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Expert Advice On How To Grow Oleanders

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Learn how to grow Oleanders indoors or out, depending on your climate.

Oleanders, a member of the Apocynaceae family, are one of the prettier tropical evergreen shrubs that can easily be grown indoors in containers.

In its natural habitat it can reach up to twenty feet in height, but most Oleanders are kept trimmed to a height of between six to ten foot tall.

Oleanders come in both single and double flowered forms and host a wide array of flower colors.

Everything from white, to red, to pink, salmon and even light yellow flowers can be found on these shrubs.

For those of you who cannot or do not wish to grow the large varieties of this beauty, there is also a dwarf variety out called ‘Petite Salmon’ that only reaches four foot in height.

Pruning Oleanders

Pruning is a necessity with Oleanders.

They have a tendency to become quite leggy over time if they are not kept in check.

Oleanders Preferred Growing Conditions

Although they prefer to be grown in bright sunlight, they will grow OK with a bit of shade.

Oleanders are native to the eastern Mediterranean, so naturally they prefer warm, dry conditions with humidity.

Oleanders prefer to be grown in USDA zones eight through ten, but they can survive small amounts of frost, and temperatures down to fifteen degrees Fahrenheit.

They make good houseplants as long as you can keep them out of reach of children and pets.


Oleander Propagation

Oleanders can be propagated fairly easily from seed with a bit of patience.

The easiest method of propagation however is to take cuttings and root them.

I prefer to root plants in a peat moss, vermiculite and perlite mix that is made up of equal parts of each item.

However you can root Oleander in water as long as you use a rooting hormone to help the plant develop roots.

Oleander Pests And Diseases

As toxic as Oleanders are, they are susceptible to aphids, scale and some types of caterpillars.

The following can strip a plant of its leaves in a few days.

Other known problems with disease on Oleanders include leaf scorch which is a lethal disease for the plant.

I chose to grow Oleanders for the first time last year.

Of course, mine are kept potted.

I did get two of the seeds I planted this year to germinate.

The Oleanders I got last year were cuttings.

Oleander Toxicity And Other Potential Health Issues 

Extremely toxic plants, Oleanders contain both the toxin oleandrin and also nerioside.

These toxins are quite similar to those found in Digitalis (foxglove).

Be aware that hungry animals will eat Oleanders, and that lethal doses of about 1/4 pound (thirty to forty leaves) can kill an adult horse.

Clinical symptoms develop rapidly and may include death without warning.

Other symptoms may be depression with gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

The toxins in Oleanders may also cause irregular heart rates and rhythms.

The beauty of this plant is well worth growing it, but all precautions should be taken to guard against indigestion.

The plant has also been known to cause skin irritations, and should you ever burn the plant, do not inhale the smoke.

If you can keep this plant out of the reach of children and animals, it is definitely worth growing.

If there is any chance of anyone digesting any part of the plant, forget it.

I cannot stress enough how toxic all parts of this plant is, and there seems to be little chance for survival of the victim once any part of this plant is digested.

However, should an accident happen, do not wait to get medical treatment.

Remember to always take precautions with your plants and keep them out of reach of children and pets!

Flowering Tropical Plants



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