Thursday, August 5, 2010

How to Grow a New Oleander Plant

I like oleanders as a plant because they are very hearty and low maintenance.  They are awesome because they not only survive through intense Arizona summers, they love the heat.  Our oleanders flower several times throughout the year, their leaves stay green all year round, and they don’t require much water.  Another cool feature is that you have a lot of options when growing and pruning them.  We have some in front of our house that I have trimmed down like a small hedge, about 4 feet tall, in front of our kitchen window.  Then in the back yard one of our oleanders has grown into a bush maybe 12 feet tall and 10 feet across that works great to block out some of the street noise from the road next to our house.  I have even seen oleanders trimmed to grow like trees with a large single trunk.

However, some of my friends do not share the same affinity for oleanders that I do.  Their heartiness also makes them very hard to remove once they are established.  So before planting oleanders you better be certain that it is the plant you want and you are happy with the location.  Also, oleanders are very poisonous.  We have never had a problem with Jordan but you should be cautious if you have pets or little children.

Like I said oleanders flower often and will produce seed pods but the best way to propagate a new oleander plant is to take a cutting off of the existing plant.  The best time to do this is in late summer or fall.  Look for fresh shoots coming off of the branches about 6 inches long or so and cut them off close to the old branch.  The new branches will be a nice bright green like in this picture. 

Take these new growth branches you just cut and put them in a glass or vase of water and let them sit for a week or so.  Make sure the bases of the cuttings are submerged in the water and refill the container if necessary.

 After several days you should start to see little white roots growing from cut end of the clippings.  Be patient with this part.  For the first week or so you wont see any change in the clippings and may be tempted to give up, but keep giving them water and give them time to grow. 

Once these little roots are an inch or longer you can take them out of the water and plant them in the ground.  I put mine in pots so they have good soil with which to establish some serious roots and it makes it easier to make sure they have enough water.

I usually start with about 6-10 clippings.  Not all of the clippings will sprout roots and they may not all survive once they are planted so it’s good to have some extra.  I made out pretty well this time with most of the clippings surviving so far.  I’m planning on using these to grow another bush in the back yard.  I’m also trying to grow one like a tree, which I just recently planted in the front yard.  As he grows taller I’m just pruning off the lower leaves and so far it is looking promising.  Here is a picture of him in the pot before I planted him.

This one is just a few months ahead of the new little guys.  The oleanders grow very quickly, especially during the hotter months.  I’ll try to remember to post an update in a couple months to show how they are all progressing.


  1. You make this look simple! I am a green thumb
    and have had a few challenges with propagating
    oleanders! They take and then die. From error
    to errors, I have learned it's best to root
    them in water first (while keeping the water
    fresh) Thanks for your sample!

  2. I would like to thank you for your expert advise on oleanders.

  3. i have few cuttings of oleandrea in a glass of water since July, i cahnged the water once a week but until now Sept 5 2015 no sign of root coming out. I did leave 2 to 3 leaves on the top and cut them to 2 inch and removed the rest of the leaves downward. i didnt used rooting powder. I have now cavered the cuttings in a glass with newspaper to see if it work. I live in London.

    1. I'm sorry to hear that you are having difficulties. I have had batches with 0% success before. Sometimes it's just not the right time for them to grow. I'm not sure what the weather is like in London but you may still have time to try another group this fall. Remember to just cut them off at the base, right where they are growing from the established branch. You may have done too much pruning. Only perform that initial cut to give them the best shot at growing roots.

  4. Matt,
    I live in a tropical region and wish to grow my Oleanders as a privacy screen/ hedge. Any suggestions to get it to grow like that?

    1. Oleanders can make great privacy hedges! They will naturally grow leaves from the bottom of the plant to as tall as you let them grow. You'll just want to plant a series of them a few feet apart along the line where you want the hedge. Then as they grow, just trim them along the front/back and they will fill in together on the sides. Good luck!

  5. I live in Ghana and have been trying to multiple what i bought some time ago. Ghana is a tropical country with only dry and raining seasons. in the raining season, I usually propagate using the stem and either they all die or I get only one surviving. I am glad I found your post and off I go trying your method! thanks soo much. by the way I love the red flours.

  6. thanks so much for the information, i was the lucky recipient of several free curbside plants that i have literally brought back to life in a matter of 2-3 months and they are all flourishing. 2 oleanders/3 grass bushes that stem purple buds/florets/a fringe tree/a red and a white sage plant/and 2 persian limes. for fertilizer i use my discarded coffee grinds, egg shells, garden epsom salt, and for making my stonecrop or other flower plants look ever so attractive in their pots, i use discarded or never used coffee beans:) i look forward in other information and pictures you share. sincerely, stephanie aka africana aka sepha lavender