I just bought "an" olive tree and, to my surprise, it had two trunks that obviously belonged to two different plants planted right next to each other.

Looking around the shop, this appears to be their default MO with olive trees.

Why would they do that?

Do I have to worry about it harming the tree(s)?

EDIT picture

enter image description here

  • Any chance of a photograph? Did you ask the staff in the shop why they were like that?
    – Bamboo
    Jul 26, 2016 at 9:58
  • Does the label give a varietal name, and did you buy this as an ornamental or a fruiting plant? It doesn't look like two separate trees to me, it just looks like two stems coming from the same roots.
    – Bamboo
    Jul 26, 2016 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


(Many) olive cultivars will not produce olives (very well) without a pollinator (an olive tree of a different cultivar)... so basically, you want/need two trees to produce (many) olives. (source 1)(source 2)(source 3)

  • I admire your optimism, Ben Welborn; maybe I'm just an experienced old cynic, but I reckon the chances of a grower putting two different varieties of olive in a pot for pollination purposes are about as likely as me waking up 25 years old tomorrow... they're in it for the money, so unless jbcreix paid double the usual price, its just two stems off one lot of roots.
    – Bamboo
    Jul 26, 2016 at 18:29
  • @bamboo actually, not long ago I purchased a kiwi plant (actually 2 together)... as they have the exact same situation. All of the plants at the big box store were double potted. Jul 26, 2016 at 18:47
  • A male and female together then? Bit different for olives though... and don't you think those two stems in the pic are way too close together to be different trees...
    – Bamboo
    Jul 26, 2016 at 19:02
  • @bamboo well I can't be certain, of course, but for olives you want two different cultivars. It looks like there are two tags. Jul 26, 2016 at 19:05
  • 1
    @BenWelborn I hadn't considered it could be two cultivars. I'm fairly certain this is the reason. One tag is unrelated but the other one is "Mission" whereas I had previously removed a "Nevadillo Blanco" tag. Research tells me Nevadillo Blanco doesn't self pollinate but is often used to pollinate other trees. The tree is supposed to be ornamental, but I guess olives were considered to be a requisite by enough customers. I still wonder if there's anything to worry about the pair, though.
    – user10810
    Jul 26, 2016 at 22:37

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