Oleander, under the scientific name of Nerium oleander, is a broadleaf evergreen plant type that can grow up to 5 feet wide (around 1.5 meters) and 8 feet high (2.4 meters).
People from where it is native may know it as East Indian oleander, Jamaica South Sea oleander, or Laurier rose.
Oleander tree grows flowers in shades of white, yellow, red, purple, and pink. You can enjoy its blooms in higher-temperature months, starts around May, and lasts until October.
To have a grand view, you should plant it in spring or autumn. However, be careful around the oleander bush because it has toxic properties and might be harmful to animals and humans once ingested or contacted directly.
You should as well never burn Laurier rose due to its toxicity from the burning smoke. In addition, Laurier rose can strive in very low conditions, such as drought, poor soil, salty air, and urban heat.
Thus, it is the perfect plant for busy gardeners.
Today’s article is going to disclose further oleander information, including the right conditions to grow, the fact of its toxicity, varieties, and how to get rid of the unwanted shrubs.
Oleander Care 101
Laurier rose beautifies your garden landscape as borders, screens, and hedges.
You should know that once planted, you could replant or reposition this shrub, but it will be difficult to remove completely from your soil due to the extensive system of its root.
Thus, determine where it should be with a thorough plan. Considering its possible harm to the livings, place it far enough from humans and animals traffics yet rather close to get your care.
Most oleander species do not need to feed on anything, but nitrogen fertilizer in a small amount may be beneficial to some. In other words, the instructions between two different varieties may be different.
Thus, thoroughly check what the recommendation for your shrub is.
Humidity and Temperature
It is only natural to grow oleander outdoor looking at all possibilities.
Also, it will be extremely fine growing under warm temperatures. But this shrub is not going to be okay in freezing areas, especially when it goes lower than 20°F (around -6°C).
Oleander should grow wherever it gets direct sunlight exposure if you want to see more flowers blooming. It tolerates partial natural light, but the more it sunbathes, the more blooms you benefit from.
The ideal soil condition for oleander is that with a neutral pH level, from 6.5 to 7.5. However, as stated previously, this shrub will strive even above poor growing media.
Its ability to be adaptive to various types of soil is amazing. Oleander can even grow above sand and clay.
Although so, to enjoy the most scenic view, you should grow it in preferable conditions. Amend any bad ground with compost first.
Well-drained soil is in the list of oleander’s terms and conditions. Make sure the ground dries out before giving the next watering.
If the foliages become yellow, it means it grows above dampness. Water it less during winter, as overwatering only leads to root rot.
The Toxicity Fact
Now, let us talk about the toxic side of oleander. Without leaving anything, all of its parts are poisonous even when they are in flames or dry out.
Ingesting the plant can cause irregular heart activity, as it is rich in cardiac glycosides.
Though the humans’ death rate is low, a small child might be in fatal condition once he/she ingests any form of Laurier rose plant, be it drinking the water from where the oleander flower is or eating the leaf.
To animals, oleander poison is as noxious as it is to humans. Common cases happen to livestock, like horses and cows, when they graze the growing areas of Laurier rose.
Meanwhile, the uncommon ones occur to domestic livings, such as cats and dogs, and even to wild birds.
Planting the plant far away from the traffics of humans and animals is only natural to do, but you should not come up with only that and feel safe.
Use protective clothing when keeping in contact with oleanders, such as gloves, pants, and long sleeves, and do not forget to wash your hands after that.
Ingesting the plant in any form will be deadly to young kids and small animals. Thus, death will be the first thing to occur if this accident happens.
The other signs, which are less severe, of poisoning on animals, are abdominal pain, colic, depression, diarrhea, and drooling.
Meanwhile, to the more tolerant beings, like adults, symptoms of moderate to severe may show. They are including:
- diarrhea, nausea, stomachache, or vomiting,
- difficulty breathing,
- hives or rash,
- irregular heartbeat,
- loss of appetite,
- low blood pressure,
- vision disturbance, and
Moderate symptoms will possibly die down on the fourth day of the occurrence, while severe ones might need hospital treatment.
Contact poison control center or health care provider immediately when you suspect poisoning of Laurier rose has occurred.
Some of the most known varieties of oleander are Austin Pretty Limits, Calypso, Hardy Pink, Hawaii, Isle of Capri, Petite Salmon, Sister Agnes, and White Sands.
Austin Pretty Limits
This cultivar is like no other in the category. While most oleanders bloom only for five months per year, Austin Pretty Limits can show its gorgeous bright pink flowers year-round.
It needs no pruning, as its white sap is poisonous and irritating to people’s skin.
You can identify Calypso species from its braided stem, cherry red blooms, as well as spear-shaped foliages. This variety is also available for purchase online; just take note that you should be extra careful.
Just as the name suggests, this shrub species blooms in pink shade. It can grow as wide as 10 feet (around 3 meters) and also as high as 15 feet (around 4.5 meters).
It is as you see in the picture. Hawaii oleander species blooms largely in the pink shade coupled with the yellow middle.
Moreover, it can grow as large as 12 feet (around 3.6 meters) in width and 18 feet (around 4.8 meters) in height.
Isle of Capri
This beauty blooms single flowers in a soft yellow shade. The Isle of Capri can certainly reach the height of 7 feet (around 2.1 meters) at maximum.
This small plant can only grow up to 4 to 6 feet (around 1.2 to 1.8 meters) in width as well as height. Thus, it puts itself on the list of dwarf variety. With salmon-colored blooms, it is to no one’s wonder why people name it so.
Sister Agnes belongs to large cultivars due to their ability to grow up to 12 feet. It also produces single blooms in gorgeous white.
This species belongs to the dwarf variety with only 6 feet wide and tall at maximum. In addition, it gets its name from the white blooms it produces.
It is not an obligation to trim oleander. Nonetheless, if you want to get benefits from it the most, trimming is a recommendation. By doing so, you will keep the shrub in shape as in less leggy and bushier.
But remember to do the trimming after the blooming time is over or at the end of autumn.
Common Diseases and Pests
Although Laurier rose appears to be poisonous to humans and animals, there are still the so-called pests, which have resistance to the toxicity. They are aphids, mealybugs, oleander caterpillars, as well as scale.
The fact has it that this plant can strive even in poor conditions, so does that make oleander immortal as nothing could cause it to die?
Well, no living thing lives forever. In addition, Laurier rose can die from leaf scorch caused by the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Xylella fastidiosa.
Before dying, the foliages will droop and turn brown. It takes at least three years for an individual to die entirely from the time the symptoms first spotted.
Removing the Unwelcomed Oleander
Oleander is not easy to remove, no thanks to its widespread root and also rapid growth habit.
The fastest way to control this shrub growth is by using chemical herbicides, but it is hazardous to the environment as well as to the living beings once contacted.
Furthermore, this method could kill the wanted plants in your landscape. In short, everything always has its good and bad sides.
For herbicides, the upside is it is extremely fast in getting rid of the unwanted shrubs, but the downside has it fatal to the other livings.
If you want to go safer, but longer and require harder work, aim to remove the plant entirely until its root. Yes, it will be laborious, but you do not harm anything.
If we are to conclude the information above, saying that oleander is a deadly beauty is not an overstatement. All parts of this shrub are poisonous and even deadly if ingested by a young child as well as a small animal.
Although so, you can still enjoy its beauty from afar under preferable conditions. Most oleander species look the grandest from May to October, five months throughout the year, when they bloom.