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How to tell if my Oleander is dead or just mostly dead?

Garland, TX(Zone 8a)

My petite salmon oleander looks pretty bad after a couple of cold snaps. I didn't know they were borderline for my zone, I feel stupid.

However, one or two leaves deep in the middle are green...maybe?

How do I tell if it will bounce back? How do I trim it? Just hack away and hope?

I need Miracle Max. :)

Thumbnail by LarissaH
(Zone 1)

I wouldn't hack away at it yet! If I were you, I would dig it up and plant it in a container that you can move inside when it gets cold! You can check for life by bending a branch ... if it bends, there's a good chance you can save it. If a branch is dry and snaps off easily that branch is probably dead ... but there's a good chance that the roots are still alive ... wouldn't hurt to try and save it! I love Oleander's. We have three large ones in the ground in our yard. If we ever have a hard freeze, which happens here every once in awhile, I'm afraid mine will be goners and they are big! I just took a lot of seed pods off the pink and also white ones today. Some of the pods had already broken open with the feathery seeds flying everywhere! I'm hoping I can grow them from seeds, though I've never tried it before. Don't know if they will germinate for me or not!

I really think you should dig up your Oleander, pot it up and wait to see if you get new growth! There's a good chance, you will!

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I agree, I would pot it up and hope for the best. If it doesn't make it, you might try one of the ones with Hardy as part of the cultivar name (I think there's 'Hardy Double Yellow', 'Hardy Red', a couple others along those lines). Most oleanders are only hardy to zone 8 but I think those will make it in 7b, maybe a really cold winter would still get them but they'd definitely have a better chance. I also wouldn't cut away the dead parts yet, they can serve to protect what might still be alive in the middle if you have another cold snap, otherwise if you expose that part, then it could die in the next cold snap.

Oh noooo, is it time to start playing the game of dead or dormant already ;) I hate this time of year.

(Zone 1)

Ecrane3: Sure am glad you posted about these plants .... I never knew that there was a Hardy Oleander! I have got to check those out! I would love to have a yellow and a red one that would withstand cold weather! All I knew about were these here in Florida that you see everywhere in the Southern part of the state! Back in the late 70's, early 80's we had a real hard freeze here in Daytona Beach, and lost Citrus trees and Oleander's in our yard! I am really interested in the Hardy form! Thanks again for posting!

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

I have two small ones that look just like yours. I'm pretty sure they would come back from the roots, but I think I'm just going to cut them down for good. Our KFC restaurant has some huge ones growing near their parking lot that never gets frost damage, they are about 10ft tall and wide.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Plantladylin--If you're looking for sources, I know Plant Delights sells the yellow, red, and pink ones. I know I've seen a hardy red somewhere too but can't remember where off the top of my head. But for you in zone 9 I'm surprised the regular ones wouldn't be fine for you--I live in 9b but I recently drove through some parts of CA that are in zone 9a or even maybe 8b after we just had one of our coldest winters in a long time, and the oleanders in the median strip on the highway look just fine, not even damaged. So I think it would be only one of those once every hundred years or so type of freezes that would kill off the regular ones for you. If you like the look of the hardy ones equally well then by all means plant them, but if you like the less hardy ones better I think it's a reasonable level of risk in your climate since even most of the un-hardy ones are hardy to zone 8. And you only get about another 5 degrees or so of temperature tolerance with the hardy ones, so if you're trying to prepare for the very infrequent horrible freezes, having the slightly hardier ones may not help you too much.

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