The oleander plant is of Mediterranean origin, and is often called a "tree" and a "shrub" interchangeably depending on how it is used in a garden or landscape setting. The oleander plant, or Nerium oleander, is a perennial that is readily available in nurseries and garden centers around the United States and is a common choice for landscape projects. The oleander plant is easy to grow and care for and provides a pleasing visual appearance, with attractive deep green leaves, small flat flowers in shades of white, pink, red, yellow, salmon, coral, or other variations thereof, and small brown fruit and seed formations in the fall that attract plenty of aerial visitors. The oleander will not lose all of its foliage in winter so it is a great choice for year-round visual interest. Learn more about caring for the oleander plant and decide if this hardy, easygoing shrub is the right choice for your home garden or landscape setting.
Preparing to Plant Oleander?
The oleander does not have a long life span as far as trees are concerned, but can last at least a few decades with minimal care. The average height of an oleander at maturity is 12 feet high, but it can be pruned for lower heights as well. The most important concern you must address when installing an oleander plant is to provide adequate sunshine. Without adequate sunshine of at least four hours of sunlight per day, the oleander will not bloom, fruit, or thrive. Additionally, be sure to plant oleander in a protected environment in terms of winter weather. Oleander plants will fare well in frost, so if you live in a cold climate it is best to plant oleander in a pot and bring it indoors for winter.
Planting and Caring for Oleander?
Oleanders can be planted outside in free soil or containers, and can also thrive indoors as long as sufficient sun or adequate artificial lighting substitute is available. Soil should be a mixture of potting soil and organic material including perlite, and sand to enhance drainage. Oleander plants do enjoy frequent fertilization, and this can be provided as needed or as directed on the fertilizer package. Watering should be done weekly or as needed as oleander plants grow fast and will thrive with moist soil. If you are growing your oleander in a pot you can repot the plant in the springtime before flowering season begins. You can tell when it is time to repot your oleander if the roots begin to extend through the pot's drainage holes.
Oleander plants do tend to get infected with aphids and scale, and if this happens, which is likely if your oleander plant remains outside for long periods of time, commercially available pesticide sprays and soaps are the best form of treatment. Diseased limbs should be pruned away, and treatment should continue until the problem ceases, and then as a preventative measure. Also take care not to plant oleander in areas where pets or children may be tempted to ingest any portion of the plant, as it is highly poisonous.