I picked an Arbequina olive tree, a Spanish variety that is self-fertile, fruits early (2-4 years), and is considered cold-hardy. It has small, brown/black fruits and a mature height of up to 20 feet, but can be easily kept to 8-10 feet, which I plan to do.
By the way, if you’ve never visited your local botanic garden, it’s a great way to get a sense of what will and won’t grow well in your area. More than likely, you’ll be pleasantly surprised, as I was, that some of the things you previously thought were no-go’s are actually fine in your area. Just ask if extraordinary measures like digging up and overwintering in the greenhouse are necessary.
Cold hardy it may be, but of course when the weather forecast is for unusually cold temps, all bets are off. Our average low here for January (our coldest month) is 31 degrees F but the forecast for t0night is a cool 9 degrees.
SO. I’m worried about Olive. She has completely strolled through a couple of 17 degree nights, including an ice storm, and she looks great. Her leaves are green and supple and perfect.
I did cover her with a sheet during the ice storm, but I don’t think it was necessary. From what I’ve read, 14 degrees is the danger point, so I began covering her up starting last night when it went down to 11 and again tomorrow and Tuesday when that 9 degree mark is expected.
So here’s hoping Olive will be okay. If you have experience with olive trees in the cold I’d love to hear your experiences.