Dwarf Oleanders Embraced if Planted in Right Place

Dwarf oleanders beckon from afar with soft, subtle beauty — their blooms adding a fresh, clean look to millions of Florida landscapes. One wonders how a poisonous plant can be this pretty.

Yes, all parts of dwarf oleander shrubs are poisonous if consumed. But if you plant them in the right space and feel confident they won’t be eaten, they’ll reward you with blooms throughout much of the year. Don’t let their bad-boy reputation keep you from growing these hardy evergreens. They are, after all, a Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ recommended plant suitable for planting in our area. And because of their high salt tolerance, they’re a wonderful choice for waterfront properties.

Dwarf oleanders in the back row pair beautifully with liriope, yellow maui ixora and Muskogee crape myrtle trees at this residence in Bradenton, FL.

Where to plant

Due to their toxicity, plant your oleanders in areas with limited human contact. Choose a spot in your landscape that’s away from kids and pets. (Interestingly, rabbits and deer tend to stay away from oleanders.) Since they only grow three- to four-feet tall, you can consider them for a short border, an accent cluster, a specimen plant and even in containers. They’re ideal for small-space gardens. These low-maintenance shrubs do best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Too much and they’ll get leggy.

Dwarf oleanders
A powerful bloomer almost all year long, but be thoughtful where you place them.

Caring for your dwarf oleanders

After your dwarf oleanders are installed, you can almost forget about them. They rarely need to be pruned, and you don’t have to worry about fertilizing them, either. They do require regular watering until established. But after that, you’ll find that they’ll tolerate drought better than many other plants.

A word about caterpillars

Dwarf oleanders are generally pest-free. But there’s one critter that loves to munch on them, and that’s the appropriately named “oleander caterpillar.” An infestation will quickly defoliate the plant, so keep an eye out. Predatory bugs and parasites love to devour the caterpillars, so that’s helpful. And treatments are available, too.

dwarf oleanders
These dwarf oleanders fringe a small secluded garden on Siesta Key.

A powerful bloomer with boundaries

Bottom line: Use your common sense when planting dwarf oleanders. Be thoughtful of where you place them. Watch for caterpillars. Other than that, you’re looking at a great low-maintenance option for your Florida landscape. Need professional assistance? If you live in Sarasota, Manatee or Charlotte counties, contact ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design at 941.488.8897 and let’s get your dream landscape off the ground. ArtisTree also provides HOA landscape maintenance services.

ArtisTree Landscape
Established in 1990, ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance& Design is the only independently owned, nationally ranked company of its kind in Southwest Florida.

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