How to prune Oleander

Pruning Oleander

Pruning oleander and enjoy its fragrant white, yellow, orange, pink or red flowers brings a warm, Mediterranean atmosphere to every garden, balcony or terrace. Oleander grows all over the world, with many English holidaymakers encountering this flowering shrub during their vacations abroad. This long flowering shrub is an excellent container plant and is a true asset in our English gardens. Because of its Mediterranean origin oleander is less hardy against the English winters. It is wise to bring the plants inside during the colder months. When found growing naturally in countries such as China, Portugal, southern France and Iran, this plant easily grows to about 5 metres high. When restricted to a pot, they can still grow approximately 2 to 3 metres high. If this Mediterranean beauty becomes too large or the branches around its base become bare, simply prune it back. But just how do you prune oleander?

How do you prune oleander?

How do you prune oleander? Pruning oleander is not necessary unless you feel it is growing too large. Harsh pruning can be detrimental when it flowers. If it becomes too large, cut it back until it is reduced to a more desirable size. Make sure the majority of the branches you remove is from the old wood. Take the branches back to where you desire new growth the following year using a pair of sharp, clean pruning shears. But do keep in mind that pruning oleander vigorously will mean it produces fewer blooms come next spring. Before you prune think carefully about the shape you wish to give your oleander, ensuring you cut away any excessively long shoots first. For a full, airy bush it is best not to cut any of the main branches. Leave at least a few centimetres of the side branches so that new shoots can grow on the laterals. If you have a shrub that has very long branches growing from the bottom, cut these back to different lengths, leaving the branches in the middle the longest. This way it will maintain a nice, natural shape.

When should I prune oleander?

The best time to prune oleander is in autumn. To protect your plant against the cold, bring it indoors during the winter months. You can also prune these plants in the spring, but this will affect flower formation, providing you with fewer or no blooms.

Oleander planting

Planting Oleander can be done during any season of the year. But keep in mind that it is not a hardy plant and must be brought inside during winter. After the last night of frost around mid-May, they can be placed outside once again. Position your plant in the full sun where it can enjoy the heat and high humidity. Plant oleander in a large, spacious pot with good quality potting soil. Preferably add clay, sharp sand and manure to the soil to encourage good growth. Oleanders need a lot of water, so place a large layer of shards, clay granules or gravel at the bottom of the pot so that the plant can easily absorb moisture from the soil below. To ensure a rich flowering come summer, place the pot on a large tray which has a water reserve in it so that your plant always has sufficient water.

Fertilising oleander

Oleander regularly requires a dose of manure or nutrition during its growth and flowering periods. Preferably add manure or fertiliser rich with iron, magnesium and phosphoric anhydride. Phosphoric anhydride plays an important role in the formation of flowers and is definitely recommended for your oleander.

Propagating oleander

Propagating oleander is best done via cuttings. The best month to take cuttings is in June. To take a cutting, use a sharp pair of garden shears or a knife and trim a stick to a length retaining 2 to 3 pairs of leaves. Make sure you always take your cutting just under a pair of leaves and then remove all of the lower leaves. Plant the cuttings in a mixture of sharp sand and potting soil and place them in a warm, well-lit spot. After a few weeks, the first roots should become visible. It is also possible to root the cuttings in water as well. Cuttings can be potted as soon as they have developed roots.

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