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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Oleander Does Not Need Iron Fertilizer after Pruning

Q. You mentioned pruning oleanders about a month ago. Should they be pruned in January or February? Do they need iron? My dwarf oleander does not bloom as good as my white oleander. What can I do to help them bloom better?

A. It is best to prune oleanders during the winter months because they produce flowers on new growth. Avoid pruning them in the spring after new growth has started or you will cut off all the potential flowers.
Oleander can be pruned close to the ground using a technique called rejuvenation pruning. This does not work well on all shrubs, just those that sucker easily from the base.
I’ve told people to cut oleanders to the ground, a method called rejuvenation pruning, and they will come back very nicely with some applied fertilizer and water. You can’t do this to all shrubs but oleanders respond nicely. Shrubs that tend to sucker from the base respond well to this type of pruning.
Dwarf red oleander doing well in rock mulch in Las Vegas
How late in the winter to prune, December, January or February, depends on how long you want to look at short stubs sticking out of the ground. If looking at stubs is objectionable, then delay this type of pruning as late as possible but before new growth begins. On oleander this is usually early February.
Oleander seldom needs iron so you should never have to apply iron fertilizer to this plant.
Some varieties of oleander don’t grow as well as others here. Some oleanders are more sensitive to freezing temperatures than others. Some oleanders don’t tolerate desert soils as well as others.

Soil improvement might be needed by this oleander. Prune the red oleander to the ground in early February. Then, apply two, 5 gallon buckets of compost around the base of the plant followed by a three or 4-inch layer of wood chips on top of the compost. Finally soak the soil around the plant with water. Do all of this in February.

A great website to visit to learn more about oleanders is the International Oleander Society

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