Monday, April 9, 2012

Oleander 4/9/2012
What a gorgeous showy display the oleander is giving this time of year.  It's only been a few weeks and that single flower has turned into a tree full of blossoms.  This got me to do some research.  I knew how to care for the oleander based on experience and the little card that came with it when I first got it 11 years ago.  However, there was a lot I did not know about Nerium oleander.  We'll get to all of that after we discuss the care.  It has average watering needs and prefers full sun.  The soil pH should be from 6.1 (mildly acidic) to 7.8 (mildly alkaline).  I use a spring application of all purpose time-released fertilizer every year.  Otherwise, I mostly ignore this flowering shrub/tree.  It's a really pretty plant that's deer resistant.  It got some sort of caterpillar action one day when it was inside the lanai, so it got moved outside.  I planted it next to the house in the back part of the house where we could kind of forget about it and not worry about it and quarantine it and the caterpillars from my healthy plants inside the lanai.  It recovered just fine, but forever lived with the nickname of "The Charlie Brown tree" by my husband after the sad looking Christmas tree in the Peanuts cartoon.  The name does not fit in any way, shape or form any longer, but it did very much at the time. 
Let's talk a little about what I learned about oleanders.  These plants are extremely poisonous.   I was not aware when I got this plant.  In fact, I'm not sure if I bought it myself or my parents got it for me.  I know we all thought it was a beautiful, flowering shrub.    "Oleander poisoning occurs when someone sucks nectar from the flowers or chews leaves from the oleander or yellow oleander plant. Poisoning can also happen if you eat honey made by bees that used the oleander plant for nectar."1  The poisonous toxins made by this plant are contained in all parts of the plant: 

Close up of Oleander 3/17/2012

  • Flowers
  • Leaves
  • Stems
  • Twigs
Based on what I read about this plant, I have mixed feelings about this plant.  While it is quite beautiful, it is really a hazard to have around.  In order to collect seeds, one must wear gloves.  To remove the plant, the crown of roots must be completely dug out.  I read several stories of people and their pets who have died from this plant.  The toxins affect the heart, like the foxglove plants.  I will have to think on this one for a while before I make up my mind.

No comments:

Post a Comment