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Oleander Flower: Meaning, Usage & Growing Guide

Do you know that the Oleander flower meaning is associated with romance, desire, destiny, and endless love and charm in Greek mythology?

The Oleander is an evergreen shrub mainly grown for its thin leaves and abundant, whorled flowers.

Generally, the Oleander flower blooms in terminal clusters with shades of pink, white, or yellow during summer and spring. It has cultural significance in Western languages, including Greek, and serves as medication against microbial and fungal diseases. But it can be poisonous also.

Group of Oleander flowers
Group of Oleander flowers (Source: Instagram)

Are you worried that your Oleander has stopped blooming during the flowering period? Don’t worry! We will cover all the queries related to the Oleander flower.

Meaning & Symbolism of Oleander Flower

Since ancient times, the Oleander has played a significant role and figures in Greek, Christian, and Hebrew mythology. 

The name of the Oleander flower originates from the Greek story of Leander, whose love let him drown after a heavy tempest.

Leander wooed a beautiful maiden, and every night he swam across the Strait of Gallipoli to meet her.

One night, he hit a tempest and drowned, and his beloved wandered the beach wailing, “oh Leander, oh Leander.”

Overwhelmed by grief, she took the flowers from his hand and cultivated them, and the flowers became as a symbol of their love since then.

Oleander flowers
Oleander flowers (Source: Instagram)

Eventually, she discovered his body washed up on shore, grabbing flowers in his hand.

Besides, Oleander stands for “beware!” or caution, representing Western culture’s complex nature of love and romance.

However, Chinese people cultivate Oleander and cut Oleander flowers to illustrate their work.

How Often Does Oleander Flower?

Oleander belongs to the Nerium genus and is native to the Mediterranean, Iran, India, and southern China.

Oleander flowers bloom from early summer until mid-autumn (April–September) and throughout the year if grown in USDA zones 8- 10, and blossoms will last for a few months.

Nerium oleander flowers in the stem
Nerium oleander flowers in the stem (Source: Pixabay)

Oleanders start flowering at the beginning of spring, especially in March and last into fall. The flower also blooms on to new growth, but that growth must be of a certain age.

Oleanders are clumping perennials that grow in full sun to partial shade, but if kept in deep shade, Oleander flowering will diminish. 

However, Oleanders are also known as drought resistant and light feeders, so you can maintain them if you allow them to bloom indoors.

Overview of Oleander Flower 

With a shrubby habit, Oleander produces flowers that are borne in terminal clusters of 2 inches single or double blossoms at the end of branches. 

Flower colors range from pure white through peach, salmon, pale-yellow, and pink to deep burgundy red.

You may also visit the table to learn more about the Oleander flower!

FactorsSpecifications
Flower size 1-3 inches
Flower ShapeFunnel
Flower Petals4-5 petals/rays
(Single, and hose-in-hose or true double)
Flower ColorPink, Burgundy Red, White, Yellow, Salmon, Peach
FragranceSmells like Vanilla
Flower characteristicsvery showy; emerges in clusters on terminal cymes
Blooming SeasonSummer- mid-autumn (April–September)
All through the year
Flower spanFew months
UsesHedge, Privacy screen and ornamental
PollinationDeceit Pollination & Self Pollination
ToxicityToxic to both humans and animals

Oleander also owns corolla’s that are in funnel form containing a slender tube and attach stamens below the throat.

When the flower reaches maturity, it bears a 3 to 6 inches elongated pod in summer and fall. These pots represent a fruit, a long narrow pair of follicles that tear up at maturity to release numerous downy seeds.

Since the Oleander is a hermaphroditic flowering shrub, each plant has female and male flowers.

These flowers adopt a tactic known as deceit pollination, but many plants “reward” pollinators with nectar for visiting and pollinating flowers.

You can also do hand pollination if you do not wait for the plant to do itself naturally.

How To Make Oleander Plant Flower?

Oleanders bloom with minimum care throughout the year, so you do not need to go overboard to achieve the flowers. 

