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December 2008

QuestionI live in Hot Springs Village and have an oleander tree in a pot on our deck that I bring in each winter. While in Arkadelphia recently, I noticed a number of large oleander trees planted outside at a restaurant there. I am accustomed to seeing oleander in the ground much further south, and this was as far north as I have seen oleander planted. Can oleander survive in the ground in the Hot Springs/Hot Springs Village area, particularly if they would be in a sheltered location? My books indicate Hot Springs may be just outside the safe area.


AnswerOleander is considered marginally hardy in central Arkansas, but it has been overwintering in the ground now for several years. I have even had one overwinter in a container three years in Little Rock. We have not had a cold winter in years now, so many things are making it through that we didn't think possible. From the first taste of this winter season, we may be in for a real test, but plant your oleander in the ground this spring, get its root system well established and I think it should do fine next winter. Even if the top gets nipped back, oleander blooms on new growth and it should re-sprout from the root system.

December 2008

QuestionI have a large oleander bush that is now in a shady area and blooms very little if at all. Can I transplant it? If so, what is the proper time and can I cut back the plant to make it easier to transport?


AnswerOleander has only recently become winter hardy for us in central Arkansas. Leave the root system in-tact for winter protection and wait until late February or early March—as new growth begins in the spring before transplanting. Then, move it to an area that gets as much sunlight as possible. It does bloom on the new growth, so pruning should always be done before the growing season. Pruning to aid in transplant is not a problem.

March 2005

QuestionI have an oleander tree (about 6 ft tall now) that I move outside at the end of March every year in Fayetteville. I have over-wintered it in the garage (it has done fine) and am wondering how I prune this plant to encourage flowering. The first year it flowered nicely. It gets about 4 hours of direct sunlight and about 4 hours of dappled sunlight. I have never pruned except some suckers and
inside pointing twigs. Does it bloom on new growth or old growth? This will be the 4th year and it bloomed a little last year but less and less every year. Does it need to be fertilized? Help.


AnswerIt does bloom on the new growth, so if you are not pruning it and it is containerized, it is probably maintaining a constant size, and flowering will be somewhat limited. Also, the more sunlight it gets, the better it will bloom. Repot it this spring when you move it out--either putting it in a larger container, or replacing the old soil with fresh and breaking up any root-bound conditions. Then prune it back by one third or more. Fertilize monthly, and try to increase the light if you can. Hopefully, you will see an abundance of flowers this summer.

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