Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - June 11, 2005

From: Milwaukee, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders
Title: Smarty Plants on Oleanders
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have 3 Nerium Oleanders. In the winter they come indoors, and are under grow lights. They are in big pots. We just put them outside on patio, and they don't look good. They still have green tips on some, but all leaves are medium brown/some green and crisp. What can I do to save plants, this is the first time in 3 years I have seen them this bad. Mother use to take care of the plants. Now they are mine and need help. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

It sounds like you have salt burn. This occurs when mineral salts build up in the soil from fertilizers and from watering. The salts are taken up by the plant and kill the leaf tissue which dries out, browns, and dies. To rid the plant of salts you need to water deeply and slowly to leach out the salts. Let the excess water drain out and water again. You will want to do this periodically, perhaps once a month.

You definitely want the plants inside in the wintertime since the USDA cold hardiness zones for oleanders are Zones 8-10 with an average minimum temperature of10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit for Zone 8, which extends from around Dallas southward. Wisconsin is in Zones 3 and 4, with an average minimum for Zone 3 of -30 to -40 degrees. You can read more about the history, culture and care of oleanders from the International Oleander Society.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Replacing non-native boxwood in Austin
October 03, 2011 - I have a large maze garden, possibly boxwood, originally planted in the 1950's, in Austin, Texas. About 1/3 of it has died out, probably due to drought, heat and age. Should I attempt to replant ju...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Star jasmine
April 27, 2009 - My Jasmine leaves are turning red. I think it's a Star Jasmine as it get those pretty little white fragrant flowers that look like a star. What is causing this and is it something I should be conce...
view the full question and answer

Roses or other flowering plants for Coleman, Texas
March 10, 2009 - I want to plant native roses at a country home in Coleman Co., southern exposure, with well water, drip system,but ,hot, dry & windy! I know the Mutabilis does well in Austin, but, is it suitable for...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree in California
May 02, 2012 - A medium-size tree with shiny green leaves toward the bottom and garnet red ones toward the top of the tree. The leaves are narrow with saw-toothed edges. There are clustered small white flowers with ...
view the full question and answer

Hiding a chicken house from Glen Rose TX
February 06, 2013 - To hide a chicken house, which do you recommend, crape myrtles or chinese photinias?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.