The Q&A Archives: Care & Feeding Of Oleander

Question: I would like to know how to care for my oleanders. I have a pink one and a white one. I live at 4000 ft. desert area. How to feed, overwinter, and prune? Or any other info you may have on them.

Answer: Please note that all parts of oleander are poisonous. Wear protective clothing, gloves and eyeglasses when pruning. Don't burn the the pruned wood, as it can inflame skin and even lungs if inhaled. I don't recommend using it in the compost pile either, as some people are extremely sensitive to it. Definately keep children and pets away from it.

Oleander are tough plants once established. As a matter of fact, you'll have a hard time ever getting rid of them! They aren't fussy about soil, and don't need much water or fertilizer. However, they do prefer warm temperatures and mild winters. They are frost tender at about 15 degrees F.

Fertilize in early spring just as new growth starts. Pruning is generally done in the spring. Cut back any dead wood to the base. How to prune is up to you. Some people use oleander as privacy shrubs/hedges as they can get 15-20 feet tall and full. If you prefer a more "clipped" look, oleander tolerates that as well. The less pruning and clipping that you do, the more the shrub will flower. I hope this info helps.

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