Oleander Container Gardening: Tips On Growing Oleander In Containers

A potted oleander plant in the central Istrian hill town of Pican, Croatia. Nerium Oleander, an evergreen shrub or small tree from the Dogbane family Apocynaceae, is entirely toxic.
Image by Dragoncello

By Liz Baessler

The oleander is a Mediterranean plant that’s been popular throughout Europe for hundreds of years. It has a following in the southern United States and it’s starting to take hold in the north, too. It’s a perennial plant that can’t tolerate freezing temperatures, so growing oleander in containers is the only way to go in a lot of climates. Keep reading to learn more about oleander container gardening and how to grow oleander in pots.

Growing Oleander in Containers

The fact that oleander is so popular throughout Europe – where in most parts it can’t survive the winter – should give you a clue to how easy it is to grow in a container. In fact, oleander is just easy to grow in general.

When growing oleander in containers, it’s important to give them plenty of sun and adequate water. Although they can handle drought conditions when planted in the ground, container grown oleanders should be watered frequently. They will survive in some shade, but they won’t produce blossoms as spectacularly as in full sun.

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Other than that, oleander container care is very simple. Feed your plants with a simple fertilizer every other week from spring until late summer. Use a high potassium fertilizer in high summer to ensure the best possible blooming season.

When temperatures start falling in late summer, bring your container grown oleanders indoors. If your plant has gotten too large over the course of the summer, it’s okay to prune it back so it can fit indoors more comfortably. You can even root the cuttings you’ve taken during pruning to propagate new plants (Just be aware that oleander is toxic and can irritate the skin. Always wear gloves when pruning!).

Keep your plants in a cool garage or basement that won’t go below freezing during the winter. In the spring, when all danger of frost has passed, start moving your plants outside gradually. Leave them outside for one hour the first day, then an additional hour every day after that for a week. Start your plant out in partial shade, then move it to full sun once it’s had a few days to adjust to the sunlight.

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