Nerium oleander Care & Pruning

Nerium oleander care is easy to master. Oleander plants are tough and will grow and bloom without much assistance. The pruning can be a bit more involved depending on what form you're trying to achieve. How to train oleander standards.

Oleander bush in a square tub,a double-flowered pink variety.

Oleander can be left to grow naturally as it often is when used as a highway border in Florida. Just a little training, will give you a beautiful single or multi-trunked oleander tree.

Most selections will quickly grow 10-15 feet tall and wide. The narrow, pointed evergreen leaves are an attractive foil for the 2 inch flowers that cluster at the branch tips.

Oleander Care

Oleander plants in bloom.

Plant your oleander bush on any soil in full sun to part shade. It is salt tolerant and can be planted right on the beach. Siting it in full sun will result in a better flower show.

Water the plant regularly its first season in the ground. Once it becomes established it won't need supplemental water but irrigation won't hurt it any.

Tiny and I used to live in an apartment complex that had a huge, white-flowered oleander bush out front. This place had no sprinkler system and the plants lived on natural rainfall. That plant bloomed prolifically all summer long. I learned at lot about which plants could be counted on to perform under adverse conditions while living there.

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Oleander Pruning

Oleander pruning should be carried out in early spring.

If you want a naturalistic shrub: cut a few of the oldest stems nearly to the ground. This will make room for new stems which will bloom more abundantly. To restrict the plant's height, cut the remaining stems back to the desired height.

If you want the plant to be bushy all the way to the ground, leave the suckers that sprout at the base alone. If you want to be able to see through the bottom of the bush, remove them by pulling--not cutting--them out.

To make a multi-stemmed oleander tree: Remove all expect a few strong main stems. Remove the foliage from the bottom two thirds of the stems you've kept. Now, you can tie the stems together with jute just beneath the "head" of the tree and let the tops of the stems fan out into an umbrella shape above the "trunk". Or, you can leave the stems loose. In either case, pinch the tips of the stems back to make the top of your tree bushy.

Oleander tree in a park in Ormond, Fl.

To make a tree with a single trunk: Keep the strongest, straightest main stem and remove the rest. The tree will need to be staked when young to keep the trunk straight. Regular tip pinching will pay off by giving the tree a full top that will produce tons of flowers .

*Keep all oleander trimmings away from children and pets as they are poisonous.

Other Pretty Poisons:

Oleander Poisoning Information

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