The Q&A Archives: Wilting Oleanders

Question: I recently planted an oleander hedge. The plants along the side of the yard look great, but the ones near the road seem to be wilting a bit. I planted all of them at the same time and give them the same amounts of water, but am wondering if I should try extra water for the droopy looking ones. How will I know if I am overwatering them? We are in the middle of some serious heat and a drought here; and being near the road is probably making things even hotter for the poor fellows.

Answer: I agree with you, the affected shrubs may be getting some reflected heat from the roadway, in addition to extra heat radiated at night from the blacktop surface. They will probably adjust to their situation, but being recently planted puts them at a disadvantage. The plants are trying to become established which is stressful in itself. Couple that with summer weather and reflected heat and it's no wonder they're wilting! Supply regular water (once or twice per week, depending upon weather), making sure to drench the soil, providing moisture to the entire root mass. Don't fertilize until next spring. By then your oleanders should establish themselves and will require less water during the growing season.

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