Propagate oleander: This is how it is done


Oleander is one of the most popular potted plants. Here is, how you can successfully propagate the evergreen flowering shrub.

Amateur gardeners who are willing to experiment and have a little patience, can easily propagate oleander (Nerium oleander) yourself. There are four methods: cuttings, division, grafting and growing seedlings from seeds.

How to propagate oleander?

Propagate oleander by cuttings

This method is the easiest to propagate oleander and at the same time in larger numbers. The right time to take cuttings is when the mother plant undergoes pruning, basically from spring to late summer. Pruning produces enough one or two-year-old shoots, all of which can be used.

To propagate oleander by cuttings, it is best to choose side shoots without flowers. Make sure the cuttings are about 20 cm (8 in) long and use a sharp knife to cut the lower end at a shallow angle above a leaf node. Also, remove all the leaves at the bottom. This will reduce the evaporation area and prevent the leaves from rotting in the water.

Now the cuttings are either simply placed in a glass with water for root formation or placed in a sowing tray with special growing soil and covered with a transparent hood. The right temperature is important for root formation: make sure that the oleander cuttings are as bright, warm and draught-free as possible. The cuttings root most quickly in the summer months.

After the first stable roots have formed, transfer the young plants into pots with container plant soil, which should be mixed with some slow-release fertilizer. So-called head cuttings from the shoot tips should be de-tipped, unless you plan to cultivate them as tall stems. This way the plants branch better at the base and grow bushier.

Propagate oleander by division

Actually, for the division only older oleander should be taken into account, which are cultivated in a container. By this method, you get only a few, but relatively large plants at the same time. The division itself is quite simple: Remove the plant from the container and divide the root ball with a long sharp knife. When doing this, make sure that there is about the same number of shoots per new plant, and shorten some of them. Before transplanting into the new pots, water the root balls well and enrich the new soil with some slow-release fertilizer. Usually, after the division, the plants sprout strongly and quickly regain their former beauty.

Propagate oleander by grafting

Another method of vegetative propagation of oleander is grafting. It is necessary especially when you want to grow a plant with special characteristics. For example, some varieties are susceptible to fungi of the genus Ascochyta. These should be grafted onto a resistant seedling rootstock. Even as tall stems, oleander varieties are usually grafted onto seedlings or stem-forming cultivars that have little tendency to cane rash at the base. Grafting requires some expertise and skill. As with fruit trees, grafting is carried out either in winter by plice grafting or in summer by bud graft on well grown plants. The growth rates are very high with both grafting methods if the techniques are halfway mastered.

Propagate oleander by seeds

As oleander forms seeds, sowing is also possible in principle. However, this is a game of chance, and it takes about three years to see what flower shape and color the offspring will have. The reason for this is that the newly grown plants need not resemble the mother plant in either growth or flower coloration. Propagation by seed is therefore only interesting for oleander breeders, who select the best plants from the numerous offspring as new varieties and then propagate them further vegetatively. One advantage is that when growing from seed, no plant diseases of the mother plant are transmitted to the offspring.

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