Oleanders

This post, “Oleanders” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

“We need to block out that view.”  This was my dear hubby’s constant complaint.  We had planted a row of arborvitae bushes, but after Katrina, they started to thin out.  I think they were under a great deal of stress from the drought we had after the hurricane.  He doesn’t like the view of the street and wants it screened.

Well, one day last summer, he shows up with four oleander bushes.  He didn’t know what color the blooms were, didn’t realize how big they could get, and didn’t realize if we get a bad freeze they can lose their leaves.  Luckily they turned out to be a light pink which will blend in with the surrounding plants, though I would have preferred red flowers.  He didn’t really have a good idea of where they should be placed.  He just wanted to kind of plop them in the middle of the lawn without a thought of any kind of plan.  Needless to say, I was not very happy with his ideas.

We finally compromised on a planting area, but I don’t think these plants are the best solution to our problem of screening.  But, he does live here, too, and he does do all the heavy work around the garden to help me out.  I guess I just have to let this go.  The plants seem to be doing well.  They have just started to bud out.

2008-213-oleander-buds-reduced-v2-006.jpg

Oleanders are very popular around here and lend a tropical feel.    They grow about 5 to 8 feet tall here in a mounded shape.  I am going to tip prune them to make sure they get full and thick. I do not know if this will be the screening solution we hope for, but if these plants don’t work out, I’ll look upon that as an opportunity to try to grow something new.

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34 Comments

  1. Anna said,

    February 19, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Well for sure give it a go. I move plants all the time–but I bet an Oleander would not give up its ground easily. You might pull the bumper off the car :) trying. I am always changing stuff and sadly have probably killed a few in the process. Good luck with it–I think the blooms are very pretty.

    Thanks. If for some reason they don’t make it and we have to move them, we’d probably have to just cut them to the ground & keep cutting them till they die. Our ground is very hard clay with pine tree roots all over. This is what we have had to do in the past. There is just no digging up a large shrub here. But, I think they should do okay.

  2. Aiyana said,

    February 20, 2008 at 2:36 am

    Have the oleanders in your area been hit with Oleander Leaf Scorch? Many of the oleander stands here have been wiped out by the disease. The smoke tree sharpshooter spreads the bacterium that causes the plants to die, and there’s no cure. Oleanders acted as natural barriers between properties in historic Phoenix, some over 60 years old, and those are now gone. Just a shame.
    Aiyana

    Oh, that sounds so sad. We have not had that problem here, yet, and I hope we never do. Oleanders are used as landscaping on public grounds and really help to beautify the area, esp. on big thourghfares. When something like that happens it just changes the area so much. Here, we lost many of what were signature plants in a big freeze in the early ’60’s, and they were never replanted. It is a shame we don’t have the golden raintrees and palms that were so prevalent back then. So, I understand how devestating it must be in Phoenix to lose those old, established plants.

  3. Mary Beth said,

    February 20, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    So glad to have found your blog! I garden near the Gulf of Mexico on the Texas-Mexico border so we will have a few things in common. When I read about your cat eating plants, I worry about these oleanders. I’m sure you know they are poisonous – so the cat must know that too!

    You don’t have to worry about the cat. She is an inside cat and is never allowed outside. I am glad to learn about your blog since I’m love to read what others in my zonal area are doing. I’ll be stopping by.

  4. Lana Bisson said,

    April 4, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Wow, reading this has been very helpful. For the longest time, I thought I was just not watering my oleander enough. Now I realise it has been affected by the leaf scorch disease…One more thing to do on my spring list….I dread diggin that out…

  5. Jan said,

    April 5, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Lana, I am glad you found this helpful. We have been lucky and have not had leaf scorch disease show up yet.

  6. Debra Mathews said,

    December 3, 2008 at 10:55 am

    When is the best time to transplant oleanders? I would like remove from front garden area and put in back yard garden for more privacy screening.
    Thanks for any suggestions and Happy Holidays!

  7. Jan said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Debra, I feel it is too late in the year to transplant oleanders. They are a warm area plant and might not make it through the winter if moved now. I would wait until the spring when temperatures are reliably warm and no more freezes are possible. I hope this helps.

