How to Grow and Care for Oleander

Common NameOleander, Nerium, Jericho rose, rose laurel
Botanical Name Nerium oleander 
FamilyApocynaceae
Plant Type Broadleaf evergreen
Mature Size Height: up to 19 ft; width: up to 10 ft
Sun Exposure Full sun to part shade
Soil Type Fertile, adaptable
Soil pH Alkaline
Bloom Time Spring to summer, sometimes early fall and year-round in warmer climates
Flower Color Pure white through pale-yellow, peach, salmon and pink to deep burgundy red
Hardiness Zones 8-10, USDA
Native Area Southern Asia and the Mediterranean

Oleander Care

When shopping for an oleander bush, find one that is one or two years old with a strong, straight, central stem. They are fast-growing, with a thick multi-stem, making them perfect for a living screen or hedge.

Oleanders can be allowed to grow in their natural mound form, or they can be trained into a multi-stemmed or single-stemmed tree form. To create a single-stemmed tree, cut off all other stems and any side branches on the main stem to about half their length. Support the plant with a bamboo stake. Push the stake into the ground next to the stem and use plant ties to secure the stem to the stake.

Deadhead spent blooms to prevent seed pods from forming.

Warning

All parts of this plant, even the smoke created from burning plant parts, are extremely toxic to humans and pets.

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Light

Oleander prefers full sun. It will also tolerate partial shade, but its foliage won’t be as dense. It is also tolerant of heat, drought, wind, and coastal conditions.

Soil

Plant in well-drained soil for best results. Oleander shrubs can adapt to many kinds of soil conditions: poor soil, sandy soil, and a range of soil pH levels. Like many native Mediterranean plants, oleanders prefer alkaline soil, but they will grow in acidic or neutral soil, adapting to pH levels between 5.0 and 8.3. Before planting, test the pH level of the soil. If the soil is overly acidic, mix in ground limestone, oyster shells, or wood ash.

Water

Water whenever the top inch of the soil becomes dry. If transplanting a container-grown oleander from one pot to another, choose a larger container with drainage holes to prevent the plant from becoming root-bound.

Fertilizer

Feed poor soil with light dose of a balanced fertilizer during the plant’s first spring and a light fertilization yearly thereafter. Moving forward, established oleander is not a heavy feeder.

Temperature and Humidity

Oleander can tolerate light frost and temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. In climates where temperatures reach any lower than that, grow the plant in a container and bring it indoors for winter.

Oleander Cultivars

Among many cultivars, consider the following:

  • ‘Calypso’ is very hardy and has single, cherry red flowers
  • ‘Isle of Capri’ has single, light yellow flowers
  • ‘Sister Agnes’ has large single white flowers and is often sold as ‘White Oleander’
  • ‘Compte Barthelemy’ has double deep raspberry flowers
  • ‘Mrs. Roeding’, which has double pink flowers
  • ‘Hawaii’ has single salmon-pink flowers with yellow throats
  • ‘Petite Pink,’ ‘Petite Salmon’ are dwarf varieties three to four feet tall
  • Variegata,’ and ‘Variegatum Plenum’ have variegated foliage.

Propagating

Oleander can be propagated by stem cuttings.

Pruning

The best time to prune oleanders is during late winter just before new growth occurs (February through March). Oleanders bloom in summer on new growth. Pinch tips of young stems to prevent legginess and encourage branching. Prune out any damaged or diseased limbs.

Overwintering

Bring container-grown oleander inside in colder zones. Before winter weather arrives, cut the bush back generously by about two-thirds. If the plant is established in the ground, gingerly dig around the roots to lift the plant out of the ground. Pot the plant in good potting soil. Place it in an area that is sheltered but still receives full sun such as a porch or a garage with a window.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Oleander leaves contain latex and extracts from the plant make a strong insecticide. For this reason, plants are resistant to deer and rarely have severe issues with diseases or pests. They are especially resistant to verticillium wilt. Even so, keep an eye out for aphids, mealybugs, and scale.

The most damaging pests are oleander caterpillars. Mature caterpillars can move up the walls of adjacent buildings and reproduce near the eaves. Remove cocoons to manage the next generation, which could eat all the plant’s foliage in a week or two.

FAQ

  • Yes, highway departments often choose oleander for roadside plantings. Shrubs need only minimal care in the garden.

  • They grow at a medium to fast pace, growing one to two feet or more per year. Even established plants that have been damaged by cold temperatures can regrow rapidly from the base.

  • Oleander is native to southern Asia and the Mediterranean while rhododendron has a hybrid origin. Oleander grows in riverbanks and dry rocky watercourses, but rhododendron grows most prolifically in shaded forests. Oleander is hardy in USDA zones 8 through 10; rhododendron is hardy in zones 6 through 8.

Disclaimer: Curated and re-published here. We do not claim anything as we translated and re-published using google translator. All images and Tattoo Design ideas shared only for information purpose.

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