Nerium Oleander

Nerium oleander – Oleander
Clusters of pink, funnel-shaped flowers over lance-shaped grey-green leaves.

Vigorous shrub that will grow into a small tree if not pruned. Typically it is kept to 2-3M and may be grown as a hedge. The flowers comprise a tube with a fringed opening surrounded by five petals about 4cm across. Flowers are typically some shade of pink, and white is also found.

Oleander has been so widely planted since pre-Roman times that its original native range is uncertain. However, it seems to have started somewhere in the region from the Mediterranean to India, but possibly as far east as China. The name may come from the Greek ollyo (I kill) Andros (man), and it is one of the most toxic commonly grown garden plants. Alexander the Great’s troops are supposed to have been poisoned by using Oleander sticks to roast their food over the camp fire.

Soil / Aspect:
In the wild Oleander is often found in watercourses that dry up in the summer. It can stand inundation and drought. It is a highly durable plant tolerating poor soils and intense heat, but does not like exposure to cold winds in winter.

Oleander can become unruly if not pruned, when new growth can tend to come from the base. Pruning each year encourages new growth and improves flowering. Some consider the seed pods to be attractive. However, for best flowering you should prune, as [nearly] always, after flowering. It flowers on the new flush of growth in the spring, so do not prune that. Watering in a dry spring will improve and extend flowering.