Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Nerium oleander

Common Name
Oleander
CA Native
Non-native
Plant Type
Shrub
Size
6' - 12' - 12' - 20'
Flower Color
White, Pink, Red
Bloom Time
  • Summer
Leaves
Medium Green
Evergreen
Evergreen
Deer Resistant
Rarely Damaged
Wildlife Value
  • Bees
  • Bird Habitat
Growth Rate
Moderate
Hardiness
Hardy
Adverse Growth Factors
None
Special Features
  • Low Maintenance
  • Showy Flowers
Water Use
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Low
Soil pH
6.5-7.5 (neutral)
Exposure
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
  • Shade
Soil Type
Not Particular
Drainage
Good Drainage
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

Oleander is a large, evergreen shrub with an abundance of terminal flowers thoughout the summer and early fall. It makes a great hedge or screen and needs very little summer water once established. This plant is very poisonous and all parts contain the poison, especially the sap. So if you are going to prune this shrub make sure you wear gloves and do not get the sap on your hands.

Plant slightly above soil grade in unimproved soil. Tolerates poor drainage and relatively high salt content. Can add amendments  but not necessary. Water and then mulch well. This plant needs very little water once established. For faster growth can fertilze in spring. Can be pruned in earlly spring to control size and develop a busher shrub.

Birds and hummingbirds use Oleanders for habitat.

No serious diseases but plants are susceptible to scale and aphids. See UC  IPM website for control choices.

Master Gardener Comments

I have a screen of white Oleander in the very back of my yard. Very pretty all summer long. They are totally carefree and very drought tolerant. I have had them for at least 15 years and have never had a problem with them.

Varietals

N. oleander ' Little White' - 8' - 12' tall with single white flowers

N. oleander 'Petite Salmon' - 3' - 6' tall with single salmon flowers

N. oleander 'Splendens Double Pink' - 8' - 12' tall with double pink flowers

N. oleander ' Mrs Roeding' -  to 6' tall with double salmon pink flowers

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