Taking care of the oleander is one of those things… In the summer it’s actually not difficult, because all you have to do is give this hungry plant plenty of water and fertilizer. In winter, on the other hand, you have to reduce watering quite drastically. What sounds like less work at first turns out to be a bit darn, because to avoid overwatering and rotting roots, it can sometimes be done quickly to be little. And especially when the plant is outside of the standard room in a winter quarters, it can sometimes be forgotten. Do you think your oleander has dried up? We explain how to check this and how you can possibly save the plant.
Oleander dries up after the winter – what can be the reason?
It is not always a sign of incorrect care/watering if the oleander suddenly has dry leaves after the winter. This can also simply be a reaction to the unfavorable conditions in the winter quarters, with which the plant wants to save itself. What do we mean by that exactly? What are possible causes of dried up plant parts.
Unfavorable site conditions
As you know, oleander bushes come from regions with mild winters. There you can easily spend the winter outdoors and always get the necessary amount of light and water. Unfortunately, this is not possible with us, because oleander bushes only tolerate minimum temperatures of 10 to 15 degrees. Therefore, in our latitudes, they belong in a winter quarters with a suitable temperature. But often it is the garage or a hallway and there are usually less than ideal conditions, which is why the plant sheds leaves in order to be able to better care for the rest of the plant. If the oleander has dried up after the winter, that can be a reason.
It is also importantthat you do not put the plant in the direct sun too quickly after the winter. It needs an acclimatization phase, otherwise the leaves will dry out quickly.
Oleander dries up due to lack of water
The most obvious reason that the oleander dries up is that it has lacked water (water it with lukewarm water every 7 to 10 days). But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s dead. As long as the roots and at least part of the shoots are still fine, and hopefully one or two branches as well, there is a good chance that the plant will recover. The roots are the last thing to die due to lack of water, since the plant strives to maintain them (which is why it sheds leaves first, etc.).
Danger: If the oleander dries up despite watering, it may well be that you have overdone it. Paradoxically, if you water too much, the plant will also dry up. As the? The roots rot and can no longer absorb moisture and nutrients and pass them on to the parts of the plant above ground. Accordingly, they then also dry.
pest infestation or disease
Indoors, when there are no beneficial insects to eat pests, the latter can quickly spread and make life difficult for your oleander. So check if that isn’t exactly the problem. Pests strip the plant of its juices, leading to moisture and nutrient deprivation, which in turn leads to dry plant parts.
The disease Ascochyta blight (usually after the winter) also causes the above-ground parts to die off first. Here you have to act quickly, because it gradually spreads to all parts, after the oleander initially only shows isolated dried tips or leaves.
You can find more typical diseases in oleanders in this article.
Has the oleander dried up or frozen?
You can also tell from the color of the leaves whether they died as a result of drought or whether it was caused by an environment that was too cold. If they are still green but dry and brittle, the oleander has frozen. The leaves usually do not fall off by themselves for a long time, but continue to hang on the shoots.
Is it still possible to save the dry plant?
In principle, it depends on the extent to which the plant is affected or how far the process has progressed. You can use simple methods to check whether it is still worth investing time and effort in oleander care.
How do I know if the oleander is still alive?
Check the upper parts of the plant first. Take a sharp knife and cut a twig or two. If this turns green, don’t worry. If all side shoots appear to be dry, do this test on shoots near the root as well. In the case of frozen specimens, you have to hope that at least the roots have not been damaged.
Oleander dried up over winter – how do you save the shrub?
As hard as it may be for you, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to avoid a radical cut. Everything that has died can no longer be saved anyway. Therefore, you create space for new shoots by cutting. Beforehand But can you first assess the extent to which this is necessary:
- If only a few leaves are affected, you can simply cut them off in spring.
- Cut dry shoots back to living areas. To do this, you can first remove the branches piece by piece.
- If you want to shorten shoots up to the point of branching, it is advisable to leave stubs. From these the plant drives out again. This economical pruning can even save the flowering this season. At the latest, however, strong new growth is guaranteed next year if the hibernation before that is better.
- If you’re not sure about the living parts, it’s better to be more radical with the cut than too sparing. As long as the roots are intact and there is a healthy stub sticking up from the ground (twice the length of the root ball), the greedy oleander will bounce back with ease.
- Repot the shrub and use this care measure to remove dead or diseased roots. Check for an infestation and treat if necessary.
It is best to only carry out these cuts when the oleander has recovered from its winter quarters and is about to sprout again.