Rooting Oleanders - Knowledgebase Question

Purvis, MS
Question by MS2ZWIGSIN
November 12, 2000
IS IT POSSIBLE TO ROOT CUTTINGS FROM OLEANDER PLANTS? IF SO, WOULD YOU PLEASE GET ME STARTED? THEY GROW REALLY WELL HERE IN OUR STATE BUT ARE EXPENSIVE AT THE NURSERY. I HAVE THE WHITE AND THE PINK VARIETIES. WHAT IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO DO THIS? THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP.


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Answer from NGA
November 12, 2000

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Yes, oleander can be started from greenwood or semi-ripe cuttings. Note that all parts of the plant are poisonous. The sap can cause irritation and even inhaling a bit of "dust" can cause an adverse reaction in people who are sensitive to it. So I'd recommend gloves and even a face mask (you can buy disposable ones cheaply at hardware stores and paint stores). Also, once oleander is established it is extremely difficult to get rid of, so be sure you want it wherever you place it!

Start cuttings in pots and place in a humid environment. Bottom heat between 54-68 degrees can speed the process, which takes about 3-6 weeks. It takes two years for a cutting to produce flowers. You can also sow seeds. Collect them in the fall and sow in the spring at 61 degrees.

Softwood cuttings are of new growth in late spring that is not yet firm. They should be about two inches long, with two-three pairs of leaves at the top of the stem. Insert the cuttings into the planting medium, just up to the lowest leaves. Rooting hormone may be used, but is not essential. If possible, place the cuttings in a covered environment (a mini greenhouse) and provide bottom heat.

Semi-ripe cuttings are taken in mid- to late-summer from the current season's growth that has begun to firm. The cutting's base should be quite hard, while the tip should be growing and still soft. Use 2 1/2 - 4 inches, and remove side shoots. Make a shallow wound on the stem by cutting away a thin piece of bark (1/2 inch long). This stimulates rooting. Insert in a soilless potting mix. Provide a humid environment.

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