Oleander
Nerium oleander

Family: Apocynaceae (a-pos-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Nerium (NER-ee-um) (Info)
Species: oleander (oh-lee-AN-der) (Info)
View this plant in a garden

Category:

Shrubs

Height:

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Spacing:

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Danger:

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Pink

Red

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Blooms repeatedly

Foliage:

Evergreen

Other details:

Flowers are fragrant

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

By air layering

By tip layering

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)

Anniston, Alabama

Dothan, Alabama

Fairhope, Alabama

Midland City, Alabama

Cottonwood, Arizona

Goodyear, Arizona

Peoria, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)

Queen Creek, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

Lonoke, Arkansas

Canoga Park, California

Chowchilla, California

Clovis, California

Elk Grove, California

Fullerton, California

Lincoln, California

Martinez, California

Merced, California

Montrose, California

Oak View, California

Palm Springs, California

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Rocklin, California

Sacramento, California

San Diego, California

San Pedro, California

Spring Valley, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida (2 reports)

Boca Raton, Florida

Bradenton Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)

Kissimmee, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Merritt Island, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Niceville, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Palm Harbor, Florida

Pensacola, Florida (3 reports)

Sarasota, Florida

Sebastian, Florida

Sebring, Florida

Valrico, Florida

Venice, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

Alpharetta, Georgia

Clarkston, Georgia

Patterson, Georgia

Statesboro, Georgia

Willacoochee, Georgia

Hilo, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

Gonzales, Louisiana

Longstreet, Louisiana

Metairie, Louisiana

New Iberia, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Easton, Maryland

Long Beach, Mississippi

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Petal, Mississippi

Las Vegas, Nevada

North Las Vegas, Nevada

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

Durham, North Carolina

Greenville, North Carolina

Manteo, North Carolina

New Bern, North Carolina

Wilmington, North Carolina

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Beaufort, South Carolina (2 reports)

Conway, South Carolina

Hardeeville, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Islandton, South Carolina

Johns Island, South Carolina

Lexington, South Carolina

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2 reports)

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (2 reports)

Pelion, South Carolina

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Abilene, Texas

Alice, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Brazoria, Texas (2 reports)

Broaddus, Texas

Brownsville, Texas

Clute, Texas

Dallas, Texas (2 reports)

Deer Park, Texas

El Paso, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)

Galveston, Texas

Garland, Texas

Hurst, Texas

Jacksonville, Texas

Kerrville, Texas

Lubbock, Texas

Mullin, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas

Pearland, Texas

Pflugerville, Texas

Plano, Texas

Rowlett, Texas

San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)

San Augustine, Texas

Tyler, Texas

Wichita Falls, Texas

Saint George, Utah

Chesapeake, Virginia

Bremerton, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

17
positives
16
neutrals
9
negatives
RatingContent
Neutral

On Mar 4, 2011, tankX from Palm Springs, CA wrote:

Oleander is both good and bad. I have about 150 feet of 40 year old Saint Agnes, and at times it is stunning. It is a toxic plant so I have always isolated it from my dog. Not an easy effort, but essential. I would not plant this plant as a hedge today.
I would use the "Old fashion Oleander" the Hop Bush (a great winter purple foliage plant), or one of the many Texas Sages.
I have experienced several Grape Needle bug infestations, but it only one Oleander appeared to suffer decline. Time will tell on the parasite/ bacteria front.

Aphids? Yes, every year. The Oleander is a magnet in low desert locations, if your paying attention however, they come in one wave and a good green or insecticide wash rids them overnight.

The greatest problem with th... read more

Negative

On Nov 1, 2010, Raknruin from Mexico City and around
Mexico wrote:

I lost 2 adult Irish Setters and puppies to Oleander, which is nearly a weed here in Mexico. A maid living nearby was terrified by dogs and she mixed the flowers and the leaves with meat, let them rot a bit and then threw a bag into the garden.

I suppose one should feel sorry for the maid with her fear of dogs.

I was heartbroken for the dogs.

Neutral

On Oct 12, 2010, aggiebot5 from College Station, TX wrote:

Con--toxic, can be difficult to keep to shape, can outgrow its space, can brown or die back in cold weather

Pro--Takes all the heat and drought and humidity you can throw at it. In our area, nothing short of a nuclear strike from orbit can kill it, and the flowers are lovely.

