|Oleander as a tee form|
Q. I am on the landscaping committee in my community and we have had several people question us about the oleander shrubs in the community. Are they allowed or have they been banned like the olive trees?
A. No, they have not been banned. This poor plant has been so maligned over the years it is incredible. It has been singled out as a scary plant of some sort. It’s the “Bad Boy” of desert landscapes.
Yes, it is poisonous along with 100 other plants in our landscape. Is it more poisonous than others? Yes, it is more poisonous than many others but there are other landscape plants that are equally or even more poisonous than oleander. We just don’t talk about them.
Does its pollen cause allergies? No. The pollen is relatively heavy and sticky and does not travel very far on wind currents. Oleanders do not rely on wind for pollination but instead rely on pollinators like bees.
Frequently, plants with very showy flowers are typically insect-pollinated. Plants which do not have showy flowers frequently are wind pollinated and their pollen must travel long distances. Acacia, Mesquite contribute much more to allergy problems than oleanders.
Oleanders are beautiful plants for the desert and can take a tremendous amount of abuse. However, they are also high water users when watered to keep them full and showy. They are tough, drought tolerant plants if not given enough water or under watered.
When water is reduced, their visual quality is reduced considerably but they can survive.