Oleander is a plant of great elegance, widespread since ancient times with ornamental function, because of its beautiful flowers with bright color. Originally from Asian lands, it also has a spread in the Mediterranean, where it finds a climate particularly suited to its development.
Oleander is a shrub that tends to develop in pebbly soils, in the most suitable environments, can reach even 3 or 4 meters high.
It is an evergreen plant with lanceolate and leathery leaves, with flowers, which can vary their color depending on the type of plant, may be white, cream or pink, and it is precisely this that ensures the high decorative power of this plant.
Widespread throughout Italy both as naturalized vegetation, in areas with greater possibility of light and high temperatures, both as pot cultivation to enrich gardens, apartments and balconies.
Oleander can develop spontaneously. In areas with a colder climate, however, to be cultivated requires adequate protection.
Oleander: Cultivation and Care
Depending on the environmental characteristics, oleander can be grown in open ground or require adequate protection: it does not tolerate, in fact, exposure to temperatures below five degrees.
During the period from April to October, the shrub should be watered abundantly, while during the winter period it will be sufficient to moisten the ground.
The recommended exposure is one that allows the oleander to receive direct sunlight as long as possible during the day.
It is a plant that can adapt to any type of soil, but if you want to make it even more lush, it is advisable to provide, during the spring period and every fortnight, the distribution of a granular fertilizer and ox blood.
Oleander: Diseases and Parasites
Oleander plant in bloom Oleander is an evergreen shrub belonging to the family of Apocynaceae, to which belongs a single species of the genus Nerium.
The pathologies affecting oleander (scientific name: Nerium oleander) are many, often common to other plant species.
The main threats to oleander are cotton or brown cochineals, which can spread especially in hot and dry weather.
The solution consists in the use of an ancient western product and in the removal of any parasites present using a cotton ball impregnated with water and alcohol. There are also other remedies to combat cochineal.
Oleander: Pruning and Multiplication
Oleanders are multiplied by seed or by cuttings during the summer period.
The cuttings can be rooted in a special multiplication box, carefully filled with peat and sand.
The soil must be kept constantly moist and positioned in a place where a temperature of not less than 15 degrees is guaranteed.
The cuttings will be obtained from the semi-ripe shoots by taking portions of 5 to 8 cm long. Alternatively, the cuttings can also be rooted in water, provided that the light conditions and temperatures are adequate to promote the development of the plant.
Once rooted, the cuttings can be placed in pots or in the ground. The oleander also requires periodic pruning: it is necessary to intervene after the flowering, halving the flowering branches and reducing the other branches by about 10 cm in length from the base.
How to Prune an Oleander
Oleander pruning is particularly important as the plant grows vigorously and begins to expand too much.
Pruning is an ancient practice that allows to contain the growth of plants and also to strengthen those that can not grow well.
To prune an oleander correctly:
- Remember that oleander is a poisonous plant so wear gloves to avoid direct contact with the cut parts of the plant that can cause irritation.
- Avoid pruning in the period before flowering.
- Avoid cutting the branches of the year as the new flowers will sprout on them.
Correctly pruning the oleander makes it possible to obtain a plant that is more resistant to adverse weather conditions and diseases, as well as making it more aesthetically pleasing.
To ensure a clean cut of the parts without crushing and fraying during pruning of the plant, always use a suitable gardening tool such as shears or scissors for gardening.
When Should I Prune the Oleander?
The best time for pruning oleander is undoubtedly the end of the summer season or the beginning of the autumn season, and this depends largely on the climate.
Oleander Poison and Precautions
The wide diffusion of oleander, therefore, is linked not only to its relative simplicity of cultivation, but also to its high decorative power.
However, cultivation and care must be accompanied by special attention, as it is a poisonous plant.
Pruning or watering operations must therefore be carried out using gloves, while care must be taken to ensure that children do not accidentally swallow flowers or leaves.
An infusion containing extracts of oleander could in fact cause cardiac arrhythmia and, if the poison is ingested in large quantities, cause death.
The glycosides responsible for the arrhythmia are contained in every part of the plant, hence the need to be careful and work strictly with gloves for each operation.
In case of poisoning, it is necessary to contact as soon as possible the nearest poison control center, to provide for the administration of an antidote that, if used in time and in proportion to the amount of poison with which you came into contact, will solve the situation.
Similarly, the toxicity of the plant can also occur by using wood to create a fire or grill food in open spaces. Moreover, it is better to avoid using for any purpose water which has been in contact with parts of the plant.