Positive

On Feb 3, 2009, ttennebtrebor from Lavaux
Switzerland wrote:

Zone 8b (Switzerland - Lake Geneva region). Positioned in partial sun, heavy, compacting soil, yet the three plants are thriving (two pink and one Alba). Tips: (1) Don't handle them too much with bare hands - I got a mild poisoning when planting them out (hot flashes, racing heart, swelling throat); (2) position them out of reach of kids, neighbors and pets; (3) never, ever water them in winter; (4) prune dead wood after winter, if any (none so far this winter although it was colder than last winter - they're nearly indestructible once established); (5) don't leave any parts of this plant lying around, don't compost, and don't burn.

Implement these simple precautions, and you've got a beautiful, prolifically flowering, hassle-free shrub that requires less than an hour's work... read more

Neutral

On Dec 21, 2008, greatswede from Lincoln, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

December 2009
Well I covered the plants with a thermal landscape blanket when the temperatures dropped around 30 F and they still froze. I also cut off the water to them. They froze as usual.

They may be the variety 'Petite Pink which is not as cold hardy as others like 'Little Red. I am considering changing them out.
--------------------------------------------
We live in Lincoln, CA which is about 30 miles from Sacramento. We had about 6 oleanders in Sacramento which grew quite well. But here in Lincoln, the three bushes in the front yard have died back every winter but do come back by the middle of summer and bloom late into Fall.

The winter temperatures really don't get that much lower than Sacramento but everyone in Lincoln has t... read more

Positive

On Jun 14, 2007, southernscenes from Willacoochee, GA wrote:

I was sure that I bought a dark red color and now it is pink.

Negative

On Jun 9, 2006, eurokitty from Seattle, WA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Here on the Gulf Coast of Florida they're almost an epidemic. Developers use oleanders to landscape virtually all new housing construction on the island where I live, frequently using rows of them as hedges or screens. They're popular for this because they grow so quickly, and they look good right away. (Even as very large plants, they are not that expensive, either.)

But are these developers aware that they are incredibly toxic? Does anyone warn the home buyers (or more frequently these days, the tourists who rent the houses as vacation homes)? Or do the developers just not care? This just strikes me as incredibly irresponsible -- especially in new construction when there are other, viable and less damaging plants or trees from which to choose.

From Wikiped... read more

Positive

On May 29, 2006, janders from Rockwall, TX wrote:

Yes, all parts of the plant is poisonous, but beautiful. It covers an otherwise plain fence on the side of my house. Whenever some of the leaves start to turn yellow I give it some iron and it easily fixes the problem.

Neutral

On Jul 11, 2005, matricesp from San Pedro, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

A few years ago, five small oleander bushes were planted in my dirt parking lot that is located on a hill. The plants are located almost at the edge of the hill next to a fence. At first, I didn't like the idea of having these plants on an already beautiful hill, which had a great view of a park full of trees.

As these plants later looked like trees, they started to get on my nerves because they would block the beautiful view of the park. One day I thought I would cut off some branches and put them in a vase. They looked good, too, until my mom and I had an allergic reaction to them. I threw them outside immediately. My brother also had problems with this plant. While his car was parked next to the bush, the flowers would land on his front hood, which he said ruined... read more

Neutral

On May 13, 2005, aviator8188 from Murphysboro, IL (Zone 7a) wrote:

I must correct a few things on the notes posted about Nerium oleander...Oleander only blooms on old wood. Someone mentioned it bloomed on new wood. Although many plants such as Crape Myrtles bloom on new wood, Oleander will not. As far as toxicity, I think this plant has simply earned a bad name for itself because it's used so much in the south, making this plant easier to come into contact with. The leaves of tomato plants are highly toxic as well, yet some people have probably never heard that before.

I know a guy from Arkansas who threw some typical "Yew" cuttings into a pasture. 450lb cattle ate the cuttings and died 3 hours later. Oleander isn't alone in toxic nature. I have touched the plant without gloves all of the time and have never developed skin irritation. I als... read more

Neutral

On Apr 28, 2005, zsnp from Pensacola, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

If you want nice, small oleander bushes, cut down your oleanders to about 8-12 inches tall. This stimulates new growth. Do not cut back the plant if it is less than 2-3 feet tall.

Iron in the ground stimulates flowering. When I plant oleanders, I usually put some rusty pieces of iron in the ground.

WARNING: Honey made from oleander flowers is also poisonous!

