Lazy Oleander? - Knowledgebase Question

tucson, Ar
Avatar for earthlingltd
Question by earthlingltd
July 15, 2010
Large Oleander, one of 5 all the same age (15+ years)is not filling in. It is producing small 3 to 5 inch leaves on the branch ends and red flowers all of which are healthy looking. The 2 plants next to it had oleander gall last Fall which I treated by trimming/bleaching,are recovering nicely.Others are lush and full, this one is doing better nearer the ground. Why is it 'leggy' & how to treat?

Answer from NGA
July 15, 2010
Pruning usually makes an oleander fill out but if the stems were bare for a couple of years, the latent buds along the stems may not be able to sprout because the bark is too thick. Since there's new growth near the bottom of the plant, it is trying to renew itself and that's a good sign. It may be that you'll need to wait until the bottom growth gets thick and several feet tall and then cut off the old top entirely. This will make it shorter than its neighbors but it will eventually grow tall enough to fill in the void. Oleanders respond best to annual trimming and pruning. I routinely reach into the plants and remove some of the oldest stems then give the plant an overall trimming. This forces new growth in the center and also on all the branch tips. This type of pruning renews the plant and keeps it neat, tidy, and full of healthy new stems and leaves. Best wishes with your oleander.

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