Watering oleander: how to find the right measure

An oleander in a tub is not for the faint-hearted! Unlike most Mediterranean potted plants, the flowering shrub needs plenty of water in the summer. How to water your oleander correctly.

Flowering oleander

Good care the oleander rewards with a rich flowering

Oleander is one of the most beautiful Mediterranean flowering shrubs. Even in our country, the plants can grow to a stately size in a tub and, if well overwintered, will provide many years of flowering enjoyment. An important condition: you water your oleander sufficiently.

Oleander originates from the Mediterranean region and is popular and appreciated worldwide as a tub plant because of its dark green foliage and its abundance of flowers. Unlike most Mediterranean plants, however, the evergreen shrub is not a friend of drought – quite the opposite. In its natural habitats, such as riverbanks and riparian forests, there is an abundant supply of water, even flooding at times. Its large leaves evaporate a lot of liquid at high temperatures, which the shrub must absorb again through the roots. The oleander is therefore a water-loving flowering shrub, which requires appropriate care, especially when grown in containers. You need to pay attention to the following points when watering oleander.

Oleanders need plenty of water. Therefore, water the flowering shrub daily in spring and fall, and at least twice on hot summer days. In winter, one or two waterings per week are sufficient. Use warmed, chalky tap water and water your oleander directly on the soil or in the saucer – wetness from above harms the plant.

Oleander shrubs on a balcony

Oleander shrubs decorate terraces and balconies in summer

The right pot for your oleander

Oleander roots shallowly and stretches its roots out in all directions in search of water. Therefore, when planting oleander, use a sufficiently large pot. The appropriate amount of clay loam substrate helps retain water after watering, thus supporting adequate water supply. Absolutely essential for the culture of oleander as a tub plant is a generously sized pot saucer with a high edge. Excess water is collected here and is available to the flowering shrub even after watering. Unlike usual, the overflowing water in the oleander is not poured away, but remains as a supply reserve in the saucer. This has the additional advantage that the fertilizer contained in the water is not lost through leaching, but can also be absorbed later by the plant.

Oleanders need a sufficiently large pot

Place your oleander in a sturdy, sufficiently large pot

How much water does oleander need?

Oleander is one of the few plants where you don’t have to worry about waterlogging when watering it. The shrub tolerates regular flooding without problems and suffers more from drought than from wetness. For watering frequency, this means that oleander in the spring and autumn must be watered daily, and on hot summer days at least twice (in the morning and evening), sometimes three times. In the winter quarters, the watering frequency is reduced to once or twice a week. As a rule of thumb, once the water in the saucer is completely absorbed, you can water again. In winter, the root ball may also dry out slightly once in a while.

Watering oleander

Water oleander in the summer penetratingly and never from above over the branches

Watering oleander correctly: This is how it’s done

Oleander likes to stand with its feet in water, but it is not a bog plant! That is, oleander does not tolerate acidic soil and soft rainwater in the long run. What is recommended for other plants does not apply to oleanders. Use warmed, chalky tap water to water the Mediterranean beauty. This ensures that the soil in the pot does not overacidify, which would be bad for the oleander. The consequence of a too acidic substrate are pale yellow leaves with green veins, it comes to a so-called chlorosis. Always water oleander directly on the soil or directly into the saucer and never shower over the shrub from above. Wetness from above damages the sensitive flowers and can promote the development of oleander cancer. Oleander is also sensitive to temperature changes, so do not water with cold water on warm days! In spring, warmed water also stimulates the formation of flowers on the plant.

Practice video: Pruning oleander properly

With the right care and watering as needed, oleanders grow into magnificent flowering shrubs that exude Mediterranean flair in the garden and on the balcony. But the pruning of the plant also plays an important role here. After wintering, or more precisely in spring, it is time to cut back the old flower shoots. How to proceed correctly, we show you in this video.

Oleanders are lovely flowering shrubs that, planted in tubs, decorate many terraces and balconies. The plants thank the right pruning with vigorous growth and lush blooms. In this video we show you the best way to do this.
MSG/Camera: Alexander Buggisch/ Editing: CreativeUnit: Fabian Heckle

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