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Oleander Care: Tips For Growing Oleanders In The Garden

Oleander Care: Tips For Growing Oleanders In The Garden


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By: Jackie Carroll

Oleander plants (Nerium oleander) are among the most versatile of shrubs, with dozens of uses in southern and coastal landscapes. They tolerate a wide range of conditions, including difficult soil, salt spray, high pH, severe pruning, reflected heat from pavements and walls, and drought. But the one thing they can’t withstand is winter temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (6.66 C.). However, in cooler climates, you can grow an oleander plant in a container and bring it indoors when temperatures drop.

Growing Oleanders in the Garden

The first thing you should know if you want to grow an oleander plant in the garden is that you need to avoid growing oleanders in home landscapes where children and pets play. All parts of oleander shrubs are poisonous and the smoke from burning oleander debris is toxic. Ingesting even a small amount of foliage, flowers or shoots from an oleander plant can be fatal. Contact with the foliage and flowers can cause severe skin irritations and allergic reactions as well. Always wear long sleeves and gloves when working with the shrub.

Oleanders bloom from spring until the end of summer, producing large clusters of flowers in shades of yellow, white, pink or red at the tips of the stems. They grow and bloom best in full sun, but they will tolerate light shade.

Oleanders are considered hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, but they are sometimes damaged by frost in zone 8. The shrub usually recovers, even if killed nearly to the ground. Prune and reshape the damaged parts of the shrub to encourage new growth.

How to Care for Oleander

Oleander care is easy and this makes the shrub popular with highway departments. You’ll often see masses of oleander shrubs planted in highway beautification projects where they provide an outstanding display of long-lasting flowers with very little maintenance.

Even in the garden, oleander shrubs require minimal care. Although the shrubs are drought-tolerant, they look their best when they are watered during dry spells. However, take care not to over water them. Yellowing leaves indicate that the plant is getting too much water.

If the soil is poor, feed the plant lightly with a balanced fertilizer during its first spring. Once established, oleander shrubs don’t require routine fertilization.

Pinching out the tips of young stems reduces legginess and encourages the shrub to branch out. Pruning oleanders can also be performed. Prune to remove damaged or diseased limbs any time, and prune to shape the shrub in late fall.

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Oleander Plant Care Instructions

Oleander cultivation is not difficult. You just have to know that it loves sun and water! They need lots of water during the summer month. You can even leave some water in the saucer! Choose the sunniest and warmest spot you have for your oleander shrub. A hot south-facing wall is ideal. Feed them once a week with a liquid fertilizer .

Overwintering Oleander

Oleander is not frost hardy. They have to be over-wintered in a cool, bright room. The ideal temperature is 5-10 degrees C. A greenhouse or conservatory is ideal for this purpose. The plants of course will need less watering during the winter months. The amount of water they need though will depend on the room temperature.

Oleander Pruning And Propagation

Pruning oleander is easy. They actually don't require much cutting back. Remove old branches of mature plants at the base to encourage new growth. The best time for oleander pruning is the spring. Older plants can be cut back hard.

Don't dead-head finished flowers. These will be the first flowers of the following season.

The best way to propagate oleander shrubs is from cuttings. They root easily in a glass of water. The best time for propagation is from June to August. The cutting should 10-15 cm long. The cutting should grow roots within 3 to 4 weeks. Once the roots are about 2 cm long pot them up into small containers.

Oleander Poisoning

Oleander is very poisonous. To avoid oleander poisoning children should be watched and flowers and leaves should not be eaten! Avoid contact with the sap and wash your hands and tools after pruning oleander trees. This warning will hopefully not keep you from growing oleander. Just stick to these precautions.


3. Calypso

Ah, the ‘Calypso.’ I love the soulful John Denver single with this name, and have the highest esteem for Jacques Cousteau’s research boat, which inspired the song.

As an oleander, though, ‘Calypso’ has its own distinct appeal. An evergreen, it produces profusions of single, magenta blooms on extra-vigorous plants.

To me, this cultivar says, “Florida seaside town,” because I’ve seen it on road trips so often. In the Sunshine State, it brightens up ocean-side landscapes, median strips on the highways and byways, and even the occasional strip mall parking lot.

But Florideans aren’t the only ones who can sing to the spirit of ‘Calypso.’ It will grow 10-18 feet and spread 10-15 feet in other areas, too.

It does well – flourishes in fact – in scalding weather, and is hardy as an outdoor plant in Zones 8-11a.

Many fans train them to grow as multi-trunk trees, with the showy blooms covering the tops of the stems.

Centered five feet apart, these ‘Calypso’ specimens create a beautiful flowering windbreak or privacy screen in West Coast, southern, or coastal areas where the temps stay above about 20°F year-round.

‘Calypso’ is available in a three-gallon pot from PlantVine via Amazon.


Watering and Fertilizing Oleander

Highly tolerant of salt spray and wind, the oleander grows best in seaside locations, according to reports from Clemson University. And while it doesn’t require much water, it doesn’t like to be dry. It survives during drought seasons, but the flowering may be diminished. Water 1 to 2 inches per week during dry times to promote flowering and growth.

Fertilizing the oleander isn’t necessary, but it may enhance flowering and growth. If the stems appear light green and small with few flowers, fertilize with a balanced combination of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in the early spring and early fall, instructs the International Oleander Society. If the shrub is adjacent to a lawn that receives fertilizer, it will get the fertilizer runoff from the grass.


Watch the video: कनर क छटईOleander Plants Pruning. Why Pruning is Necessary. Benefits of Pruning