It is well known that the island of Crete is a very special, not very small, but exclusive biotope. There are almost 6,000 different plant species in Greece, of which around 160 are endemic to Crete – meaning plants that only thrive here on the island – and really only HERE.
Of course, this includes the well-known and very healthy types of teas such as Dictamus, Cretan sage and Malotira (the „mountain teas“), but also a wide variety of wild herbs and vegetables such as Vlita and Stamnagathi. In addition, of course, the most varied cactus, orchid, anemone, leek and thistle species, to name just a few of the „endemic“ plant families.
What certainly comes to mind when you say “Crete” is the olive tree – if only because of the world-famous and valued oil of its fruits.
Nobody knows exactly how many olive trees there are growing in Crete – estimates are between 15 and 25 million pieces (please put them all in a row to count !!!), many of which are several hundreds of years old – and still bear fruit !!!
The olive tree is a great plant: from the olives (marinated in brine with lemon – delicious !!!), which deliver the wonderful olive oil, through the leaves for healthy and tasty teas to the wood (trivial , but helpful …) for heating or for the manufacture of furniture and utensils – it is simply an all-rounder!
It is just annoying that you cannot put such an olive tree in your hand luggage – how to take such a thing home just for loving care ??? Well, it’s actually quite simple. Well, actually not really … There are two quite handy options, but they are not always guaranteeing success. But testing is above studying, so get to the tree!
Those who enjoy a home-grown olive tree and want to expand their plant collection in the winter garden or on the windowsill for little money have two options: propagation of cuttings or cultivation from seeds.
For the propagation of cuttings you first need an olive branch – ideally brought freshly from Crete – which you simply put in a flowerpot with a growing substrate, which can be found in any garden center. It is important that the pot and soil are germ-free. The branch does not have to be large and not older than two years. Take it from a shoot of about 20 cms in length to cut into 3 pieces. Each cutting should have at least 3 eyes in the leaf axils.
The length is 5-7 cms for a piece. If you want, you can get a rooting agent that you can get in specialty shops. It will definitely work! Before you put the cuttings in the ground, (please not too deep!) you have to cut off the excess leaves. Attention: The scissors must be sterile! You do not cut the leaf with the stem, but leave the stem.
Now the flower pot is finished with three cuttings and you place it on a window sill over a radiator, because the cuttings only thrive at high temperatures (25 – 30 ° C). To prevent the cuttings from drying out, a plastic container with many holes can be put over it. But it also works without. Now you only need a little water (without fertilizer) and be patient. Some cuttings sprout after a few weeks, others take longer. Siga, siga….
Olive oil – the gold of Crete.
Propagation from seeds is also possible, but has two disadvantages: You have to remember to get fresh olive seeds (collect yourself – that shouldn’t be the problem during a vacation …) and you will get it mostly from wild trees that grow very slowly from the seeds.
Also, not all kernels are equally easy to germinate, so you should use several of them in a pot. Unfortunately, olive kernels made from pickled olives do not work.