The Q&A Archives: Oleander Toxicity

Question: I have heard that oleander is very toxic. Just how toxic? Can I put prunings in the compost pile? How far away should I keep my vegetable beds from the oleander?

Answer: Oleander (Nerium oleander) is listed in the American Medical Association's book of poisonous plants. According to the book, any part, green or dried, is toxic if eaten by humans or livestock. Even brushing against the leaves can cause rashes in some sensitive individuals. Also, if burned, the resulting smoke is irritating to certain sensitive people. With that said, it would be perfectly safe to compost the prunings from your oleander bushes. The plant is toxic only if eaten, so planting your veggie garden in close proximity to oleanders shouldn't affect your vegetables in any way.

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