6 Best Varieties of Olive Trees to Grow in Texas

Last Updated:
Photo of author

Environmental Politics & Permaculture Enthusiast

This article may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission if you purchase via these links. Learn more.
Home » Texas » 6 Best Varieties of Olive Trees to Grow in Texas

Olive trees are the iconic centerpieces of Mediterranean agriculture and landscape- which is why they’re so prominent in Italian, Spanish, and Greek cuisine.

But did you know that it’s possible to grow olive trees in Texas too?

The Mediterranean climate that olive trees thrive in has very hot and dry summers with mild winters. Texas certainly has hot enough summers and, generally, mild winters that olive trees can tolerate.

Intense cold fronts and the colder winters of northern TX are often too harsh for olive trees and they often don’t grow well north of zone 8.

Fortunately, growers in central, south, and eastern TX have a great chance of growing healthy olive trees. In fact, there are tons of olive orchards all around Texas and many people grow these trees as landscaping.

6 Types of Olive Trees for Planting in Texas

1. Arbequina (Olea europaea ‘Arbequina’)

The Arbequina is without a doubt the most popular olive tree in Texas, as it’s the best suited for the Texas climate. This cultivar is native to Spain and is also one of the most commonly grown there- showing it’s an overall good pick!

This is a great choice for Texas growers because it’s very cold hardy, for an olive tree, and can handle cold down to 10 degrees F. It’s also self-pollinating and overall low maintenance.

The fruits of this variety (yes, olive trees are considered fruit trees!) are fairly small, however it produces huge yields. Arbequina is often grown to be pressed into oil, which is said to have a slight almond flavor! However, you can certainly eat the fruits anyways since you’ll have so many.

  • Other Common Names: Arbequí, Arbequín and Blancal
  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 20-25 ft tall by 12 ft wide
  • Fruiting Season: Flowers in summer; Fruits in October to November

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

2. Mission (Olea europaea ‘Mission’)

Mission olive trees are actually a U.S. cultivar that was bred to better handle the climate of the southern U.S. These trees are also very cold hardy and can handle low temperatures of 8-10 degrees F.

Some benefits specifically for growing in Texas include a high drought tolerance and adaptability to soil, which means they can grow in many regions of the state.

Mission olives are also self-pollinating and produce fruits that can be eaten or used for oil, or both!

These trees are also a great option to grow as landscaping or in containers, and will stay smaller if grown in a container.

  • Other Common Names:
  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall by 15-18 ft wide
  • Fruiting Season: Flowers in summer; Fruits in September to October

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

3. Frantoio (Olea europaea ‘Frantoio’)

Frantoio is another common variety of olive tree, one that grows fast and is self-pollinating.

Its fruits are most often used to make oil and, as with several self-pollinating varieties, this tree will produce higher yields when planted with others of the same type.

Frantoio is quite drought tolerant and is known to grow well in southeastern and central TX, although it’s been observed that in some areas it doesn’t produce as much fruit.

This variety isn’t as cold hardy and won’t grow in the north or far western TX. This also means that cold fronts in central TX will cause freeze injury.

It’s helpful to shield these trees from strong winds and, if you have the option, bring them indoors for colder periods.

  • Other Common Names: Infrantoio, Comune, Oliva Lunga, Pignatello
  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 25-30 ft tall by 18-20 ft wide
  • Fruiting Season: Flowers in summer; Fruits in September to October

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

4. Manzanilla (Olea europaea ‘Manzanilla’)

The Manzanilla olive tree is actually a common pick for farmers all over the U.S., as well as in the Middle East, although it’s originally native to Spain.

As with the Frantoio, it has a mild cold tolerance, so growers in north TX won’t be able to keep this tree growing for long! However, anyone living in central TX or further south- zone 8 and below- shouldn’t have a problem.

Manzanilla trees need a pollinator and can be pollinated with almost any species of olive tree.

This variety is most often grown for its fruits and, in fact, most canned black olives come from Manzanilla trees. In their native climate these trees produce large and juicy fruits.

However, given they’re not native to Texas, their fruits often aren’t as big and many orchards in Texas grow Manzanilla olives for oil.