Positive

On Apr 7, 2005, Retired99 from Sebastian, FL wrote:

We have planted several of the pink "miniature" oleanders. They grow about 4-6 ft. tall and have been a welcome addition of our yard. After the hurricanes last fall, we did cut them back and they are doing just fine. We do have to deal with the caterpillars sometimes but we just pluck them off the plant.

Neutral

On Apr 6, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

I was being "experimental" again. Oleander isn't hardy even in perfectly drained Zone 7. It made it through the summer and the fall, but the winter did it in.

Positive

On Mar 2, 2005, artcons from Fort Lauderdale, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I garden for enjoyment and butterflies. When I first decided to grow for butterflies I learned that to keep them coming back, you need both nectar and larvae plants. I planted whatever I could find that would provide their requirements without thinking about what I was attracting. It turns out my oleander attract (and they totally devour the plant) oleander caterpillar. I am sure others have the same experience.

However the oleander caterpillar turns into one of the most unusual butterflies I have ever experienced. It becomes a Polka-dot wasp moth. You may have seen these most colorful insects without realizing they are moths. The moth's body and wings are a beautiful iridescent blue/green, the wings almost black, and they get to about 1 3/4 inches in diameter. The ... read more

Neutral

On Jan 30, 2005, BrianCRX90 from Fort Worth, TX wrote:

I moved to my house in Fort Worth, TX 2 years ago. I always loved Oleanders in California and attempted to grow them here. I had a red one and a white one. I heard that they don't like freezing temperatures but along came spring. The red one only had brown damage here and there but the white one turned completely brown. Along came April and it never grew. I ripped it out cause it was dead. So I wouldn't buy the white ones again.


I bought several red ones at Lowe's that spring. Turned out I got ripped off cause a couple months later 3 of them had white flowers! However, unlike my other dead white one (that plant never grew much at all), these 3 were treated to better soil and mulch preparation. Even though I was told it wasn't necessary using expensive soil, it worked... read more

Positive

On Oct 5, 2004, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I used to think oleanders were overused, until I had a yard of my own that came with 8 or more mature oleanders. They make good low-maintenance evergreen screens in areas that are difficult to access and few other things are as willing to bloom in hot weather. Their being poisonous is a non-issue in my yard. We don't have any babies or dogs.

Neutral

On Jul 17, 2004, pokerboy from Canberra
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

Wonderful low-care plant!!! It requires very water once established. One drawback- all parts of this plant are poisonous. Does well in Coastal districts. Can grow in Saline and clay soils well. pokerboy.

Neutral

On Jul 4, 2004, punaheledp from Kailua, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

My parents had a hedge of this in their parking area, very near ocean, sandy dry soil, hot and sunny and no care except trimming. It did well, as did a neighbors hedge (his was much older and made an impenetrable barrier, had a lot of shade from a huge banyan). It can be pretty when blooming. I've seen pink and white used together nicely. But, I wouldn't plant it in my yard. I have been told it is VERY poisonous ... story of campers accidentally using it to roast hot dogs on ....

Neutral

On Jun 22, 2004, nadabigfarm from Gardena, CA wrote:

I have always considered it to only useful in locations where nothing else grows. I have seen it growing along highways in sandunes by Palm Springs area. My mother's house in BullheadCity, Arizona where the temps often exceed 120 and the lows dip to around 95-100, it grows everywhere. Never watered or fertilized. Her whole back fence is in constant bloom, always green and trimmed to about 6 or 7 feet high. I consider it a weed, however, in the desert, it has its place only as a barrier or property line. Much too poisonous to keep around children and animals. I heard one story about some boy scouts dying from using the stems to cook hotdogs over a fire.

Positive

On Jun 21, 2004, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

In many ways, I like this plant. It's used as a beautiful hedge and windbreak in Palm Springs. It's deadly poison to humans and horses dumb enough to eat it. Cuttings root in a week or two. Why it may not bloom in Texas, who knows. It blooms on new wood; if the owners are trying to shape it into balls and foot stools, they are probably cutting off the blooming wood. It blooms almost all year in south Florida. And some of the colors--such as a relatively new blood red--are stunning.

Negative

On Jun 21, 2004, FullertonCA from Lake Arrowhead, CA wrote:

Although assumed to be indestructible in Southern California, thousands of oleanders have died in the last few years. I believe the cause is a viral infection, courtesy of the the glass-wing sharpshooter. Leaves wither and brown regardless of watering. Once a few leaves begin to brown, you can count the months until the entire plant is dead. The loss is devastating, as so many have been used to screen unattractive views. I am amazed that landscapers continue to plant these en masse, even though most soon die.

