Nerium oleander, Oleander

Nerium oleander

Family: Apocynaceae
Origin: Mediterranean area
USDA Zone: 8-10?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapLarge shrub 5-10 ft tallSmall tree 10-20 ftFull sunModerate waterRegular waterRed, crimson, vinous flowersWhite, off-white flowersPink flowersPoisonous or toxicIrritating plantFragrant plantSeaside, salt tolerant plant

When it comes to growing Nerium oleander in a pot, the important thing to consider is that the shrub, which can range from a large bush of five to ten feet tall, to a small tree of between ten and twenty feet, depending on the cultivar, should get plenty of sun, but should also remain in a well-watered state, as oleanders do not like dry soil. Regular watering is an important part of oleander care, but some cultivars, such as the 'Southern Red' which has red, crimson and vinous flowers, are more drought-tolerant. The fragrant flowers of the oleander can be white, off-white, pink or red, depending on the cultivar, and are known for their beauty from late spring until fall, when they will spread a sweet scent if planted in an area with plenty of sun and good drainage.

When it comes to cold weather, it is important to note that mature Nerium oleanders may be cold hardy down to at least thirty degrees Fahrenheit for a short time, depending on the cultivar, a fact which makes it well suited for seaside areas where salt tolerance is advantageous. For those living in regions where cold temperatures reach beyond this, consider planting oleanders in containers and bringing them indoors during the winter, or wrapping the plant with a frost blanket when the temperature dips. Like most members of the Apocynaceae family, all flowers of the plant are poisonous; the smoke from burning clippings will produce a reaction in some people.

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