Those who have ever rested on the azure shores of the South Coast, can not help but recognize this evergreen shrub, which grows in abundance throughout the southern coast of the famous resort. Nerium or Oleander is a relict plant belonging to the family Kutrovaceae. Translated from Latin, its name means “damp” or “wet”, which indicates its special preferences for moisture-saturated places of growth. Nerium is poisonous, like all members of its family, but is often grown as a houseflower, and in the southern latitudes it can often be found in household plots, where it can take the form of a tall tree.
General description, photos of the plant
Nerium (Oleander) is a beautifully flowering evergreen shrub with straight but flexible, hard-to-woody shoots. The foliage has an elongated lanceolate shape, three-whorled, leathery. The branching is strong, uniform. The homeland of oleander is the Mediterranean. Varieties of this ancient plant culture can vary greatly in size, some types of Nerium with good care, even at home, can reach significant sizes. The flowers are large, decorative, have white, yellow, as well as pink or red color and their intermediate tones.
They emit a delicate aroma with a slight bitterness, at the same time reminiscent of vanilla and almonds. The shape of the inflorescences formed in the apical part of the shoots is paniculate or cohosh-shaped, there are species with single flowers. Flowering lasts from mid-summer to September. European breeders are constantly breeding new varieties of this ornamental crop, giving a richer palette of colors and shapes, including terry varietal varieties.
For growing a flowering bush at home, only ordinary Nerium is used, corresponding to the description given above. The best varieties of oleander vulgaris with photos:
- “Variegata” is a terry variegated varietal species with yellow buds. The petals have an elongated shape.
- “Hardyred” are scarlet inflorescences of semi-terry type.
- “Cardinal” is a variety with simple burgundy flowers.
- “Soleil Levant” – is valued for large buds of a bicolor color – pink and yellow core.
- “Emilie Salut” – is characterized by lush flowering, flowers are large, salmon color.
For planting in the open ground, fragrant oleander or a variety called Indian Nerium is often used.
It is a large-sized shrub growing in southern favorable conditions to the shape and size of a tree up to 4 m high. Along with pure flowers of the base color, variegated varieties are also bred.
A low-growing species native to Asian countries. A characteristic difference is single inflorescences that are not collected in a brush or whorls.
Care at home
In places of natural growth, oleander likes to settle in close proximity to water. The native climate for growing shrubs is subtropical. Care for a room specimen should be based on these preferences.
A large amount of light is one of the main conditions for obtaining a densely blooming beautiful home specimen. It is advisable to place a pot with oleander on the windowsill, and not in the back of the room. At the same time, if the window has a northern orientation, then the flower will need additional illumination. With insufficient lighting, oleander not only may not bloom, but will also begin to shed its foliage. In addition to bright light, the plant needs a high-quality influx of fresh air, so the room in which it grows needs to be ventilated more often.
A copy bought in the store recently, you need to accustom to bright light gradually. Most likely, before that, it grew under fluorescent lamps.
Oleanders are very heat-loving, they do not tolerate strong and, especially, sharp drops in temperature. In the warm season, the flower can safely tolerate heat in conditions of medium or even low humidity with a sufficient influx of fresh air. The comfortable temperature of the summer content is + 20 … + 28 C. In winter, it must be lowered to + 15 … + 18 C. Thermometer readings below + 8C are permissible only in case of a gradual decrease. Sudden jumps in temperature down can affect the plant very negatively.
The water that is used to irrigate oleander should be soft and warm, warmer than the surrounding air in the room. This is especially true of the winter season. In spring and summer, the need for regular watering is determined by the drying of the topsoil layer. At this time of year, the plant is watered abundantly so that a small amount of water remains in the pallet. In hot weather, you do not need to pour it out. If it is cool outside and indoors, the excess water must be drained. With the onset of autumn, watering should be done carefully, not immediately after the top layer of soil dries. After that, it is better to wait another couple of days, but not allowing the soil lump to dry out completely.
The humidity requirements of oleander are not quite common. In spring and summer, it is not necessary to spray the plant, enough water that will remain in the pallet after watering. In winter, on the contrary, the flower needs systematic spraying, because in the conditions of dry and cold air of the heated room, the tips of the leaves begin to dry out.
