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Oleander Flower | Is it Toxic? [And 7+ Tips to Make it Flower]

The Oleander (ow-lee-an-duh) 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 is useful against microbial and fungal diseases and offers multiple meanings. But it can be poisonous also.

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.

Oleander Flower Meaning & Symbolism 

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

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.

oleander flowers in pot
Oleander produces funnel-shaped flowers in multiple shades.

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, symbolizing their love since then.

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 the Oleander plants 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 (3-4 times a year) if grown in USDA zones 8-10, and blossoms will last a few months.

Oleanders start flowering at the beginning of spring, especially in March, and last into fall.  

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
FragranceVanilla essence
Flower characteristicsvery showy; emerges in clusters on terminal cymes
Oleander Flowering 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 flower also owns funnel-like corollas, which look like slender tubes and attach stamens below the throat.

When the flower reaches maturity, it bears a 3-6 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 shrub, each plant has female and male flowers.

How to Make Oleander Plant Flower?

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.

  • Allow full sun about 6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day or partial shade under direct sunlight for 2-6 hours.
  • Water the white Oleander once every three days during spring and summer, but avoid watering deep soak around the root ball.
  • Maintain a temperature ranging from 15-20°F.
  • Approve humidity above 40% for the indoor Oleander. 
  • You will see the Oleander best blooming in heavy clay to well-drained sand with a pH of 6.5-7.5.
  • You can offer fertilizer with 10-30-20 and 0-52-34, which are lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus and potassium for bloom development.
  • Also, it will be necessary 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 white spot disease on leaves, and drench your Oleander with insecticidal soap to treat sooty mold.

What is Oleander Flower Used for?

Oleander boasts thick lance-shaped 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 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 must 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 by National Center for Biotechnology Information revealed that Oleander contains toxins 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 occasionally occur, followed by a comma.

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. 

Oleander flowers
Oleander flower extracts help treat cardiac illness, diabetes, asthma, and more.

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

Also, the consumption of Oleander results in gastrointestinal symptoms and cardiac abnormalities.

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

Thus, it won’t be long before white Oleander flowers kill adult people. 

2. Toxic to Animals

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

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

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

From Editorial Team


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.

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