Oleander (Nerium Oleander)
The oleander, or Nerium Oleander, is a plant from the periwinkle family and is one of the easiest and most popular plants around. The oleander has tough, elongated grey-green leaves and beautiful five-lobed flowers on long stalks. The plant has many branches and is very bushy and when planted in a pot or tub can usually grow to around 2 m high. Fun facts: The word ‘oleander’ is a contraction of the word ‘olea’ which means ‘olive’ and ‘andreios’ which means ‘masculine’ and ‘strong’.
The oleander can be planted in the ground in warm regions. However, it is generally recommended to plant it in a pot, tub, or container as it can be sensitive to frost. It flowers for a long time, from the start of summer until late in the autumn. The flowers come in several vibrant colours, such as pink, pinkish red, red, white, and yellow. The flowers can be single or double. Be extra careful with children and pets as all parts of the oleander are toxic. Eating the seeds or flowers can be fatal for a small child or animal. And the sap of the plant can cause skin irritation. It is advisable to wear good-quality gardening gloves when pruning the plant. And after using your gardening tools for pruning, wash them thoroughly with soap and water.
Where does the Nerium Oleander originate from?
The oleander originally comes from the countries around the Mediterranean Sea and loves hot, sunny climates. The plants often grow in places where water is or was in the vicinity. If possible, it would prefer to be placed near a pond or water feature in your garden in summer. It loves very humid conditions as you can tell from the way the oleander reacts. When it feels happy, beautiful dark green leaves grow on the plant. Otherwise, the leaves would be light green or yellow which looks far less attractive.
Why choose an oleander?
- The Nerium Oleander is stunning to look at and is therefore a real eye-catcher in your garden.
- It blooms prolifically for a long time. There appears to be no end to the beautiful flowers that it produces.
- The Nerium Oleander adds an exotic ambiance to your garden and reminds you of unforgettable holidays in warmer climes.
- The plant requires very little maintenance.
- You do not really need to prune it, which is ideal.
When is the best time to plant the Nerium Oleander?
You can plant the Nerium Oleander at any time you like. This is because the oleander is not winter hardy and will need to be placed in a sheltered spot in winter anyway. It does not matter therefore when you plant it in a pot, tub, or container.
How should I plant an oleander?
In a pot, tub, or container
- Find a lovely spot for your Nerium Oleander in your garden, or on your patio or balcony.
- Choose a large pot, tub, or container so that the plant and its roots have enough space to grow. You could place bubble wrap around the inside for insulation. And make a few holes in the bottom of the pot or container.
- Place a layer of hydrograins in the ornamental pot. Then fill up with special Mediterranean potting compost.
- Remove the oleander from the plastic pot and submerge the root ball in water and then place it in the soil.
- Make sure that the top of the root ball is level with the ground.
- Fill up with Mediterranean potting soil and pack down the soil firmly.
- Give the oleander plenty of water for the initial period, especially if there is not much rainfall. This will ensure that the roots take hold in the soil. Make sure that the excess water can drain away by making holes in the bottom of the pot, tub, or container.
When there is frost outside, place the pot, tub, or container in a light, sheltered spot. This spot should also be slightly heated but it should not be too warm. No more than around 10 degrees Celsius.
When moving the oleander or Nerium Oleander, take into account any changes in temperature. Let the plant get used to the new temperature if you’re moving it from a colder to a warmer place. And also when moving it from a warm, sheltered place to outdoors.
- The oleander likes to stand in the full sun. When the temperature is comfortable for the plant, you will be rewarded with a profusion of flowers.
- If you let it spend the winter in a sheltered place, place the plant next to a window in direct sunlight as this is what it likes.
- You can move the plant outside again from April or May but watch out for late night frosts which it detests.
Advice & Care
If the weather is very warm in summer or there is hardly any rain, give the plant plenty of water. In warm weather, large oleanders can go through around ten litres of water a day. The best times to water the oleander is in the morning and in the evening. Do not use icy cold water but lukewarm water instead. Make sure that the excess water can drain away. Make holes in the bottom of the pot, tub, or container.
On wet rainy days, the oleander evaporates less water than on warm days. But even then we recommend making sure that any excess water can drain away. If the roots are constantly wet, there is a good chance that they will start rotting or that the leaves will fall out.
The Nerium Oleander does not need much water in the winter. But do make sure that the root ball does not dry out completely.
It is not really necessary to prune the plant. If you want to, you can thin out the plant a bit in spring. You could also prune back the branches before moving the plant to a sheltered spot for winter.
Oleander plants do not need large quantities of extra plant food. It certainly does not need any fertilizer in the winter.
Common problems with the Nerium Oleander
Spider mites and other pests
The Nerium Oleander may sometimes suffer from aphids, scale insects, and red spider mites. If this happens, there is something you can do about it. Buy an eco-friendly pesticide to combat the spider mites and other pests effectively.
The plant can be affected by the Ascochyta fungus in wet summers. How can you tell? Brown marks will start to appear in the leaf axils and in the leaves. And you’ll be alarmed to see the young shoots start to wilt. It is useful to know that the fungus spreads via drops of water. Immediately move the oleander to a dry place out of the rain. Remove all affected parts of the plant. Then disinfect your pruning tools thoroughly afterwards. The fungus should not return again.
Your oleander could be affected by an even worse disease called oleander knot. This causes dark brown wart-like growths on the stalks. Sometimes, light watery marks may also appear on the leaves. This is caused by the Pseudomonas bacteria. This bacteria is often present from the plant’s time in the nursery and attacks when the plant is not in optimum condition. Again, you can remove the affected parts if this happens. Don’t forget to thoroughly disinfect your gardening tools afterwards. Unfortunately, oleander knot does not disappear but remains dormant. The bacteria can strike again if the plant’s health deteriorates. Of course, we will do our utmost to ensure that your oleander is delivered to your home disease-free.
Advantages and disadvantages of the oleander
- The plant can be planted in any type of soil. It prefers to stand in Mediterranean potting soil.
- The Nerium Oleander is easy to care for and requires little maintenance.
- You do not necessarily have to prune the plant.
- It has a very long flowering period, which lasts from the start of summer until late in the autumn.
- The plant is not very tolerant of frost. Young oleanders cannot tolerate it at all. Older and stronger plants can, however, tolerate a few degrees of frost.
- The Nerium Oleander does not like standing in soil that is too wet. Give it enough water but not too much.
- The plant originates from warm regions, so the tub or container needs to be placed in a warm, sheltered spot in winter. You will need to move the plant twice a year.
- The Nerium Oleander can be affected by aphids, scale insects, or red spider mites.
- The plant can also be affected by a fungus or by oleander knot.
The oleander or Nerium Oleander is a real asset for your garden. Just imagine how stunning it would look, with its grey-green leaves and brightly coloured flowers! If this beautiful exotic plant is exactly what you’re looking for, order this fantastic oleander today. You won’t regret it! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask us. We can speak to you in your own language.