When are oleanders pruned?

Tall oleander hedge

Oleanders are evergreen shrubs widely used in temperate and warm climate gardens. They produce flowers throughout the spring and summer and, in addition, they resist drought quite well once established. Nevertheless, If we let them grow at their own pace, it would have a wild -and beautiful- floral hedge.

If we are one of those people who like orderly gardens, or if we must prevent our plants from bothering the neighbors, then I will explain to you when are oleanders pruned.

Yellow flower oleander specimen

Our oleanders They are evergreen shrubs that can reach a height of 2-3 meters at most. They like the sun very much, although they can live well in semi-shade if they receive a minimum of 4 hours of direct light a day. They are really pretty plants, but every time we go to prune them it will be necessary to put on protective gloves, especially if we have to cut branches, since all its parts are toxic. For this reason, we should not ingest them under any circumstances.

Of course, and as I really like to insist on this, even if it is a dangerous species, you should not demonize it, just know it to be able to treat it correctly and, thus, enjoy it to the fullest.

When to prune oleander?

Pink flower oleander specimen

Pruning is a job that has to be done when we want it to develop in a certain way or when it is having a very 'wild' or disorderly growth. For example, when we want to have a hedge of oleanders, or we want to form it as a small tree. To do this, we will have to disinfect the pruning tools, which in this case will be very useful pruning shears for the thinner branches and a hand saw for the thicker ones, with pharmacy alcohol.

Thus, we can prune it whenever we need it as long as the plant is not in bloom. We will do the most drastic pruning at the end of winter so that it can recover better.

How is it pruned?

Oleander is a very resistant plant to pruning, in fact, its stems can be trimmed to half their height and new leaves will almost certainly sprout after a few weeks. For this reason, it is one of the most grateful, since with a minimum of care you will be able to give it the shape you like best: either as a low shrub or as a tree.

Low bush

When you want to have an oleander to use as a hedge for example, It is highly recommended (and interesting) to prune it leaving most of its stems, but with little height. This can be variable, depending on our needs and tastes. To give you an idea, if what you want is to delimit a path within the same garden, the interesting thing is that the oleander hedge is about 50 centimeters; But if you prefer it to be right in front of the wall, which already delimits the site, then a hedge of 1 or 1,5 meters is ideal.

How is it pruned? Well, the first and foremost thing is to let the plant grow to the height you want the hedge to be. During that time you simply have to take care of it correctly, that is, with moderate watering and fertilizing it from time to time in spring and summer. Once you are at the proper height, what will be done is trimming the stems once a year or every two in order to keep it at that size.

With these small prunings you will also get lower stems to sprout, so that after a very short time you will have a fairly dense hedge of oleanders.

Note: if you have bought large specimens, trim the stems to the height you want that year. From the second, you will only have to do maintenance pruning.

Little tree

You can have an oleander as a tree

Having an oleander as a tree is truly a joy, especially when it is in flower. The problem is that it is a plant that tends to pull suckers from the roots, so they have to be removed each time. But apart from that, getting it to acquire tree form is not as complicated as you might initially think.

The first pruning will of course be the most drastic; not in vain, they are usually sold already with multiple stems. From my own experience, I advise acquiring specimens that measure about 60-70cm, but they are not easy to find, so if you are not lucky, buy from younger and let them grow at your own pace for a while.

Then, You have to choose the stem that you see is stronger, which is usually the one that is more in the center of the plant, and prune the others with a handsaw or hand saw previously disinfected at ground level, and even below ground level whenever possible to make it aesthetically better. For prevention, it is interesting to put healing paste on it, as this will prevent infections.

Since then, You will only have to leave what will be the trunk of the tree without branches to the height you want, and if you see that it is necessary, give shape to the glass, which by the way is advised to be a little open.

I hope it has been useful to you 🙂.


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  1.   Moses said

    I have some oleanders next to a fence, they have to do work on it and I need to clear the area for about ten days, if I completely prune them until I leave a stump, now in November, will it come out again in spring? or will they just come out again? thank you

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Moses.

      Oleanders are very strong, but the problem is that now it's cold. This is not a good time to prune them.

      Have you not thought about tying them? I don't know what kind of works you are going to do, but instead of pruning them, you can do that, tie them like the leaves of a palm tree that are going to be planted in the ground are tied, with a raffia rope for example.

      More than anything I tell you because I do not know if they will sprout if they are pruned so much. If you live in an area where winter is mild, they might.

      Regards!