Olive Bonsai Progression (2016 – Now)

This is my Olive that I started from seed. I am trying to grow as bonsai and I will be going through its progression below.

It is still has a lot of development as it is young, but I still think it’s coming along nicely.

If you want to watch it in video format, you can watch the YouTube playlist below. The videos show the progression every month throughout the year, sort of like a time lapse.

Just be aware some of my earlier videos are not the best quality, but just like my trees, the quality slowly improves over time, so stick with them and they both get a little better towards the end.

Olive is a Mediterranean evergreen fruit tree that has great characteristics for bonsai. It is well known for its small, dark green leaves and craggy bark. It is also a very fast grower and extremely tough. You can read more about their suitability in Is An Olive A Good Tree For Bonsai?


In 2016 I started some olive seeds. I just bought them for a few pound from Amazon. They germinated really easily.

Once they where big enough they were put into individual pots and left to grow for the rest of the year.


2017 started by pruning the tree back hard at the start of the year.

I repotted it into a small green bonsai pot in spring. Not the ideal pot, but it was all I had space for. It was just a tiny twig like stump at this point, but two new shoots appeared and started growing well.

It was then left for the rest of the year to grow freely.


2018 started with a hard prune for the tree. It was then repotted in spring when the buds started to swell.

It grew well after this and was pruned at the end of spring. It was then allowed to grow freely for the rest of the year.

I also added a piece of wire to one branch. I wanted to lower the branch as it was growing very vertically.


2019 started in a similar way with a hard prune back at the start of the year. Once the buds started to push out in spring, it was repotted.

After this it was left to grow untouched for the rest of the year.


There was another hard prune back at the start of 2020 and again once the new buds started to swell, the tree was repotted.

It was then allowed to grow out for the rest of the year.


I started 2021 by pruning the tree back and then waiting for the spring buds to start pushing, where I then repotted the tree.

It pushed out a lot of new growth so it was pruned it at the end of spring and then pruned again in early summer.

I actually pruned it for a 3rd time in summer and unbelievably pruned again for a 4th time in summer. It was literally being pruned monthly at this point!

Then towards the end of summer …I pruned it for a 5th time. Incredible.  However, this time I did leave one branch alone. It was in a good position and I wanted it to thicken up, so I let it keep growing.

After insane amount of pruning it was then allowed to grow out for the rest of the year untouched.


In 2022 I started  the year by pruning and then waited for the tree to bud out in spring so I could then repot it.

After this it was left to recover and grow.

and there is where we are with this tree.

My plan going forward will be more of the same. I will just keep pruning it and allowing it to grow for a while to regain strength.

This tree is slowly taking shape and if I keep doing what I am doing it will eventually start to look good.

If you also have an Olive and are wondering how I look after it, you can read my Olive Bonsai Care Guide.