  8. Rebecca said,

    May 4, 2009 at 10:33 am

    My oleanders leaves turned yellow, which seems like overnite! I have seen pictures of scorched leaves and my leaves dont look scorch infected. the leaves are completely yellow like a banana. starting from the bottom going up to the tip of the stem where the plant is green with a beautiful flower. what could IT BE?

    • Jan said,

      May 4, 2009 at 4:03 pm

      Rebecca, I am not sure what could be wrong without seeing the plant or knowing where you are located. I am sure you have watered it. You may want to check with your local extension service or a local nursery for their opinion.

  9. W. Hicks said,

    June 28, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    I recently purchased an oleander plant it was pruned up like a tree is that ok I did not know that it could be done that way my neighbor thought that was strange because she also purchased two from another store hers looked like a bush mine is a tree/ let me know what you think of this tree.

    • Jan said,

      June 28, 2009 at 4:33 pm

      Oleanders can be trimmed up to look like a small tree. In the right spot, I think these look great. Very often large shrubs are treated this way. I have seen azaleas trimmed up this way, and they, too, were very attractive when treated this way.

  10. Opal Taylor said,

    January 18, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Would like to transplant Oleanders – what month is best and can I cut them back before transplanting? They are 3 years old.

    • Jan said,

      January 18, 2010 at 5:36 pm

      Opal, you don’t say where you are located so it is a little hard to answer your question. If you are in the Coastal South like I am, I would transplant them in late January when they are dormant. I also would cut them back. Just to be sure, you could ask your local agricultural agent or a nursery in your area.

  11. Jeff said,

    January 28, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I live in Joshua Tree, Ca, and have 63 Oleanders that are beautiful, but I want to move about half of them and replace with stone walls due to barking neighbor dogs. What is the easiest and best way to remove them? They appear to be pretty well rooted, and I suspect they have been there for a number of years. I have read that these plants do well transplanting, but I have never dug one up, and not really sure how thier root system works. Is there a private market for these plants?

  12. Cheryl said,

    June 23, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I am really happy I found this website. I live in Florida on the west coast and we have these everywhere along the beach areas. I have always wanted one, because how pretty they look in the summer. I did just purchase 2 plants that we planted on either side of the driveway. I would say they are about 3 ft. tall. My question is, eventually I would like to grow some out back as well. Can you just trim a branch off and transplant it? How long should I wait to do this and what is the best way?

    • Jan said,

      June 23, 2010 at 6:49 pm

      Cheryl, information from oleander.org states “Propagation – It is very easy to propagate from oleander cuttings. There are two good ways…one says to use the hard wood, while the other says that tip cuttings are the best. You can use either way and still be successful. Make your cuttings about 6′ long each and remove the lower leaves. The location of the bottom three leaf nodes is where your roots will start, although they will progress elsewhere. Cut the remaining upper leaves to about one inch long. You can place these in water by themselves, or put in a small twig of willow – which acts as a stimulator – long with the cuttings in the water. After the roots grow to between one and two inches long, transplant into some good draining soil. Keep it moist, but not wet, and in a mostly sunny location. Another method is to dip the bottom end of your cutting in ROOTONE and plant it in some sand. Either method should bring results in about two weeks. In about a year, these will have grown to gallon size and continue from there. Don’t forget to prune them after they reach the gallon size so you get the shape and structure you want. ” Good luck in propagating some more plants.

  13. A. Morgan said,

    June 29, 2010 at 7:27 am

    When we go to Port Aransas,Texas I see them , but they are the small ones
    that are about 3 to about 4 feet high as well as a few tall ones. (dwarf ones) That is what I want to find. Right now it is very hot and dry here (near Hamilton, Texas). Is there something you can spray them with so they wouldn’t get that leaf disease? Thanks for your info.

    • Jan said,

      June 29, 2010 at 4:41 pm

      As far as I know, there is no cure for Oleander Leaf Scorch. Just remember that a healthy plant is better able to ward off disease, so I would make sure to keep mine well-watered and fertilized.

  14. monica said,

    July 27, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    We just bought a house and it has a sprinkler system. I was wondering if the roots would do damage to the sprinkler system. I am wanting to plant oleander beside the fence on the side of the house separateing our property line from our neighbors. The sprinkler heads are right up against the bottom of the fence. Should I just plant crossvine instead of the oleander? I planted bottlebrush on the other side of the house. I talked with someone at one of the big box shops and they said that putting shrubs or small plants wouldn’t do damage to the pvc pipes that make up the sprinkler system. Is this true?

