Curious to learn more about Nerium a.k.a. Oleander plants? You’ve come to the right place! We are more than pleased to present it to you in all its splendour and to offer you all the info you need to grow this plant in your garden or in your home. Growing and caring for oleanders is a rewarding experience!
Nerium oleanders, usually known as Oleanders or Neriums, are delicate, but spectacular species of flowering ornamental plants. The oleander plant belongs to the Apocynaceae family, sharing it with other popular ornamentals like Milkweed, Rocktrumpet, Periwinkle, Hoya, Carrion Flower, or Star Jasmine.
The Oleander is native to the Mediterranean Basin and several regions of southern Asia and it is a popular plant in gardens worldwide, especially in tropical and subtropical areas, but it can also be grown successfully in temperate climates. Oleanders are commonly cultivated in many large cities such as southern England, Paris, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver due to the urban heat island effect.
Oleanders are versatile plants that can also be grown successfully in containers. So, even if you don’t live in a warm region, you can still try your hand at growing these attractive ornamentals. In addition to that, Oleanders are easy to grow and to care for, perfect for novice and experienced gardeners alike.
- Oleander is a common ornamental and landscaping plant worldwide in temperate and subtropical areas. In the wild, the plant occurs near stream beds in river valleys.
- Oleander comes along with many eye-catching varieties to choose from. Some of the most interesting cultivars are ‘Alsace’, ‘Calypso’, ‘Hardy Pink’, ‘Hardy Red’, ‘Hawaii, ‘Isle of Capri’, ‘Petite Salmon’, ‘Provence’, ‘Sister Agnes’, ‘Splendens’, and ‘Variegated Plenum’.
- Oleander has enjoyed lots of attention and recognition in art. The blooms of the oleander plant appeared in different paintings, novels, and poems. You can find oleanders in paintings by some of the most famous painters, such as Vincent van Gogh and Gustav Klimt.
- Nerium oleander is the official flower of Hiroshima since it was the first flower to bloom after the atomic bombing of the city in 1945.
- The plant is an excellent addition to various landscape decorations, such as coastal gardens, Mediterranean gardens, cottage gardens, city gardens, flowering hedges, or large containers.
- Plant your Oleander alongside other easy-to-care and sun-loving species that will not grow tall enough to hide its beautiful foliage. Great companion plants for Oleanders include Agapanthus, African Iris, Beach Sunflower, Blueberry Flax Lily, Crape Myrtle, Carissa, Dwarf Ixora, Loropetalum, Lantana, Sweet Potato Vine, or Umbrella Plant.
- Oleander contains several toxic compounds, making it a very poisonous plant. Although the poisonous cases are pretty rare, it is wise to keep oleander plants away from curious kids or pets. While the sap may cause irritation and inflammation, ingesting it can result in nausea, abdominal pain, and other unpleasant symptoms. As a result, it is highly recommended to handle your oleander plants with care and to use protective gloves when you need to prune them or transplant them.
- Despite its reputation of being a toxic plant, the seeds and leaves have still played their part in medicine. People have used parts of the oleander plants in traditional medicine to treat numerous health problems including heart conditions, malaria, asthma, painful menstrual periods, epilepsy, indigestion, venereal disease, and even cancer. However, there are no clinical trials available to support the use of oleander plants as a remedy.
- Oleanders are considered invasive in some regions including New Zealand, Australia, Niue, Hawaii, Florida and South Africa. It is also considered potentially invasive in Cuba, where oleander plants are naturalized species and due to the ideal growing conditions, it has a tendency to spread and to produce a lot of seeds. So, if you live in any of the regions mentioned above, be cautious about growing Oleanders.
Oleander Features: An Overview
- The Oleander is an evergreen, perennial shrub or small tree. Depending on the variety, the plant can reach from 7 to 20 feet (2-6 m) in height and up to 15 feet (4.5 m) in width.
- Its foliage consists of thick, leathery, with venations, narrow, lanceolate, dark-green leaves that grow in pairs or whorls of three on erect, wood-ish, and greyish stems. The leaves usually measure from 2 to 8.3 inches (5-21 cm) in length and 0.4 to 1.4 inches (1-3.5 cm) in diameter.
- In general, Oleander blooms from spring to summer. However, in warmer climates, the plant can also produce flowers in early autumn or even all year round.
- The flowers show up in clusters at the end of the branches. They grow as wide as 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 cm) and have a deeply five-lobed fringed corolla. They can exhibit many shades of white, pink, yellow, red, peach, salmon, or burgundy.
- After its flowering period, Oleander replaces its blossoms with fruits. The fruits are long, narrow pairs of follicles that measure up to 9 inches (23 cm) in length. At maturity, the fruits split open to release numerous downy seeds.
Like most shrubs and small trees, the oleander can tolerate a wide range of lighting conditions. This superb plant typically grows at its best in full sunlight. Still, it will also do just fine in partially shaded locations although its foliage will not be as dense. The best thing about Oleander is that it can grow nicely in almost anything you give it.
In terms of temperatures, the oleander will do well in both light frost and heat. The plant is winter-hardy in the USDA regions 8 to 10, withstanding temperatures that drop as low as 20 °F (-6.7 °C). If the winter temperatures are colder than this, we recommend you keep your Oleander in a container and bring it inside in the fall.
