15 May 2011

Flora Focus: Oleander

This is my very favorite flower:

It's pretty simple, I know, but there's something about the way pink oleander blossoms look against the long, green leaves of the bush that I just can't get enough of. Oleanders also come in white, hot pink, and (although I've never seen it) yellow, but the light pink is my absolute favorite.

So it should come as no surprise that this was the very first plant we bought...

...and quickly planted:

But soon after, I took a closer look at the tag and realized that I had bought a petite variety, Turner's Carnival, which would only grow to 4-6 feet tall. I had planted it in front of the master bathroom window with the intention that the flowers would be visible from the shower. Since that window is about eight feet off the ground, a 6-foot plant wasn't going to work. So I've kind of been on the lookout for another light pink oleander.

The other night at Lowe's, I saw a sign advertising two-gallon oleanders for ten dollars, marked down from over twenty, so I dug around for a tall, light pink variety. The selection was very limited, but I found this:

It looked like it had been through a rough winter, had lost most of its stems, and was just beginning to grow new shoots. But I saw past its scruffiness and focused on the flowers growing on the three long, droopy branches -- and the tag, which identified it as a Hardy Pink and said it would grow to about ten feet by ten feet -- and I decided that, for ten bucks, it was worth a try. (Plus, Lowe's has a one-year warranty on plants, so it was pretty much no-risk.) And when I got to the register, it rang up at only five dollars!

I haven't decided what to do with the smaller oleander, so I left it where it was and just planted the new one next to it (because of its larger eventual size, I needed to plant it farther from the house and farther from the corner anyway):

Odd-looking plant, I know, but beautiful flowers:

If it were up to me, I'd fill up the entire back fence area with oleander after oleander, in all of the different colors, but that's a project for this fall, so we'll see....


  1. I love Oleander - looks great, native-ish - but when we planted one we ended up digging it up again because our neighbor told us it was so poisonous that it could kill my toddler. In retrospect I'd probably leave it now - and just know that I needed to watch my toddler - but then I wouldn't take the risk. They have a good selection at that over-priced garden center near your neighborhood. :)

  2. Yes -- I meant to mention that in the post, but forgot. If we ever took the bunnies outside, we wouldn't have oleander, but since we don't, and I love love love it,.... We would definitely keep an eye on any toddler-types who were playing back there (but we would anyway, right?).