Native to the Mediterranean and Asia, thevetia (yellow oleander) is a fast-growing evergreen tree that can reach five to 20 feet at maturity. The dense narrow leaves are as long as 10 inches, and the colorful, fragrant blooms are shaped like small yellow or orange stars. Thevetia can easily be propagated by taking stem cuttings in late spring.
Fill a container with a mixture of equal parts peat moss and perlite or sand. Moisten the potting mixture so that the mixture is damp, but not soggy. Set the container aside while you take the cuttings from the thevetia bush.
Cut several four to six inch shoots from a healthy thevetia. The shoot should be flexible enough to bend and break with a snap. If the shoot is woody and won't bend, it's too mature. Shoots that bend but don't easily break are too young. Water the thevetia the day before you take the cuttings, and take the cuttings early in the morning while the bush is well-hydrated.
Strip the leaves off the bottom of the stem, and leave the upper leaves intact. Dip the cut end of the stems in powdered rooting hormone.
Plant the cuttings in the prepared container with the bottom halves under the soil and the leaves above. Several cuttings can be planted in the same container, as long as the leaves aren't touching. Spray the potting mixture lightly with water to settle the mixture around the cuttings.
Put a clear plastic bag over the container, and secure the bag with a rubber band. The plastic bag act as a miniature greenhouse, keeping the environment around the cuttings warm and humid.
Place the cuttings outdoors in a shady area. The thevetia should root in three to four weeks. Although the plastic will keep the soil damp for an extended period of time, the potting mixture should be checked often. If the potting mixture feels dry to the touch, it should be watered lightly. Never allow the soil to become soggy, as the cuttings will rot in excessive moisture.
Check the cuttings regularly. Although the plastic will keep the soil damp for an extended period of time, the potting mixture should be lightly watered if it feels dry to the touch. Never allow the soil to become soggy, as the cuttings will rot in excessive moisture.
Use an old spoon to carefully remove one or two cuttings from the potting mixture. Check for roots, then replace the cuttings. When the roots are at least three to four inches long, plant each thevetia in its own container. Any container with a drainage hole in the bottom will work.
Allow the thevetia to grow until the plants are sturdy enough to be planted outdoors in their permanent planting location. The larger the thevetia is, the more chance that the shrub will grow successfully. Allowing the shrub to grow for a few months, or even a year, will be beneficial.
Things You Will Need
- Planting container
- Peat moss
- Perlite or sand
- Powdered rooting hormone
- Plastic bag
- Rubber band
- Old spoon
- Individual planting containers with drainage holes
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