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Oleander Tree Vs Bush : Which Is Easy To Grow & Maintain?

Oleander Tree vs. Bush is a conflicting debate ongoing over the years among horticulturists due to the similar appearance between the two plants!

However, if you inspect closely, there’s a whole lot of difference between them!

Generally, Oleander trees and bushes share a common family and bear similar flowers and leaves. However, both bear notable differences based on height, shape, flowering, toxicity level, and care requirements.

Both Oleander trees and bushes are hardy in USDA zone 8 to 10 but grow differently despite similar growing conditions.

So, go through this article to find out the actual differences between similar plants, Oleander trees, and bushes.

Similarities Between Oleander Tree and Oleander Bush

Both Oleander Tree and Bush belong to the Nerium genus, a member of the Apocynaceae family.

Oleander bush on left and Oleander tree on right
Oleander trees are taller and straighter than Oleander bushes.

Usually, this low-maintenance, hardy plant has a long blooming period from spring to late fall.

  • Both trees and shrubs bear incredible, fragrant blossoms with various pink, white, and yellow colors. 
  • The leaves appear long, knife-shaped, and dark green in both tree and bush.
  • Full sunlight requirements for at least 6 hours are the same in Oleander tree and bush varieties.
  • All parts of the Oleander tree or bush are toxic and contain Oleandrin.
  • You can use tree and bush varieties to enhance the garden’s aesthetic appeal.
  • Oleander trees and bushes share common propagation methods like seeds, divisions, and stem cuttings.

Oleander Tree Vs. Oleander Bush 

Despite the similarities, Oleander trees and bushes have many noticeable differences in growth habits, appearance, and many more.

Oleander tree benefits you in renovating your garden based on their height, whereas bushes enhance your garden with density.

1. Height and Trunk

Oleander trees are very tall, reaching heights of more than 20 feet with an open canopy than Oleander bushes.

Meanwhile, Oleander bushes have a closed canopy due to their bushy appearance and reach heights of about 4-10 feet.

Moreover, the Oleander tree trunk is single and thicker, whereas the Oleander bushes have thinner and multiple trunks.

Also, the Oleander tree has a hard and smooth trunk, but the trunks are softer and fissured in Oleander bushes.

2. Difference in Shape

The shape of the Oleander tree is completely different from the bush, as the tree is straight and the bushes are irregular.

Moreover, the branches of Oleander trees are also straight, but the bushes have curved branches giving fuzzy shapes.

Overall Oleander bush has a compact shape due to the densely covered leaves, but the tree’s shape is more horizontal due to its height.

3. Flowering Differences

Although Oleander flowers look the same in trees and bushes, there is a notable difference due to the size of the plant.

Oleander tree blossoms are large and showy and are at greater heights compared to flowers in the bushes.

But, the blossoms are smaller in size and less showy, with sizes ranging from 2-3 inches. Oleander tree bears flowers of size 3-5 inches.

4. Toxicity Level

There is no specific difference in toxicity levels of the Oleander tree and Oleander bushes as both contain the same toxins.

However, Oleander trees are bigger and reach greater heights with large numbers of leaves and flowers.

Thus, this difference makes the Oleander tree more toxic than Oleander bushes, with smaller sizes and fewer leaves.

5. Care Requirements

Oleander trees and Oleander bush have similar care requirements, but you must treat them differently due to different growth habits.

On the other hand, Oleander bushes need frequent pruning due to their bushy growth, but the tree needs minimal maintenance and pruning.

  • However, pruning, watering, deadheading, pest, and disease control are comparatively easier in Oleander bushes than trees.
  • Moreover, Oleander trees are more susceptible to wind and breakage than Oleander bushes during harsh climates.
  • Furthermore, Oleander bushes also fit in bigger terracotta pots and are better for those who want to add Oleander despite enough space.

From Editorial Team

Oleander Tree vs. Bush: What To Choose?

While choosing between Oleander trees and bushes, it’s best to choose OLeander trees if you have a larger garden area.

However, Oleander bushes fit even in small spaces and are best for those with a little garden area.

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