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Nerium oleander

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
NAIR-ee-um OH-lee-an-der
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Evergreen, upright, and rounded shrub or small tree with thick, gummy, clear sap that grows between 6.5-19.5' tall. Its large size makes it great for use as a screening plant in coastal areas. This plant blooms in late spring to late summer. All parts of this plant are toxic; people have been poisoned with cooking skewers fashioned from twigs of this plant. Fruits are nonornamental.

This plant dies in the winter in zone 7 and the upper bound of zone 8. It does best in the lower bound of zone 8 and zone 9. It grows best in sun to partial shade and well-drained and fertile soil, although it is adaptable to many soil conditions including poor soil. It is intolerant of low temperatures at or below 0 degrees and may be damaged by cold winters. Prune back damaged and dead branches once winter passes. If needed, it can be severely pruned.  This shrub is highly deer and salt-tolerant, including salt spray, and is heat, drought, wind, air pollution, and poor soil tolerant.  It has a rapid growth rate. It has pest and disease problems.

ALL PARTS OF THIS PLANT ARE HIGHLY TOXIC AND MAY BE FATAL.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves are opposite or in whorls of 3 or 4
  • Fruit is a pair of follicles that have splits on the seam
  • Shiny, stout, green stems
  • Linear-lanceolate leaves are 4-7" long and less than an inch wide
  • Showy, terminal, 5-petaled flowers that are 1-1.5" in size and are in cymes
Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Petite Pink'
    Dwarf form with light pink flowers
'Petite Pink'
Tags:
#purple#fragrant#evergreen#yellow#poisonous#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#orange#shrub#purple flowers#pink flowers#yellow flowers#salt tolerant#tough plant#orange flowers#air pollution tolerant#salt spray#cpp#wind tolerant#deer resistant#fantz#poor soils tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Petite Pink'
    Dwarf form with light pink flowers
'Petite Pink'
Tags:
#purple#fragrant#evergreen#yellow#poisonous#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#orange#shrub#purple flowers#pink flowers#yellow flowers#salt tolerant#tough plant#orange flowers#air pollution tolerant#salt spray#cpp#wind tolerant#deer resistant#fantz#poor soils tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Nerium
    Species:
    oleander
    Family:
    Apocynaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, Asia
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Screening
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer resistant
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 6 in. - 19 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Fruit Type:
    Follicle
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are a slender pair of pod-like follicles that are 5-7" long, green, and have small, fringed seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are white, pink, red, lilac, purple, orange, salmon, apricot, or yellow. They are 5-petaled, single, and hose-in-hose or true double. Corolla's are funnelform and have a slender tube. Stamens are attached below the throat. The inflorescence is a terminal cyme and grow all over the plant. They bloom from late spring to late summer.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are opposite or in whorls of 3 or 4, simple, linear-lanceolate, sharply acute, entire, and are 4-7" long. Leaves are prominent pinnate midribs above and short petioles. They are leathery and dark green in color.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Strong cane-like stems. Twigs are stout and shiny green.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Design Feature:
    Screen/Privacy
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Heat
    Pollution
    Poor Soil
    Salt
    Wind
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN! Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, dizziness, slowed pulse, irregular heartbeat, dilation of pupils, bloody diarrhea, and drowsiness, depression, death. Poisonous either fresh or dry.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Cardiac glycosides: nerioside and oleandroside; saponins, and other unknown compounds
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems