Magical flowers on dark green foliage are the hallmarks of the oleander. The warmth-loving plant best spends the cold season in frost-protected winter quarters. Is there still salvation when Oleander freezes to death?

Identify frozen oleanders

Did you miss the right time to protect your oleander (Nerium oleander) from the sub-zero temperatures? Or are there changes that may have been caused by the cold when you move out of your winter quarters? The oleander plant comes from the warm Mediterranean region. It cannot tolerate temperatures below minus five degrees Celsius.

These features show that parts of the oleander have frozen:

  • Plant looks dried up
  • limp drooping leaves
  • yellowish-brownish leaves
  • individual gray colored shoots
  • Shoots do not form new leaves
Note: Changes caused by drought are often confused with frost damage.

interpret signs of life

If you discover the signs described, good advice is required. First of all, you should check whether the plant is still alive.

The “thumbnail test” is normally used as a vitality check. Since all parts of the oleander are slightly poisonous, you use a knife instead of your thumbnail.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Scratch one of the lower shoots with the knife.
  2. Is it green under the bark? Then your plant is still alive and you can start the rescue!
Note: If there is no green color under the bark, the plant is out of help. You must dispose of them.

Prune in spring after frost damage

If you notice in spring that parts of the plant have frozen, the first thing to do is keep calm.


  1. Wait for new growth.
  2. In early May, remove any wilted leaves and dead shoots. Cut back shoots that have frozen to healthy wood.
  3. Take the plant out of the old pot.
  4. Check out the roots. Cut away any frozen roots. You can recognize them by their brown discoloration.
  5. Lay the plant out on newspaper overnight to dry cuts.
  6. Place a layer of gravel or pottery shards in the new planter for drainage. Put potting soil on top. Insert the root ball and fill the pot with potting soil.
  7. Water the oleander bush well and start fertilizing a week later.
Tip: Use a clean, sharp knife or secateurs to cut. Put on gloves to avoid irritating the skin.

Protect oleanders from frost

If sub-zero temperatures have damaged the oleander bush in autumn or early winter, first place it in a protected winter quarters. In most cases, a bright and frost-free room with temperatures of around five degrees Celsius is sufficient. There he can rest until spring. If you want to overwinter your oleander outdoors , first protect the planter with warming material, such as a jute sack. Then place the bucket in a protective corner on the balcony or terrace, preferably in a covered place near a house wall.

Note: Frost-damaged plants are easy prey for pests such as spider mites or aphids in the winter quarters. Therefore, check regularly whether you see any signs of pest infestation.

frequently asked Questions

An adapted water supply is extremely important for the oleander bush, otherwise it will dry up! Water regularly in winter. The amount of water depends on the temperature of the wintering place. In warmer rooms it must receive more humidity than in a cold cellar.

Completely brown or yellowish leaves indicate cold damage. Brown spots indicate oleander canker, a serious bacterial disease. If it is not very advanced, it can be combated with a radical pruning. Clean your secateurs thoroughly after cutting to avoid endangering other plants.

The danger of night frosts is only averted after the ice saints. Pay attention to the weather report. Gradually acclimate the container plant to an outdoor space. Put the bucket back inside on cold nights.

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