Positive

On Jun 12, 2004, WillowWasp from Jones Creek, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I love this plant, it is a beautiful landscaping plant anywhere you need something fast-growing that will flower year after year. These are good to use as wind breaks in and around the coastal areas. Nice, pretty shrubs and functional, as well. Just remember they are toxic to people and animals.

Neutral

On May 25, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

The climate is a bit too wet on our side of the island for the oleander to do too well, but you do see some around in Hilo. They do better and bloom profusely on the drier Kona side (west side of the island).

Positive

On Apr 17, 2004, nobule wrote:

Oleanders are exceptionally tough and vigorous shrubs. They grow in central California along the roadways with no care or watering. They flourish in very dry conditions amidst exhaust fumes and heat radiating from the road. Oleanders make a great boundary along a property line if planted a few feet apart. Just as an example of how tough these plants are, we have a row of them along our driveway in Fresno CA, and our neighbor allowed a brush fire to get out control and it burned our 8 foot Oleander hedge clear to the ground. The plants all grew back from the roots the next year and are now over 8 feet high several years later. White oleander definitely grow the fastest and highest. Pink and red oleanders are supposed to be the hardiest to freezing.

I really like olea... read more

Negative

On Apr 4, 2004, ruthiana wrote:

I agree with the user above from So CA. They are all over the place and widely over-used, especially given their highly toxic nature. My recent problem was buying a new house in CA where we had 8 huge bushes in the yard. What a performance to get rid of them all! Worse yet, my non-green-fingered husband, not realizing they were poisonous, mulched all eight, 12-foot high plants into our yard soil where I grow vegetables.

Took me days of research to get information on whether the oleander mulch transmits its poison to vegetables being grown. I contacted about 25 toxicologists on the net. Only 3 replied and they all sent me the same information. Some control tests have been done but are inconclusive. In short, no one knows. One leaf is enough to kill a full grown adult,... read more

Negative

On Jan 18, 2004, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

I have great respect for Oleander because not only is it very drought tolerant, it is also quite tolerant of salt spray. Full sun is no joke in Florida, but that is what Oleander thrives on.

However, many years ago, Tampa had to rearrange the Bay access to the plant along its shores, because unsuspecting tourists used the stems to roast hot dogs, and it killed them.

If you are stuck with these and don't want them, my sympathy. If you are considering planting one or more, give serious thought to where and why. A friend of mine nearly lost her father when he burned pruned Oleander and inhaled the smoke. Minor complaints are common, such as dermatitis.

All in all, yes it's pretty. But it should be used where few other plants will grow, preferably... read more

Neutral

On Jan 18, 2004, Logsburn wrote:

I live in Ireland. In the western suburbs of Dublin, the most popular Nerium is the 'Sister Agnes'-- very showy with fragrant white flowers from end of April to mid September.

Ireland has a microclimate equal to USDA zone 9. We don't get winters, and the lowest over-night temperature is usually -2C. If the wind blows in from England, then -5C. Our winter average temperature is +8C--no problem for any type of Nerium to grow here. A good spring time feed is potash with a monthly dose of 10-10-20 fertilizer.

Negative

On Jan 5, 2004, TexasLady wrote:

I have four in front of a fence in the front yard. They are HUGE and the more we prune, the bigger they get. The only problem is they do not bloom at all.

Neutral

On Dec 31, 2003, mrsmitty from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

There is a caterpillar that is orange and black that attacks my oleanders. They are easy to pluck off, however I have seen oleanders in Jacksonville, Florida that are totally stripped of leaves. This year the plant put out 2 inch seed pods that look like a black half moon shape. These split open and the seeds were furry like dandilion puffballs... possibly also wind driven. I'll see if they sprout.

Positive

On Dec 30, 2003, Michaelp from Glendale, UT (Zone 5a) wrote:

Crushed up and mixed with grain and molasses, it makes a fair rat poison

Positive

On Dec 29, 2003, sassytiger from Lakeland, FL wrote:

When the leaves turn yellow, they are not getting enough sun. Mine started to do that and I put them out in more sun; now they are doing very well. I think that they are beautiful plants, but I cannot find that many down here in Florida.

Negative

On Dec 29, 2003, azhenri wrote:

My dog ate some (not sure how many). I do not have this plant, but my neighbor does and does not seem to want to trim them as needed. They fly everywhere and land in my yard and in my pool. Attractive? Yes, very, but I wish that those who have them would try to respect other people's property and keep them trimmed.

