How and when to do it, the advice to follow

Ornamental plant to color the garden or to embellish tree-lined avenues or city streets, theoleander is one of the most popular evergreen shrubs around. Native to Asia, it is a poisonous plant not that difficult to prune, but you must still keep in mind some useful and valuable tips to make it germinate in the best possible way. Let’s find out what is the most suitable period to prune the oleander, which branches it is necessary to cut and the tricks to prune it as a sapling, making the plant grow healthy and robust.

Oleander: origins and characteristics of the ornamental plant

Nerium oleander: this is the scientific name of the oleander, one of the most widespread evergreen shrubs as well ornamental plant with a thousand ways of use. It is in fact a small casket of colors that can be grown to embellish the garden or terrace of the house, but it is also frequent as an ornament of city streets and streets, as well as hedges and public flower beds. Native to Asia, the oleander grows wild especially in the Mediterranean regions and has the shape of a small shrub or sapling.

It is characterized by the intense color of its petals, from pink to red up to numerous shades of white, therefore suitable for ornamental contexts. But pay attention to what is the great defect of this colorful shrub: it is indeed very poisonous. Its toxicity is due to the presence of oleandrin, which leads to gastric disturbances and disorders on the central nervous system, as well as severe burning and redness in the hands if it comes into contact with it. Also avoid burning the dry oleander stems or any residue of its pruning, as this substance risks spreading in the air, releasing a toxic smoke and very dangerous for our health.

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When to prune oleander: the most suitable period

If you have an oleander at home, the first thing to do before pruning it is evaluate the appropriate period. The period is generally recommended after flowering, therefore at the end of the summer or the beginning of the autumn. In this phase of the year it is in fact easy to distinguish the new branches from the old ones, which therefore must be cut. Another time of the year when oleander pruning can be started is at the end of winter, when it is necessary to shorten the branches that have bloomed.

However, the months of spring are highly discouraged: it is in fact the phase in which the full flowering takes place and therefore it is practically impossible to recognize the unproductive stems from the productive ones. In fact, there is a risk of severing the branches from the growth potential.

How to prune oleander safely: the tips

The main goal of pruning an oleander is to remove all withered stems and dried flowers, as well as thinning the plant to give it a precise shape. To start the pruning process it is first of all essential to have all the necessary tools, starting with comfortable and practical gardening scissors. The most suitable are the ratchet scissors, perfect for cutting rather thick and sturdy stems.

Attention then to wear safe gloves and from the sturdy canvas, in order to avoid any contact with the poisonous plant, and remember to wash them at the end of the operation. The ideal solution would be to use disposable gloves but, if we do not have them, make sure you have at least a pair of resistant gloves. Also wear long-sleeved clothing to keep every part of your body covered. If, on the other hand, we touch the oleander plant with our hand, let’s disinfect ourselves immediately by washing it under running water: in fact, the risk of irritation is high. The advice is always to wash and disinfect any tool used, from scissors to gloves.

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Pruning oleander: how to cut the branches

Once all these useful tricks have been put in place, you can start the oleander pruning. To thin out the plant and to give it the appropriate shape, it is necessary to cut the stems for about one third of their length. The operation is mainly aimed at the parts of the oleander with a high presence of branches, which prevent air and light from entering its foliage. The solution is therefore to eliminate the innermost branches and those damaged and dry, but also those weakened or broken and which therefore can no longer grow and bloom.

It is also important to maintain a certain linearity in the stems of the plant, but it is also possible to cut them with creativity, forming original bifurcations and therefore giving your home oleander a custom look. The choice of personalizing your oleander or not also depends on the variety of the plant: if it is cultivated as a bush, the pruning must be uniform and keep its shape unchanged.

Oleander: how to make it grow and transform it into a tree

Oleander is generally grown in pots or as a plant, but many prefer to grow it as well turn it into a tree. Also in this case it is advisable to follow a very specific procedure. In fact, sapling pruning takes place on oleanders reared with this form since the beginning of their cultivation. The choice of growing the plant in the form of a tree must therefore be taken at the beginning, choosing in its first years of life a central branch and sturdy and durable enough to thicken.

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The choice of the central branch is fundamental, as well as its care over time: in this way, in fact, the shape that the oleander will have will be more similar to that of a tree than that of a common bush. The central branch in the following years goes then pruned periodicallyeliminating all the bifurcations that would risk weighing it down and making it messy.

Cultivation of oleander in pots

The flowering of the oleander as a sapling is a valid alternative to the common cultivation in pot, especially useful if you do not have enough space in the garden. In the case of cultivation in pots, the advice is to use very high and deep containers. For the rest, pruning is simple: just prune the plant after the flowering period and shorten the length of its stems, both the flowering ones and the lateral ones that fork.

Versatile and ornamental, colorful but also toxic: the a thousand characteristics of the oleander make it a unique plant of its kind. This is why it is important to take care of it through a careful pruning: these little tips will be useful for you to grow your heart plant healthy and strong.

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