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How to Plant an Oleander Hedge

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Oleander (Nerium oleander) is a native evergreen shrub of northern Africa and southeast Asia that can reach 20 feet tall. It produces abundant white, pink, salmon, red or yellow flowers. Oleander is a plant that thrives in warm climates and in bright sun although it can also grow in partial shade. Its leaves grow densely on the plant, making it a good choice for hedges, accent plants and even in city gardens. It grows in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10, generally throughout the deep South, in Florida and in Texas.

Dig holes for the oleander plants 2 or 3 times the size of the root balls with a shovel. Oleander root balls are generally 6 to 10 inches in diameter.

  • Oleander (Nerium oleander) is a native evergreen shrub of northern Africa and southeast Asia that can reach 20 feet tall.

Add organic matter such as peat moss to the soil

Set oleander plant in the ground just after blooming and no later than September. Plant bushes 5 feet apart. For example, if you want a 20-foot hedge, set four plants at 5-foot intervals, to allow room for fast-growing oleander to fill in properly.

Fill in soil around plants. Create a 2 to 4 inch berm around the plants to hold in water.

Water plants thoroughly after planting. Provide supplemental watering of 1 to 2 inches per week during dry conditions.

  • Add organic matter such as peat moss to the soil Set oleander plant in the ground just after blooming and no later than September.
  • Create a 2 to 4 inch berm around the plants to hold in water.

Fertilize only if there are signs of poor nourishment, such as small leaves, light green coloring or thin flowering. If necessary, use a balanced fertilizer in early spring and then again in early fall.

Stake plants to keep them in an upright position evenly along the hedge line, if necessary.

Tip

Choose a site for the hedge. Oleander does best in full sun, but those grown in partial shade will flower less. Oleander is tolerant of sandy soil, clay soils and even salt soils.

Choose varieties of oleander that are well-adapted to your area. Keep plants moist and protected from extreme temperatures while they are waiting for transplanting.

Oleanders generally need a minimum of care. They can become “leggy” and require pruning to stay within bounds and keep their attractive appearance.

Prune after flowering to encourage the growth of new branches. Cut plants back just above the leaf nodes. New branching will occur at these points.

According to the International Oleander Society, you should remove ¼ to 1/3 of the foliage when drought threatens.

You can propagate more oleander plants by taking stem cuttings and rooting them in moist sand and peat, according to the Gardening Channel.

Warning

Do not prune after temperatures drop. It could severely damage the plant.

All parts of the oleander plant are poisonous when ingested. Avoid planting oleander where children and pets may be in contact with it.

Wear gloves when working with oleander plants, which can cause skin reactions.

Research your city’s ordinance regarding hedges planted within public right-of-ways. There may be prohibitions on height or within curves of streets or intersections.

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