How to make the most of ole­an­ders

Amateur Gardening - - This Week In Gardening -

ANY­ONE who has been to the Mediter­ranean and fur­ther south will be fa­mil­iar with Nerium ole­an­der – the ole­an­der bush. With their long-last­ing, sweetly scented pink blooms they are pop­u­lar all around those sunny shores.

They are also hardy down to -5°C, which makes them ideal plants for adding some­thing ex­otic to Bri­tish gar­dens. How­ever, as they don’t par­tic­u­larly like the cold they are best grown in con­tain­ers in a shel­tered, sunny spot and taken in­doors to a con­ser­va­tory or green­house in the colder months.

I was sent a pair of ole­an­ders by on­line gar­den­ing com­pany You Gar­den (yougar­, which should thrive in our south­ern gar­den.

I pot­ted them up us­ing John Innes No3 mixed with grit for im­proved drainage. They will stand in the sun­ni­est spot in the gar­den and are start­ing to flower.

They need reg­u­lar sum­mer wa­ter­ing and feed­ing with a bal­anced liq­uid fer­tiliser un­til June, fol­lowed by a high­potas­sium feed through­out sum­mer to pro­mote flow­er­ing.

Take semi-ripe cut­tings from this year’s growth in sum­mer. Pot them up or root them in wa­ter and over­win­ter in the warmth. If reusing a con­tainer, wash it well first Adding a Mediter­ranean touch to my Dorset gar­den

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