Almost every plant lover who looks at the sun-loving oleander immediately feels under its spell. The impressive Mediterranean plant is wonderfully suited to bring the feeling of sea and sun into your own garden or into the house in winter. The charismatic flowers, ranging from white, salmon, pink to red, exude a feel-good atmosphere and holiday mood. The oleander, which is also popularly known as rose laurel, may thrive particularly under conditions that are similar to the Mediterranean region. This means that it needs a sufficiently airy location both in summer and in winter. In the cold season, however, the oleander must definitely spend the winter indoors or in a greenhouse.

Sunny, warm and sheltered from the rain

Oleander ( Nerium oleander ) prefers a sunny location, such as in the Mediterranean. Even if the flowering plant adapts perfectly to dry habitatscan, the evergreen shrub prefers locations with water resources. In order for the rose laurel to be able to develop its magnificent flowers in full size and as large a number as possible, it needs a location that is protected from wind and rain, but is still warm and sunny. It thrives best and feels comfortable on the southwest or south side of a house. There it also receives solar heat in the evening, which is stored by the house wall during the day. Abundant flowering naturally depends on ambient warmth and the duration of sun exposure. Accordingly, it flowers less in rainy summers than in sunny summers. Oleander is very suitable for planting in tubs and large troughs, which can be placed on the terrace, balcony or garden lawn in summer. In winter, however, the tubs must be brought into the house.

Cut cuttings in summer

If you would like to place several sun-seeking oleander bushes on the balcony and terrace, you can multiply the plants yourself and should pay attention to the following:

  • The ideal time for this is the summer months.
  • Only young shoot tips without leaves and without buds are suitable for propagating oleander cuttings, so that all energy can flow into the development of roots.
  • To do this, small stalks are cut from the plant with well-sharpened pruning shears or a knife, below the second or third leaf base.
  • The lower leaves are then removed from the stem.
  • The cuttings cut in this way are now placed in well-drained soil or placed in a container with water.
  • The cuttings should now get a bright place, but without direct sunlight.
  • After a few weeks, when the cuttings are well rooted, they can be repotted individually into larger pots.
  • Unsuitable, however, are shoots that are already produced during the annual cut after the winter, as they cannot take root so well.

A footbath for the rose laurel

As with all plants, the water consumption of the oleander also depends on the solar radiation and the heat surrounding the plant. In winter it is sufficient to check how moist the root ball is once a week, as the oleander is cool during this time and does not need much water. Water only when the root ball is dry. In the summer months, on the other hand, the oleander should be watered plentifully. The pot plant is best placed in a saucer from which the roots can also absorb nutrients from the water that has leaked out. On very hot days, the beautiful rose laurel has to be watered up to three times a day, as it needs a lot of water during this time. If water remains in the coaster, it is always sufficiently supplied.

It is often believed that oleanders must be watered with rainwater in both summer and winter. However, this is a misconception. What is good for other plants is harmful to the oleander. Over time, the soil in the bucket becomes acidic and the plant can no longer absorb the nutrients it contains. Deficiency symptoms are then the result.

Put away and overwinter

Oleander should always get into its winter quarters as late as possible. The beautiful shrub should only be brought to a sheltered location near a house wall in late autumn and wrapped with some fleece. Frosts can also occur on cold days in late autumn, but these do not pose too much of a problem for the oleander, as it can withstand temperatures as low as minus five degrees Celsius. In this way, the hibernation of the oleander can be delayed. This makes the oleander more robust and hardy. Only in late autumn or early winter is the rose laurel brought to its brightest possible winter quarters. A temperature of zero to ten degrees Celsius is ideal for the winter. At the latest when severe frosts or permafrost prevail, the oleander should already be in its winter quarters.

An unheated and bright basement, a garage or a cold conservatory is suitable for wintering. Sufficient ventilation is very important so that any plant diseases and pests that like to settle in closed rooms when the plants overwinter can not appear in the first place. It is best to keep an eye out for pests or possible diseases during the weekly watering. This way you can react in time and treat the plant as quickly as possible.