    • Jan said,

      July 27, 2010 at 9:20 pm

      I don’t think that plant roots will damage your sprinkler system, however, you must remember how big the oleanders will get and make sure that they do not block the sprinkler heads so that the area is not watered as the sprinkler system is designed to do. If the oleanders eventually block the water emitted by the sprinkler heads, there may be too much water by the oleanders and not enough water farther out. Hope this helps.

  15. Cia said,

    January 6, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I was concerned about my plans to move 3 Oleanders. Your blog has answered all my questions and given me confidence. Thanks

    • Jan said,

      January 6, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      Glad you found some info that helps.

  16. Vytas said,

    April 12, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I transplanted one of my oleanders about 2 weeks ago, from the front to the back yard. Plant was only in the ground for slightly under a year, so not too difficult to remove. It was a pretty plant, but grew to big for the space it was occupying. Live in the Tampa, Fl area. Added Miracle Grow gardening soil & fertilizer, and have watered regularly since transplanting. Flowers began to fade that day, and now 2 weeks later, leaves are browning and falling. Also, a few day’s after movingiit, we had severe weather move thorugh with 70mph winds and 8-9 inches of rain, which caused me to reset the Oleander the next day. Does the current condition of the plant mean its gone, or is in shock and I can expect it to recover? Appreciate your guidance.

    • Jan said,

      April 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm

      Vytas, I think the problem with your moved oleander could be if you did not cut the oleander back when you moved it, there were too many leaves for the smaller root system to support, so that is probably why the leaves are brown and falling off. If I were you, I would cut it back and continue to water it. It may take a while, but it should start to sprout new growth when the root system gets established. I hope your plant makes it.

  17. Trish Towery said,

    May 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    I have 18 newly planted oleander bushes….I was watering them each day for about 6 days…now they look a little droopy…am I overwatering ? The ground does not feel wet under them…

    • Jan said,

      May 2, 2011 at 6:12 pm

      Trish, I think you may be over-watering them. Unless it is scorching hot, they should not need watering every day even if newly planted. You probably should try and dig a little under them (about 5 inches down) to see how wet the soil is . I see from your other comment that you haven’t watered in three days. See how wet the soil is down below and that should tell you if you need to water. Also, is it very hot where you are? If it isn’t, that is also an indication wilting plants could be over-watered. Plants can wilt from too much water as well as too little. Another thing to consider is how much you have been watering them. If you are just hitting them lightly with the hose, that is one thing. Leaving the hose or sprinkler on them for a long time is another. Also, I am assuming these are newly purchased plants and not ones that have been transplanted from another area. That could be a different problem. Hope this helps.

  18. Trish Towery said,

    May 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I have newly planted oleanders…I was watering them daily for 6 days…now they look a little droopy…I haven’t watered in 3 days..did I overwater them or are they underwatered?? The ground does not feel wet under them.

  19. Dean said,

    August 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I bought and planted some oleander this spring. They were about 1m tall. Now that they have bloomed, I can see the colours and would like to move a couple around. I would like to know when is the best time to do this please. I live on the northern mediterranean coast of Spain, where the average temperature is 25C / 77F in summer 5C / 41F in winter. I would like to move them before they root too much, but not sure if it is wise whilst they are in bloom.

    (My website is not about oleanders, but photography. However there is a large gallery of flowers, mainly tulips. I included a reference in case
    anyone found it interesting).

    Many thanks in advance.

    • Jan said,

      August 10, 2011 at 4:57 am

      Dean, if your winter temperatures are that warm, I would move them now or in the fall when the temperatures are a little cooler. Since you have just planted them, the roots have not had a chance to move into the surrounding soil too much. Just make sure to keep them watered.

  20. Dean said,

    August 17, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Jan, Many thanks for your reply. Apologies for having seen it so late. I did select email notification of replies and comments, but I guess that doesn’t work.

    • Jan said,

      August 28, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      Dean, the email comments should work, but anyway, I am glad you found my answer.

  21. Dean said,

    August 29, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Working now Jane!

  22. Dean said,

    August 29, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Jan, sorry!


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