Peter Gallagher is professor of plant and environmental science, teaching for over 35 years. He has a Ph.D. in landscape horticulture.
 

 
 

Oleander (Nerium oleander)
by Peter Gallagher - posted 11/02/15

Oleander (Nerium oleander)
 - Video Transcript, Voiceover by Peter Gallagher, Ph.D.

Oleander, also known as Nerium oleander, is a summer-flowering evergreen shrub, native to Asia and the Mediterranean region. It is hardy to about 15° F. This is an excellent plant for tough sites, tolerant of heat, drought and air pollution, drying winds, salt spray and sandy, dry soils. It can be found growing very well in bright exposed sites with no irrigation and minimal maintenance.

Oleander makes a wonderful screening or enclosure plant in sunny areas. It can also form a fine backdrop or integral component of a mixed border. With some 400 varieties available, there is a wide choice of flower, color and size. All parts of this plant are toxic when ingested; therefore it should not be planted near children’s play areas or pet yards.

Place in a protected setting (moist rooting medium, moderate shade, and high humidity) until rooted in a 3-4 week time period.

Oleander reaches a height of 6 to 12 feet with a similar spread. Renewal pruning [removal of the oldest, heaviest canes close to ground level] is a great way to maintain a vigorous and healthy plant.

This could be done at most any time, but generally late winter is a good time to perform such maintenance. Look for plants with multiple stems and even branching. A deep green foliage color is indicative of a healthy plant which will more readily adapt to your new site.

Additional Notes:

Oleander could also be used as a houseplant or containerized summer tropical in cooler climates ... to be moved indoors in winter. Many of the dwarf cultivars seem to be a bit more sensitive to the colder climate winters, so you may want to stick with the full-size cultivars or consider planting in a somewhat protected site, such as near a building, in a courtyard, or in a container that could be moved in on very cold nights.
 
Plants are fairly easily rooted from cuttings taken in summer or fall.Treatment with a rooting hormone will help with achieving uniform and rapid rooting.

This is a fine plant, but you should use some discretion in selecting an appropriate site.

 

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