How to care for an oleander bush

Updated February 21, 2017

The oleander, or Nerium oleander, is a Mediterranean shrub that thrives in warmer regions. It is a hardy, drought-tolerant shrub that prefers well-draining soils. It will grow in acidic, alkaline, loam, clay or sandy soils and tolerates soil salt. The oleander is a good choice for the gardener seeking a quick-growing privacy screen that requires minimal maintenance. It grows to between 1.8 to 5.5 metres (6 to 18 feet) high. The oleander also provides colour from spring to autumn with its blossoms, which come in white, yellows, pinks or reds.

Water mature plants about once a week during the summer and about once a month during the winter. Younger plants will require more irrigation, yet allow the soil to dry out between watering. Direct water to the roots and don't overwater.

Fertilise the oleander once a year. Use a nitrogen, low or phosphorous-free fertiliser. Follow the fertiliser's instructions for application.

Prune the oleander during the spring. Remove suckers at the base of the plant. Shape the bush to look like a tree, rounded shrub or other shape.


Plant oleanders at least 1.8 metres (6 feet) apart when planting a row for a screen.


The oleander is extremely poisonous.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertiliser
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About the Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.