However, you may need to consider the following requirements to make your Oleander plant flower.

  • Oleander prefers full sun of 6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day or partial shade under direct sunlight for 2-6 hours.
  • You can water the white Oleander once every three days during spring and summer but avoid watering deep soak around the root ball.
  • The plant may also need a temperature ranging from 15 to 20 °F. 
  • Maintaining the humidity above 40% will be fine. 
  • You will see the plant best blooming in heavy clay to well-drained sand with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5.
Oleander flowers in the stem
Oleander flowers in the stem (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
  • You can offer fertilizer with 10-30-20 , 0-52-34 which are lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus and potassium for bloom development.
  • Also, it will be needed to pull out the caterpillar Oleander with your hands by wearing gloves and dispose of it properly. For aphids and scale insects, you can use insecticides to treat them.
  • Prune the infected leaves if you see leaf spot disease and drench your Oleander with insecticidal soap to treat sooty mold.

Uses of Oleander Flower

Oleander boasts thick lance-shaped opposite leaves and multi-colored flowers, which can serve ornamental or decor value.

Besides the entire plant, Oleander flowers also solely serve in medication production. 

The article published by Society For Tropical Plant Research has revealed the following medical uses of the Oleander flower. 

  • Oleander Flower is used in the treatment of microbial and fungal diseases.
  • It possesses insecticidal and antifeedant properties against the diamondback moth.
  • The essential oil extracted from the flower showed antitumor activity on the cell lines.
  • It also shows up antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus.
  • It can also help destroy the larvas of mosquitoes.

Is Oleander Flower Poisonous?

Oleander flowers can be toxic to humans and animals, so if you own pets or have children around the house, you need to care for them.

1. Toxic to Humans

The plant is so toxic that even drinking water from a vase with a bloom might produce a harsh response.

A journal article published in National Center for Biotechnology Information revealed that Oleander contains toxin called cardiac glycosides, which can lead to severe effects when consumed.

It also reveals that Pink Oleander poisoning can cause delirium, lethargy, dizziness, sleepiness, and headaches, and seizures may also occur on occasion, followed by a comma.

Lab test
Lab test (Source: Pexel)

Besides, metabolic acidosis is a possibility where there is a build-up of acid in the body. Also, blurred vision or changes in color perception may develop in rare cases. 

Prolonged contact with the sap may cause skin irritation, dermatitis, and eye inflammation.

An article from the National Library of Medicine has also revealed that consumption of Oleander results in gastrointestinal symptoms and cardiac abnormalities.

Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, excess salivation, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

Likewise, Oleander may cause Tachy-Brady syndrome in addition to slowed conduction and heart block.

2. Toxic to Animals

According to ASPCA, Nerium Oleander can be toxic to dogs, cattle, sheep, cats, goats, camelids, budgerigars, rabbits, and horses. 

The Oleander flower contains cardiac glycosides, inhibiting the sodium or potassium ATPase pump, which can cause hyperkalemia and increased intracellular calcium.

This can lead to early depolarization, cardiac irritability, and arrhythmias. The glycosides also reduce sympathetic tone and induce vagal tone, resulting in bradycardia and heart block.

Cat around Houseplants
Cat around Houseplants (Source: Instagram)

If ingested the flower of Oleander, the following symptoms may develop in the pets.

  • Vomiting and diarrhea 
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blood pressure changes 
  • Neurological signs (lethargy, depression, ataxia, tremors, seizures)
  • Dehydration
  • Shock

Conclusion

Oleander is a great flowering shrub that can brighten up your space if you allow the plant to bloom. Also, the Oleander flower has multiple medical benefits letting the decor value alone.

However, the flower contains cardiac glycosides, which can be toxic to humans and pets, so you need to be aware of the symptoms formed by the toxins.

I have covered all and hope the plant parents like you can easily escape the difficulties if anything happened.

Good Luck!

If you own other houseplants, you may also learn about Philodendron flower, String of pearls flower, Jade plant flower, Spider plant flower.

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