The Q&A Archives: Oleander

Question: I want to plant small oleander bushes in my front and back yard. I have heard these are very poisonous to animals if eaten. Is this preventable? Are they pretty hardy plants to care for and how much water do they consume?

Answer: Oleanders are especially well suited to your area and are reasonably drought-tolerant once they're established. If you plant oleanders be sure to supply one inch of water per week per plant for the first year. After that, they'll be fine on their own. The leaves and berries of oleanders are toxic if eaten. This is rarely a problem with domestic animals, but could pose a potential hazard for grazing animals like sheep, goats, cows and horses. Children might find the berries attractive as well, so be careful if you have youngsters. Touching the leaves can cause a rash in some sensitive individuals, so you might want to make sure you're not affected - pruning the plants may be a painful experience if you are sensitive to the chemicals in the leaves. Other than the above cautions, oleanders are attractive landscape plants.

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