How To Winterize an Oleander


How To Winterize an Oleander Shrub in Central Arizona

Oleanders (Nerium oleander) are large, shrubs with beautiful white, pink or red blossoms. In warmer climates, they are very easy to care for. They are draught and heat tolerant. However, oleanders can be severely damaged or even killed by winter cold. Even a very hardy oleander bush may die if the temperatures drop suddenly. You can prevent damage to your plants if you learn how to winterize an oleander. Read on for tips:

Winter care of Oleander bushes

Oleanders are big shrubs. They can grow to 10' tall and 10' wide, occasionally reaching over 20'. But this doesn’t mean that they can survive cold winters without help.

Oleanders are considered "hardy" in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 10. This means that they can withstand winter low temperatures between 20 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

If our temperatures remain within this range, you do not need to do anything to prepare your oleander for winter.

However, if our Arizona temperatures dip below 20 degrees, it doesn't mean your oleander has to be lost, but you’ll have to take extra steps to help your shrub survive.

The first step to winterizing your oleander plants happens in the fall. First, you need to cut back the shrub by approximately 1/2 in the autumn (for Arizona, this usually means late September, or early October). Do this before the temperatures start reaching winter lows.

Next, just before temperatures are expected to start reaching 20 degrees or below, add around 4 inches of organic mulch around the root areas of the plants, and cover the remaining plant (above ground) with a sheet, or foliage cover.

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