Oleander Plant Care | 11 Things to Know

By Mira Sidak | Updated on Apr 18, 2023

Oleander Plant Care | 11 Things to Know

Nerium oleander, sometimes known as oleander, is a big, single- or multi-trunked tree that naturally develops as a mounded, rounded shrub. Oleander can grow up to 6-20 feet tall and wide. When planted in groups or borders, the oleander plant's dense, leathery, dark green foliage serves as a privacy screen. Pink blooms are typically delicately formed, showy, and fragrant, while some kinds also produce red, orange, yellow, or white flowers. The 1- to 3-inch flowers have a particularly long blooming season and are visible from spring to summer, as well as occasionally in early fall and all year round in warmer locations.

Oleander leaves have flowers on the stalks that bloom all summer long. They have a fragrant aroma that is detectable at a distance. White, pink, salmon and dark red are among the available hues. There are sometimes available types with flowers that are yellow.

Although all portions of the oleander plant have a bitter taste, making it difficult to consume large amounts, the plant is well known for being harmful to humans and animals. When planting, keep this in mind. When working with sap, wear protective clothing because it might irritate the skin.

How to Grow & Care for Oleander

Oleander can benefit from pruning, care, and watering to promote flowering, growth, and disease prevention. Be aware, though, that this beauty has a cost. Even adults can die from eating one leaf because the plant is so deadly overall. It is additionally regarded as invasive in some regions.

Oleander is a common landscape plant in warm regions because of its easy-going nature and lovely, practically year-round star-shaped flowers. This evergreen shrub is frequently seen in public landscapes and in highway medians in states like California, Florida, and Texas due to its beauty and hardiness.

1. Oleander doesn’t like too much water

Although it does not prefer a wet atmosphere, the oleander is not waterlogged-resistant, and too much water can quickly lead to root rot. Your oleander's leaves may turn yellow and slowly start to fall off if you wind up watering it excessively, which will affect flowering.

The time of year should dictate how often you should water. It should be irrigated anytime the soil dries up in the spring and fall, though it is better to maintain the soil continuously moist.

The oleander grows rapidly throughout the summer, which is also when the plant blooms. During this time, temperatures are high and the plant needs more water. Oleander should be watered whenever the soil dries out.

2. Oleander likes bright and shaded Sunlight

Oleander prefers a sunny area, though it may survive under some shade. A bright or somewhat shaded area should be chosen for outdoor planting. Indoor potted plants ought to be positioned in a shaded area. In order to prevent the sunshine from scorching the leaves when the plant is moved outside or to a new location with greater sunlight, it must gradually adjust to the increase in light.

3. High Temperature is Ideal

Oleander is able to thrive in warm, muggy, subtropical climates. Seasons with high temperatures are optimal for blooming. The oleander has good tolerance to drought but is not flood-resistant. This plant has weak hardiness; for a smooth overwinter, keep the temperature between 8 and 10 °C. Oleander can tolerate temperatures as low as -10 °C after that the plant loses its leaves.

4. Good Soil is Vital to Growing Oleander

Oleanders are very resilient and quickly acclimate to different conditions. While it can manage in average soil, sandy loam that is enriched, light, and adequately aerated leads to remarkable growth. Additionally, planting oleanders in slightly acidic or neutral soil is desirable. With the addition of an essential fertilizer to give it additional nourishment, a blend of garden soil and decomposed leaves works well.

5. Pruning

The plant should be pinched every time it finishes flowering to encourage further blooming. It would help if you did this by cutting off the branches' tips from the current year. The plant can bloom up to three or four times per year.

Oleanders can be made to look big and fat. The tips of the thick lateral buds of leaves at 20 to 30 cm of the plant should be severed after the new trunk is around 40 cm tall. The height and style of pruning should be determined by developing new branches after the fall or early spring. Your plant will appear shorter, firmer, and plumper, with an improved decorative effect after being shaped and pruned multiple times.

6. Fertilize Oleander for Good Growth

Throughout its growth period, the oleander requires a lot of fertilizer. Therefore it should be fertilized every 4-6 weeks with a balanced fertilizer. To avoid spindling, the fertilizer should be balanced but not include an excessive amount of nitrogen. Malnutrition and fewer flowers can result from inadequate fertilizer applied to bare soil.

The oleander should be fertilized once every two weeks when it grows the fastest in the spring and when it is blooming in the summer. Natural fertilizer can promote both growth and winter hardiness.

During the plant's vegetative growth phase in the early summer, nitrogen fertilizer should be utilized. Potassium and phosphate fertilizers should then be used during the propagation phase in the summer and fall. Manure with an approximate 20% organic fertilizer content can be put into the soil.

7. Propagation

Oleander mound layering is typically done during the rainy season, which is suitable for rooting. For propagation choose a branch close to the ground, make a knife cut in it, press it into the floor, and fix it. The rooted branches can be removed from the original plant and then transferred when it takes root in around 60 days.

Hard-branch cutting and tender-branch cutting are the two categories of oleander cutting. Early in the spring, hard-branch cutting is done alongside seedling pruning. Soak a branch 15 to 20 cm long in clear water. When the branch has turned white, and the top is sticky, change the water often and remove it. Put it into some dirt. Or, you might immerse the branch in water for 30–40 days, then place it in a sand bed with shade to improve its survival chances.

The cutting could be placed in a 0.1% potassium permanganate solution or treated for 24 hours with 0.001%–0.002% indoleacetic acid before being placed in a sand bed. The specific rooting period is 20 days. Tender-branch cutting should be done in the late spring or early summer.

8. Spring Season is best for Repotting Oleander

Oleander repotting is most effective in the spring. Give the plant a little larger container. If repotting is challenging because the pot size has been achieved, scrape the top 5 cm of the rootball's surface. Apply new compost that is fresh to the surface.

9. Pests & Diseases

Oleander leaves contain latex, and plant extracts can create an effective pesticide. Because of this, plants are resistant to deer and rarely experience severe problems from diseases or pests. They have a high verticillium wilt resistance. But watch out for scale, mealybugs, and aphids.

Oleander caterpillars are the pests that cause the most harm. Adult caterpillars can climb the walls of nearby structures and lay their eggs close to the eaves. Remove cocoons to control the next generation, which could consume the entire plant's foliage in a week or two.

10. Toxicity For Children & Pets

Although Nerium oleander is innocent, it is highly toxic and can cause severe health complications if even the tiniest amount is ingested.

Why this Plant is Toxic: Due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals.

Effect on Children & Pets: In humans, it causes arrhythmia, tremors, and dizziness, in pets - cold extremities, and vomiting.

11. Overwintering

Make a good two-thirds cut to the bush before the winter weather arrives. If the plant is already rooted in the ground, carefully dig around the roots to remove it. Use quality potting soil for potting the plant. Oleander in pots can be maintained by bringing the pots inside. Put the pots in a protected location that gets full daylight, like a porch or a garage with a window. Please keep it away from pets and children.

Oleander shrubs are among the most well-liked garden plants among both horticulturists and landscapers. This is due to the fact that they have unique shapes, are lovely, and can adapt to almost any growing environment.

These plants are ideal for planting on busy streets or other areas that can experience urban pollution. They can withstand sea spray, dryness, high heat, and flooding.

Oleander plants are particularly fantastic for home gardens because of their stunning, vividly colored flower clusters and alluring scent!