Oleander Tree

A Comprehensive Guide to the Oleander Tree

The Oleander tree is an elegant evergreen that offers the always popular combination of ease of care and eye-catching blooms. The Oleander is popular as a hedge and as a dramatic tree addition to many a garden landscape. This tree is also known by some other names such as Rose Laurel, La Adelfa, Rosebay and Olean. It belongs to the Apocynacea family which includes other flowering trees and shrubs. The Oleander usually has white, red or pink flowers although there are rare species with yellow or light peach-colored flowers also. The flowers of the Oleander also have a fragrance and the intensity of this depends on the particular variety in question.

The tree, which does exceptionally well in subtropical climate, can be seen in many parts of the world such as South East Asia, Morocco and Portugal. Wherever there is a Mediterranean weather pattern, this tree adapts easily. In the United States, you can find these trees in Texas and in California.

One of the easiest ways to introduce this low-maintenance tree into your garden is to buy the shrub from the nursery. You can propagate it further by taking cuttings from the tree.

Although technically it is possible to grow Oleanders from seeds, the method is not easy for the average amateur gardener as there is the danger of the pod bursting and the seeds floating away in the breeze. Cuttings have to be taken in early fall around September and can be from the tips of the tree or from the hard wood. Cuttings should be about 6 inches long and all the lower leaves must be removed. You can immerse this cutting in a container of water to generate roots or put it in sand compost after dipping it in rooting powder. Both these methods have a history of success and roots can generally be expected in a couple of weeks. Now you can transfer the cutting to a regular compost area and finally you can move it to the desired location the next spring.

While the Oleander prefers mild temperatures, it is hardy in the soil variation it can handle. The Oleander tree is considered very low maintenance in part because it takes very little watering. It is drought resistant and its strong roots help the plant survive dry spells effectively. It even takes hold in sandy wet areas and is not affected by salt water making it a popular choice for those near beaches.

The Oleander does take root fairly strongly and it is important to factor this in when choosing a location for the shrub. Once it starts growing it can be aggressive and it is best not to plant it too close to the house. It is not an easy plant to move.

This rapid and rampant growth is what makes the Oleander a popular hedge choice. This and the 25 feet height it can easily reach, make it a great choice for those seeking privacy in their yard or garden.

You have to prune your Oleander annually to keep it in shape and to stimulate new growth. You can shape your individual Oleander tree by pruning and you can train your hedge into interesting shapes also through pruning. September or early October are the best months for pruning this tree. Given that a healthy Oleander flowers profusely, sometimes pruning is the only way to control the tree.

The Oleander tree has one drawback in that it can be toxic if people of animals accidentally consume it. So people with children or pets should take adequate care. The sap of the tree is also known to cause an allergic reaction and so it is best to wear gloves when pruning this tree.

The Oleander’s abundant growth and year round greenery make it an attractive option for natural fencing. Or you can have a single Oleander in your garden for the dramatic effect of this gorgeous tree in bloom.



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