Positive

On Dec 10, 2003, vagardener from Springfield, VA wrote:

This is a beautiful plant that flowers profusely. We had several in our garden when we lived in Southern Spain. They were almost tree-like and are also used as hedges in that part of Spain. They are highly toxic, and we were warned not to burn the wood.

Negative

On Oct 7, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I would be more positive about this plant if there weren't so many of them around here in So Cal... all the highways are lined with them, and they are way overplanted in the local landscape. Here in So Cal they are nearly impossible to kill- you gotta dig up the roots, and that is an incredible chore. Some people are violently reactive to just touching the plant, and it can cause some very serious dermatitis.

Though they do flower profusely, the colors are not all that varied (maybe 6 different varieties) and too pastel for me. And, the plants quickly grow way out of proportions (20'-30' tall) and grow so fast they need to be pruned twice a year. I planted this in my garden 9 years ago when I first got interested in plants, and have regretted it ever since.

... read more

Negative

On Oct 7, 2003, kimilee wrote:

I am having problems growing mine in Texas (U.S.), and the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. I have two in shade (they are great) but those in full sun are awful.

Neutral

On Apr 27, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

Keep this plant away from kids and animals, since its latex is very poisonous. And keep an eye open for pests: like many Apocynaceae, its vulnerable to aphids.

Positive

On Apr 26, 2003, oleanderguy wrote:

Frost Hardiness: I have just been to a website - http://www.plantfacts.com which says the Oleander Nerium requires a night temperature of +10deg C. This compares unfavourably to your ratings above and my own experience and goes to show you can't believe all you read on other sites.

I live near London UK with occasional night temperatures in winter of MINUS 8deg C, and day temperatures of far less than 10 deg. I have had an oleander bush outside in all weathers for 3 years and there has been no frost damage. Sure the leaves will droop a little after a very cold snap but it soon perks up.

Great blooms and scent too!

Positive

On Jan 21, 2003, Lavanda from Mcallen, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

The blooms of this plant are attractive to hummingbirds, and have a marvelously candy-sweet fragrance. On a dark night, the white blooms seem to glow in the dark. This plant is easily propagated by putting cuttings into a jar with water. Roots will quickly form. It warmer zones, nine and above, it will easily make a tall living fence after a few years.

Positive

On Nov 24, 2002, whitebear from Pensacola, FL wrote:

Oleander is a beautiful shrub, excellent for many purposes. In my particular area, it is often used to shield the view of unsightly utility connections sprinkler pipes etc. One thing to be aware of is the Oleander Moth. The orange bodied black-spined children (caterpillars) will decimate a plant in no time. It will generally regenerate itself but it goes through an ugly defoliated stage in the interim.

Positive

On Nov 23, 2002, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

You can occasionally find these plants trained as a tree. It is an excellent small-garden, urban tree -- evergreen, blooming, pest-free (occasionally aphids will attack it). A very good street tree.

Positive

On Jun 9, 2002, AustinBarbie from Harker Heights, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love my oleanders. They haven't stopped flowering yet, and are a fast grower, excellent as a hedge or screen. WARNING: Oleander is toxic -- do not ingest. Contact with skin may cause reaction. Avoid smoke when burning cuttings. Do not use in playgrounds or other areas frequented by young children and pets.

This fast growing evergreen shrub can reach up to 20' tall but is usually seen trimmed at 6'-10'. It forms a rounded mound to about 10' wide. It is a tough, versatile plant with showy summertime flowers in white, red, pink, salmon and light yellow. Leathery, lance shaped leaves range from about 4" to 10" long, depending on variety and are a bright green. Oleanders have a tendency to become leggy - overgrown individuals should be pruned as needed to maintain a nice shape... read more

Neutral

On Oct 24, 2001, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Native to the eastern Mediterrean, oleander prefers dry, warm areas. Easily grown in warm humid climates, like Florida and the Gulf coast.

This fast growing evergreen shrub can reach up to 20' tall. It forms a rounded mound to about 10' wide. It is a tough, versatile plant with showy summertime flowers in white, red, pink, salmon and light yellow. Leaves range from about 4" to 10" long, depending on variety and are a bright green.
It will survive some frost and temperatures to 15-20 F but foliage will be damaged. Some varieties are hardier than others. It is a tough, durable shrub that is inexpensive and easy to grow in most situations.

The abundant, beautiful flowers are delightfully fragrant in some cultivars. Use for screens, informal hedges a... read more