Oleander (Nerium oleander) is an evergreen shrub grown for its attractive leaves and abundant, whorled flowers. Some types of oleander shrubs can be pruned into small trees, but their natural growth pattern produces a mound of foliage as wide as it is tall. Many varieties of oleander plants are available in commerce. This means that you can select the types of oleander shrubs with the mature height and blossom color that work best in your backyard. Read on for information about oleander varieties.
Different Kinds of Oleander Plants
Oleanders look something like olive trees with blossoms. They can grow from 3 to 20 feet (1-6 m.) tall and from 3 to 10 feet (1-3 m.) wide. The blossoms are fragrant and different kinds of oleander plants produce different color flowers. All oleander plant types are relatively low maintenance, however, and the shrubs are popular with gardeners in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11.
Many oleander varieties are cultivars, varieties developed for special characteristics. Currently, you can buy more than 50 different oleander plant types for your garden.
- One of the popular oleander plant types is the oleander cultivar 'Hardy Pink.' It rises to 15 feet (5 m.) tall and expands to 10 feet (3 m.) wide, offering pretty pink blossoms all summer long.
- If you like double flowers, you might try 'Mrs. Lucille Hutchings,' one of the larger oleander varieties. It grows to 20 feet (6 m.) tall and produces peach-hued flowers.
- Another one of the tall types of oleander shrubs is ‘Tangier,’ a cultivar that grows to 20 feet (6 m.) tall, with pale pink blossoms.
- 'Pink Beauty' is yet another of the tall oleander plant types. It grows to 20 feet (6 m.) tall and bears lovely, large pink flowers that have little fragrance.
- For white blossoms, try 'Album' cultivar. It grows to 18 feet (5.5 m.) tall in USDA zones 10 and 11.
Dwarf Varieties of Oleander Plants
If you like the idea of oleanders but the size seems too big for your garden, take a look at dwarf varieties of oleander plants. These can stay as short as 3 or 4 feet (1 m.). A few dwarf oleander plant types to try are:
- ‘Petite Salmon’ and ‘Petite Pink,’ which naturally top out at 4 feet (1 m.).
- ‘Algiers,’ a dwarf variety with dark red flowers, can get between 5 and 8 feet (1.5-2 m.) tall.
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Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.
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