lady tree in your backyard, don’t allow your pets to eat any such fruits. If you have a smaller plant inside, please make sure the fruits are not within reach of children.
The black olives will also stain the surfaces they fall on and cannot be cleaned. This includes floors, carpets, and concrete walkways if you have a shady lady in your garden or backyard.
The shady lady tree is the perfect choice for every gardener who is looking for an amazing aesthetic for their living room or backyard with a minimum of maintenance. And after reading this guide on how to grow a shady lady plant you now know everything you will be facing once you buy your first shady lady plant. So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try and let us know how it went!