Get out of winter and into spring

In spring, the oleander can be removed from its winter quarters, either in early or late spring, depending on the type of hibernation. Plants that have been able to hibernate at a temperature of less than ten degrees Celsius can be put outside at the beginning of April. Any night frost does not bother oleanders even shortly after hibernation, because they have retained the hardening they acquired in autumn and winter. If the rose laurel was overwintered warmer because no cold place was available, the plant often begins to shoot and grow again in late winter. This oleander plant should not go outside that early, but only after the ice saints.

No matter how the plants overwinter, they should all be slowly reaccustomed to being outdoors. After clearing them out, they are first placed in a shady place and not yet in full sun. There they can get used to the outdoor lighting conditions again.

Hungry flowering bush

  • As a heavy feeder, oleander has a particularly high nutrient requirement and is particularly hungry.
  • From the beginning of March to the end of September you should fertilize once or twice a week with liquid fertilizer for potted plants to ensure the plants develop well.
  • The fertilizing begins immediately after clearing out the winter quarters.
  • Especially after the winter, the oleander needs strengthening nutrients for a good start into the new growth period.
  • However, the first fertilization should only take place when the oleander is really active, which can be seen from the stronger and dark green leaves.
  • If you don’t want to fertilize weekly, you can use a long-term fertilizer that is tailored specifically to potted plants and provides the plants with optimal nutrients for at least ten months.
  • In autumn, fertilizer should no longer be used so that the oleander can prepare for the winter and stop growing.
  • Only well wooded shoots are accordingly frost hardy.
  • In winter there is no fertilizer at all, since the plants then do not need any nutrients.

If an oleander plant is accidentally over-fertilized, this is not so tragic, even if the leaves turn brown and leaf edge necrosis occurs. The fertilizer is then simply washed out of the soil with water. After that, there is no more fertilization for the time being, so that the plant can recover and develop healthy leaves again.

Cut plants properly

Oleander plants need an annual topiary, which is not carried out in winter, but after clearing in spring until midsummer. A third of the shoots are cut off close to the ground. Inflorescences themselves are not cut off, since at their tips there are rudiments for new flowers. The key to healthy and, above all, flowering plants lies in the ratio of how far into old wood and younger areas you cut. New flower buds develop on branches formed the year before.

Before the oleander plants overwinter, pruning is not recommended, even if it seems useful. The roots are active all year round and would then react with wild shoots. And especially in winter, oleanders need as much space as possible to hibernate. It therefore does not require any further branches, which would only limit the space.

pests and diseases

Especially in the winter quarters, infestations with spider mites, mealybugs, aphids and mealybugs can often occur. But this can also happen in the summer or autumn quarters. Above all, spider mites like to infest plants that are in particularly protected corners.

Ladybugs are best for controlling sucking insects, especially aphids. A single one of these lovely beetles can eat up to 100 aphids in a day. 400 to 550 can even be eaten by a ladybug larva. Since these little creatures can be found almost everywhere in meadows, especially on poppies, buckwheat, yarrow, chamomile or dill, they can be collected very easily.

In addition to an infestation with sucking insects, especially in winter, there can also be an infestation with oleander canker, which can only be combated by radically cutting the diseased branches. The scissors must then be thoroughly disinfected. The cancerous growths of oleander disease, caused by bacteria, appear more frequently on the branches, while light green spots develop on the leaves. If the entire plant is affected, it must be destroyed entirely.

Attention poisonous!

Even if the oleander blooms so beautifully and there are also fragrant species, all parts of the plant are poisonous. Gloves should therefore always be worn when cutting. The cutting tools are then cleaned as thoroughly as possible. Be careful with families with children or animals. It is best to avoid planting oleanders in pots in order to avoid accidental poisoning from the outset.

Oleander, a Mediterranean beauty that belongs to the dogbane family, is one of the most popular potted plants. The beautiful plant is available in many colors. Some flowers smell wonderful. Oleander is an evergreen shrub and can grow up to four meters high if you take good care of it and spend the winter in a cool place. However, care must be taken when handling this charismatic beauty, as it is highly poisonous.

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