Skip to Content

Using Olive Oil On Plants: What you need to know

Spread the Word!

Olive oil can be beneficial when used on plants. It is a cost-effective way of providing the plant with additional nutrients while fighting off pests.

Olive oil is very beneficial for plants as it can play a protective role against pests while providing vitamins E and K. In some cases, it can also damage the plants when not used properly. Applying olive oil to plants by misting is proven to be most effective in gaining all its benefits.

This article will provide you with the essentials of using olive oil on plants, the in-betweens that come with it as well as how to use it for optimal plant health.

Using Olive Oil as Fertilizer

Using Olive Oil on Plants recipe

Olive oil can be good for the plants; however, it is advisable not to use it as a fertilizer. There are many cons to using olive oil as a fertilizer for plants. 

The first of its drawbacks is its attractiveness to pests. Olive oil may attract unwanted insects or pests to the plants. 

Pests can dramatically damage the normal functioning and health of plants.

Many pests feed on the roots’ hairs and leaves of the plants. 

Some pests can even transfer fungal and bacterial infections from infected plants to infected plants as well.

Therefore, using olive oil as the main fertilizer would not be a wise decision.

However, if you still want to use olive oil as a fertilizer, use it in very tiny amounts. 

What Does Olive Oil Contain?

Olive oil contains three essential components.

These are:

  1. Fatty acid
  2. Vitamin E
  3. Vitamin K

Fatty Acid

Fatty acids are generally present in every cell of the plants. 

It plays a significant role in the anatomy or the construction of plant cells and the plant’s biological function. 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E plays a significant role in maintaining the healthy growth and the functioning of plants. 

If you use olive oil on plants, your plants will get a high proportion of vitamin E and will be able to prepare their food easily. 

Vitamin K

Olive oil also contains vitamin K that plays an essential role in carrying out photosynthesis (a natural process by which the plant can prepare their food). 

If you are looking for plant food.

For the healthiest foliage, I use a cost-effective Liquid fertilizer called Purived. It helps strengthen my plant leaves, stems, and their overall health.

purvied for stronger leaves

Using Olive Oil To Clean Plant Leaves

Olive oil is extensively used all around the world to clean the scales of plants. Removal of the plant scales can be done in two ways:

  1. First is the use of olive oil in the form of a spray (Misting).
    • With the help of a mister, you can easily shower and clean all the scales present on plants. 
  1. The second method is to use an olive oil and water solution.
    • To prepare the solution, add a little bit of water in the olive oil and mix it thoroughly.
    • Once the mixture is ready, find a clean fabric, soak it in the solution.
    • Finally, rub the soaked fabric over your plants to remove the scales. 

How To Apply Olive Oil?

Olive oil is not good for the plant if it is applied through the soil. But it would not harm plants if it is applied in the form of a spray.

Olive oil can also be used to rub up against or polish the scales or fronds of the plants. The appearance of the scales or fronds of the plant can be beautified by it. 

Nurseries sometimes use olive oil to clean the scales of the ornamental plants and improve their appearance. 

Olive oil can also kill many of the harmful substances or organisms from the surface of the plants. However, if used too much, it can also damage plants and the same goes for vegetable oil.

What Are The Downsides of Using Olive Oil on Plants?

Although olive oil has many nutritional benefits for humans, it isn’t very suitable for plants. 

There are several drawbacks attached to olive oil when it comes to plants. A few downsides of using olive oil are:

  • Similar to any other oil, olive oil is also not soluble with water. Therefore, when we apply a layer of olive oil to our growing mediums to increase the fertility of our plants, we create a hindrance between plants and water.

    As a result, plants will face difficulty in absorbing the required amount of water. In this case, you may want to try the bottom watering method.
  • As we mentioned earlier in the article, do not use olive oil even when you are only using it to polish or clean the leaves.

    Olive oil blocks the pores present on the leaves by creating a thin layer on the surface.

    As a result, your plant will not be able to absorb sunlight and take oxygen until the coating is wiped or removed. Therefore, think twice before applying olive oil to your plant’s leaves. 
  • Another downside of olive oil is its potential to burn your plants. This is because when you rub or spray olive oil on the surfaces of leaves, it sticks there for a long time.

    With their pores closed, leaves can’t absorb the sunlight when it is dropped on their surfaces. As a result, the surface of leaves turns hot and starts burning the leaf. 
  • If you are planning to mix olive oil in water and then use that solution to water the plants, think again.

    Olive oil can poison water and kill your plants as it can lower the pH and increase bacteria levels in the water if added in large or equal quantities.

    Olive oil or general-purpose oil sucks out any natural nutrients and mineral values from water, depriving the plants of essential minerals and nutrients. 
  • Last but not least, olive oil can also make dust stick to the surface of leaves. It’s not only about olive oil but all oils, in general, have sticky properties.

    The dust particles in the air will get stuck to the leaves, making your plant look dirty or ugly. 

Can You Add Olive Oil To The Soil?

Olive oil cannot be used in the soil as it may damage the plant rather than bring any benefits. 

If it is necessary to add olive oil to the soil for the betterment of the plant, it should be given to the plant via soil in a very tiny quantity. 

It should be added to the soil with flake humus or any other decaying matter (which works as a fertilizer) so that it can be thoroughly mixed and absorbed into the soil.

In this way, it will not hinder the movement of the water towards the body of the plant.

Controlling Pests With Olive Oil

Adding Fertilizer when Misting_ Foliar Feeding Explained

Olive oil can easily control pests and many other insects that have a damaging effect on the plants. 

Spraying olive oil on the scales of the plants may keep many of the pests or bugs away from the plants. 

But if it is applied in a large amount through the soil, it may increase the pests that are harmful to the normal growth of the plants rather than decreasing them. 

Many oils, including olive oil, are still used to keep the pests away from the plant bodies. 

But this cannot be done by applying it through the soil. 

Controlling pests can be done if oil is used as a solution of water and olive oil. 

Mix a few drops of olive oil (5ml) and one gallon of water to make an organic repellent and spray it around the plants. 

Another quick and easy pest repelling recipe can be made by mixing

  • 5ml Olive Oil
  • 3ml Dish Washing Liquid
  • 1 Gallon of water

They are then mixed thoroughly and then applied to the foliage of the plant during the cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings (7 am -9 am) and late evenings (4:30 pm – 6:30 pm). 

In a day or two, all pests will no longer be lurking around the plant.

Watering plants with pasta water follows the same watering times as well as pest control.

A more proven, fail-safe, and cost-effective organic pest control is neem oil.

I use bliss pure neem oil from Amazon for a great price. It works great when it comes to shining leaves and provides a layer of protection for plants against common pests.

Bliss neem oil amazon

The Takeaway

Although Olive oil has many essential components to aid a plant’s growth and health,  you should think twice before using it as a fertilizer. 

If added to large quantities, olive oil can displace water movements and attract multiple pests and rodents. 

However, if you still want to use Olive oil on your plants, use it by mixing it in your compost. Adding a tiny amount of olive oil to your compost will not harm your plant. 

Spread the Word!

Free Plant Care & Gardening Guides