Nerium oleander is a popular evergreen shrub which is grown outside in southern Europe and America , but normally grown as a houseplant or under glass in UK.
Oleander can be grown in a container for the patio in the U.K. It is generally frost tender if grown outside, but can be put in a sunny position in container during summer months. It will flower for most of the summer if so grown. As a houseplant, it is more difficult to keep flowering for long periods.
The plant resembles a willow with its tough, narrow leaves which are grouped in threes around the sturdy stem. The plant may reach nearly 2m high, and can produce single or double flowers in a variety of pastel shades. It will need plenty of room to grow properly, but if you can give it the conditions and care it requires, you will be rewarded by a spectacular foliage and flowering plant.
Good light is required by Nerium oleander species, including some direct sun. A winter minimum of 7C. If you cannot provide these basic requirements, then maybe it is not the plant you should grow. Disappointment looms!
Water and feed regularly throughout spring and summer but reduce this to a minimum over winter. The Oleander can be stood outside during summer but try to acclimatise the plant gradually and bring it in if there is a danger of cooler nights.
Good for: The Nerium oleanders make good conservatory plants, their striking blooms are worth the wait.
Cut back the flowered stems after flowers fade. This will normally be around 10 - 2-% of the plants overall height. It will sprout from the pruning cut, so will eventually form a large head. To avoid this, Cut back some of the flowering stems to maintain a reasonably compact plant. Cut them back in sequence, or in one bold pruning session.
The main problem if grown well, is that of the ultimate size indoors.
Red spider mite and scale insects can be a problem. If not detected early enough, the scale insect will leave a stick residue on a generally sick looking plant. They are to be found under the leaves - along the main central vein. Red spider will show up as lightly mottled or pocked leaves - together with fine web formation.
Can be grown from early sown seed. For a particular plant, best to take semi-ripe cuttings and place in heated propagator mid to late summer.