Fertilization is traditionally carried out only in spring and summer with a frequency of once every 2-3 weeks. You can alternately use mineral complexes and high-quality mature organic matter. To do this, choose cloudy not hot days. It is recommended to fertilize about half an hour after watering.
How do I prune an oleander?
Pruning of a house specimen is mandatory, otherwise flowering will be scarce or will not occur at all, since flower buds are laid on the tops of young shoots. Proceed to pruning and formation of the crown of oleander after the end of flowering. Stretched branches should be shortened by half or a third. In addition, vegetative shoots growing under flower buds are subject to mandatory removal. If left behind, they will inhibit the development of the plant.
Young specimens need annual transplanting, for the ages such a need arises every 3 years. Regardless of the schedule, mandatory transplantation requires bushes, the root system of which has begun to dislodge from the pot. The best time to transplant oleander is in late May or early summer.
With forced transplantation of a flower, the root system of which has become too voluminous compared to the above-ground part and does not fit in the pot, part of the roots should be cut. Each cut is mandatorily treated with charcoal dust. With a decrease in the volume of the root system, it is necessary to reduce the volume of the soil to be placed, so it is sometimes advisable to insert an old pot. The arrangement of a high-quality drainage layer is mandatory.
For very large specimens, it is permissible to replace the top layer of soil instead of transplanting.
Toxicity of oleander
All parts of the plant have in their composition a strophanthin-like substance, which is a poison for humans and animals. It is not recommended to grow oleander in a house where there are small children. It is also necessary to exclude his contact with pets. After finishing work with the flower, hands should be thoroughly washed with soap and water. When parts of the plant get inside, the following signs of poisoning can be observed: vomiting, heart rhythm failures, a feeling of lack of air, in severe cases – respiratory arrest. If there are even small abrasions on your hands, you must refrain from working with this plant.
How to propagate oleander?
Vegetative and regenerative (seed) methods of reproduction are available.
Oleander seeds quickly lose their germination, so they should be sown immediately in the year of their collection. Seed material requires pre-sowing preparation. First, it is placed for half an hour in a solution of a systemic fungicide or a pink solution of ordinary potassium permanganate. This is followed by soaking in an aqueous solution of zircon of warm temperature for 2-3 hours. The prepared seeds are evenly distributed on the surface of the soil, composed of sand and vermiculite with the addition of charcoal. And then they are filled from above with a thin layer of the same substrate. For germination, the container is placed in a warm, even hot place and regularly moistened. At a sufficiently high temperature, seedlings will appear after 10 days. In a cold place, the seeds will germinate for a long time or rot, without sprouting.
Seedlings that appear need good lighting, depending on the time of year, additional illumination with phytolamps may be required. Young seedlings also require systematic spraying. After the formation of the second pair of true leaves, the care of oleander seedlings is similar to adult plants. When growing seedlings, one should not forget about regular ventilation without drafts.
When planting oleander with self-collected seeds, hereditary traits can be lost already in the first generation.
Propagation of oleander by cuttings
As a rule, shoots remaining after pruning and formation of the bush are used as cuttings. Planned harvesting of cuttings is recommended in spring or autumn. Their recommended length is about 15 cm. Cuts are treated with charcoal dust, after which you need to wait until they are completely dry.
For rooting, you can use perlite, a sand-peat mixture or finely sparked claydite. Moisture of the soil mixture should be moderate. It is permissible to root cuttings in water with the addition of charcoal to it in order to avoid decay. The formation of the roots will take about a month, after which it will be possible to transplant a new oleander seedling into a flower pot.
Possible growing problems
- Oleander does not bloom. Some reasons for the lack of flowering have been discussed above. Most often, they consist in low-nutrient soil, poor lighting or improper selection of the size of the flower pot.
- The tips of the leaves dry out. The reason is dry air, you need to take measures to increase humidity.
- Leaves crumble. Oleander gets rid of leaves in low light.
From the leaves of oleander vulgaris, substances used in the production of medicines are obtained. Their action is aimed at helping patients with functional disorders of the cardiovascular system.
In the summer, tub oleander can be taken out of the room to the site or to the balcony, thanks to this it will bloom especially lushly and brightly.