Evergreen Shrubs (6-10 ft)

Landscape Significance

Their quick growth rate and thick multi-stemmed habit makes them ideal for use as a screen or informal hedge. New homeowners appreciate oleander's satisfyingly fast growth rate and ability to quickly green up a bare lot.

They are very heat- and drought-tolerant once established, and will grow especially well in seaside gardens, tolerating salt spray and wind.

Oleanders generally grow best in the coastal areas of South Carolina.

Oleander (Nerium oleander)
This photo was taken at Trident Technical College, N. Charleston, SC. 

Nerium oleander is native to northern Africa, the eastern Mediterranean basin and southeast Asia. Oleanders are beautiful large, flowering shrubs that thrive with little care.  Abundant flowers are produced in many colors and some varieties are delightfully fragrant. This plant flowers from early summer until mid-autumn.

Oleanders are usually very large, mounded shrubs that take up considerable space growing to 8 to 12 feet tall and almost as wide as they are tall. They grow best in full sun and will tolerate even reflected heat from a south or west wall. They can suffer from dieback disease from drought stress or severe freezes. The oleander caterpillar is the most damaging pest of oleanders.

 Warning!Oleander is extremely poisonous. Eating even small amounts of any part of the plant can kill. Children have been poisoned by using the twigs as whistles. Contact with skin may cause irritation and smoke from burning cuttings can cause severe reactions.

Identifying characteristics

The leaves are smooth, bright green, thick and leathery. They are long and narrow, lance-shaped, and usually between 4 and 6 inches long and an inch or less wide. Leaves generally grow in whorls.   2-inch single or double blossoms range from white through yellow, peach, salmon and pink to deep burgundy red.

More information about oleander is available at the Clemson Home & Garden Information Center: Clemson HGIC - Oleander