  • Other Common Names: Manzanillo
  • Growing Zones: 8-10
  • Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall by 20 ft wide
  • Fruiting Season: Flowers in summer; Fruits in September to October

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

5. Arbosana (Olea europaea ‘Arbosana’)

Arbosana Olive Tree
Image via Nature Hills

Arbosana olive trees also have a moderate cold tolerance and are better grown in central and southern TX.

This variety is said to grow very well in the warmer regions of Texas and is one of the most preferred varieties for farmers in these parts.

The Arbosana variety must be pollinated by the Arberquina tree- the #1 tree for this list. Arbosana trees bloom with white flowers in the summer, like most types of olive trees, and their fruits can be used for eating or oil-making.

This type of olive tree is a bit more compact and therefore can grow well in small yards or even containers. For those living in northern TX and wanting to grow, consider growing this cultivar indoors!

  • Other Common Names: Arbosana Olive Tree
  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 12-15 ft tall by 8 ft wide
  • Fruiting Season: Flowers in summer; Fruits in September to October

Available at: Nature Hills

6. Picual (Olea europaea ‘Picual’)

Picual Olive Tree
Image by Veinticuatro de Jahén via Wikimedia Commons (CC 4.0)

The Picual is the top olive tree grown in Spain and is known for its resiliency and strong growth. It also produces some of the largest fruits amongst olive trees grown in Spain.

That being said, it’s only so prolific in the zones where it can grow, and isn’t as strong in northern TX. Picual trees have a moderate cold tolerance and therefore will only grow as far north as central TX.

Depending on the climate conditions, the fruits from a Picual may not be as big in Texas as in Spain, but the fruits can still be pressed for oil. The Picual olives are said to make an oil with an especially strong flavor!

  • Other Common Names: Nevadillo, Nevadillo Blanco, Marteño, Lopereño, Current, Andaluza, Picúa, Blanco, Fina, Morcona, Jabata, Snowy
  • Growing Zones: 8-10
  • Average Size at Maturity: 12-15 ft tall
  • Fruiting Season: Flowers in summer; Fruits in September to October

Comparing Texas Olive Tree Varieties

VarietyDescriptionGrowing ZonesAverage Size at Maturity
ArbequinaPopular in Texas for cold hardiness and self-pollination. Small fruits, used for oil with an almond flavor.8-1120-25 ft tall x 12 ft wide
MissionU.S. cultivar, cold hardy to 8-10°F. High drought tolerance and adaptable to soil.8-1120-30 ft tall x 15-18 ft wide
FrantoioSuited for southeastern and central TX, but less fruit production in some areas.8-1125-30 ft tall x 18-20 ft wide
ManzanillaMild cold tolerance. Needs a pollinator. Fruits often used for canned black olives or oil.8-1020-30 ft tall x 20 ft wide
ArbosanaModerate cold tolerance, grows well in central and southern TX. Compact size suitable for small yards or containers.8-1112-15 ft tall x 8 ft wide
PicualTop olive tree in Spain, resilient with large fruits. Moderate cold tolerance, best in central TX and south.8-1012-15 ft tall

Grow a Mediterranean Garden- in Texas!

Even in the warmest and sunniest parts of Texas, we don’t have the same climate as countries in the Mediterranean, but don’t completely lose hope.

Olive trees aren’t the most common evergreen tree in Texas, but in some areas they can grow very well.

With some research, you can find cold hardy varieties and the necessary soil composition to make Mediterranean trees thrive in your own yard.

For more information about growing olive trees in Texas, check out this complete growing guide by Texas A&M University.

There are also several other kinds of Mediterranean plants and trees that can be grown in Texas, like fig trees, rosemary, persimmon trees!

Related Articles:

Photo of author

Peyton Warmack-Chipman

Environmental Politics & Permaculture Enthusiast

Peyton considers trees not just as plants that provide shade or yummy fruits, but as necessary for a healthy life and community. Peyton has done most of her research on environmental politics, but recently has shifted her focus towards actual agricultural practices, learning about ideas like agroforestry, food forests, and permaculture gardening. She's most often in the kitchen whipping something up, but otherwise can be found on long bike rides or doing research.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.