Overwintering strategies are mandatory for thriving oleander, especially if you live in a colder zone. First things first, before winter shows its cold breath, make sure you cut your Oleander back by about 2/3 of it. In case your plant is in the ground, try to dig around its roots carefully without damaging them. Plant your bush in a pot filled with good-quality potting soil and place it in a sheltered spot where it can still receive lots of full sunlight. This place could be a garage, porch, or south or east-facing window.
If you want to give your Oleander the time of its life, plant it in soil that features very sharp drainage. Luckily, this is the only demand this bush has because it can usually adapt to various types of soil including different soil pH levels (from 5.0 through 8.3), sandy soil, or poor soil. In case your soil is too acidic, you can mix in some oyster shells, wood ash, or limestone to balance it.
When it comes to fertilizing, Oleander needs it only if it grows in very poor soil. In this situation, feed your plant with a light dose of a balanced fertilizer. Make sure you do this once every year in spring until the plant has settled in its new home. Established specimens will not require fertilizers to grow healthy and happy.
The perfect time to pamper your Oleander with a pruning routine is generally in late winter right before new growth occurs. We suggest you remove all the damaged limbs and leaves to make room for new ones to show up. You can also pinch the tips of young stems to encourage branching and a dense overall appearance. This process will even prevent your Oleander to become leggy with time, so do not forget about it and don’t forget to wear protective gloves.
- USDA HARDINESS ZONE:8-10
- GROW:When planting oleander seeds, fill small pots or a seed tray with peat. Moisten the top couple inches (5 cm.) of the peat, then press the seeds into the top of it and place them in a warm place (around 68 F. or 20 C.) under grow lights.They often take one month to germinate,but may take as long as three months.
- EXTERIOR:Flowers continuously though the year; flowers many, borne in dense terminal clusters. Corolla of fused petals, funnel-shaped,five-lobed, or double-flowered, with a ring of filamentous appendages in the centre
- USE:Despite the danger, oleander seeds and leaves are used to make medicine. Oleander is used for heart conditions, asthma, epilepsy, cancer and so on.
- ATTENTION:Even touching the plant results in skin irritation or possibly dermatitis in those who are sensitive. "Nerium oleander is one of the most poisonous plants known, with all parts of the plant being toxic.
Last update on 2023-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Watering-wise, Oleander is not as picky as most beginner gardeners might think. This bushy friend will perform well if you water it whenever the top inch (2.5 cm) of its growing medium feels dry to the touch. You can check the soil’s moisture by using a moisture meter or, more budget-friendly, with your own finger. If you want to grow this plant in a pot, choose one that is larger and has drainage holes to give it enough room to enjoy its occasional baths.
Oleanders are perfectly adapted to grow in tropical and subtropical regions, so they can tolerate drought for short periods. There is no need to panic if you forget about it once in a while. Although the plant seems a bit delicate, it is actually very strong and will not hesitate to forgive your occasional neglect. If you haven’t watered your oleanders in a while, they’ll be grateful if you give them a generous watering.
With its generous colour palette, Oleander is surely a gorgeous touch in every garden or home out there. If you want more of this stunning bush in your home or in your garden, or maybe your friends or family members have fallen in love with it and want some for them, no problem! Propagating yours is the most time-efficient and cost-effective method to obtain more Oleander plants. Moreover, it does not require an experienced grower to show nice results.
You can propagate your Oleander at home through stem cuttings. In general, the best cuttings you can take are those from young, softwood stems. Still, you can also use semi-hardwood cuttings, but they will take longer to form roots. Either way, look for the best stems you can get and cut about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) off them with a sharp, sterilized knife.
Before getting into the real action, make sure you remove all the leaves from each cutting except for the ones that are on the upper half of the stems. After this step, dig the cut ends of your cuttings in rooting hormone to boost up your chances of success. Plant the cuttings in a bed or large container filled with fresh, moistened potting soil.
Place the container in a warm, well-lit area, and provide the cuttings with water whenever the soil seems dried out. With proper care, the Oleander cuttings will develop some tiny roots in a month or so. Once you notice a strong root system on the cuttings, you can transplant them outdoors, but only if it is warm outside.
Oleander Pests and Diseases
Since oleander leaves contain latex, this plant makes for a good insecticide. Due to this, the plant does not encounter serious issues regarding pests or diseases. However, you will still have to pay a little extra attention to your plant for different infestations such as aphids, false oleander scale, soft scales, mealybugs, oleander caterpillars. Common plant diseases that can affect oleander plants include bacterial blight, leaf spots, oleander knot, oleander leaf scorch, crown gall, sooty mould, and wood decay.
If you notice any suspect presence on your Oleander, remove the intruders right away to prevent any future spread. If you are dealing with plant disease, remove the affected parts. To prevent an infestation from transferring to your other plants, quarantine the affected plant until you manage to get rid of the problem.
Strong, low-maintenance, and one-of-a-kind beauty – these are the words that describe Oleander at its very best. The independent nature of this plant makes it truly irresistible and a must-have in every plant collection. And the best part is that this rich shrub produces fragrant and abundant blooms that you can enjoy all summer.
It is important to remember that oleanders are not just beautiful, but also quite toxic, so handle them with care and don’t let your kids and pets get close to them. In addition to this, you should always wear protective gloves when handling oleanders to avoid irritations.
If you already have at least one Oleander in your garden, you know exactly what we are talking about!