The Yellow Oleander – Thevetia peruviana [thev-VET-ee-uh per-u-vee-AN-uh] is a tall shrub from Mexico and Central America.
It’s part of the family Apocynaceae, which is commonly called the dogbane family.
Other well-known members include:
The plant also goes by the synonym “Cascabela Thevetia”, pronounced [kas-kuh-BEL-uh thev-VET-ee-uh]. Either way, most people simply call it yellow oleander.
It features thin green stems and leaves along with bright, shining orange or yellow flowers.
While it’s a beautiful plant, the stems and leaves are poisonous, requiring extra precaution when choosing the right spot.
The tall, slim shrub requires a lot of open space to reach its full potential. Besides ensuring that it has room to grow, there are a few other care tips to follow.
Thevetia Peruviana Yellow Oleander Care
Size and Growth
The yellow oleander is a slim plant but can reach 7′ feet tall. Other than the shorter height and thinner leaves, the plant resembles true oleander.
The thin green stems don’t stick out very far, resulting in a slender plant.
The leaves typically reach 4″ – 5″ inches and are no more than a 1/4″ inch wide.
The topsides are leathery and dark green while the undersides are pale green.
Flowering and Fragrance
This is a summer-blooming plant, producing small clusters of flowers at the ends of the thin stems.
The trumpet-shaped flowers reach about 2″ or 3″ inches and are typically a shiny yellow or orange color.
The odor is faint but offers a sweet scent that can carry through the air on warm summer evenings.
Light and Temperature
The plant is winter hardy to USDA zones 8 to 10, and may not survive the winter in cooler regions.
Indoors, it can survive at regular room temperature.
Ensure that the plant gets sunlight throughout the year. Outdoors, give it full sun or partial shade.
Even in cooler regions, the plant can grow outdoors and brought in after the flowers bloom.
When grown indoors, set it near a west-facing or south-facing window for the most exposure to sunlight.
Watering and Feeding
From early spring to early fall, the plant needs thorough and regular watering.
TIP: Don’t let the soil dry out during the flowering season or the flowers will wither early.
Mist the plant weekly to maintain humidity. In dry environments, misting may be needed two or three times per week.
Feed the plant during the active growing season after the buds appear in early spring.
During the fall and winter, fertilizer isn’t needed and it should only be watered infrequently.
Soil and Transplanting
Grow the plant in soil with fast drainage. Combine regular potting soil with peat moss or compost to create better drainage and encourage a healthy root system.
The plant should be repotted every two or three years, using the same soil recommendations.
Always repot in March, just before the start of spring and the active growing season.
When repotting, use a pot slightly larger than the previous one. Use part of the old potting soil combined with fresh soil.
Grooming and Maintenance
To manage the growth of the plant, trim it back in the fall. Non-flowering stems can be removed for cuttings.
CAUTION: When trimming the plant, wear gloves to protect skin from the sap.
The poisonous substance may cause skin irritation or severe rashes.
How to Propagate Thevetia Peruviana
Propagate the plant using cuttings taken from non-flowering stems.
Dip the tips in rooting hormone and plant in regular potting soil.
Keep the plant trays warm, preferably over a heat source.
If a heat source isn’t available to set the plant on, cover the tray with plastic and poke holes for ventilation.
Set near a window with lots of sunlight.
The cuttings should take root within a few weeks.
If the cuttings are taken toward the end of the season, wait until next spring to transplant them into individual containers or the garden.
Thevetia Peruviana Pests or Diseases
Mealybugs and scale insects may threaten the plant. Remove scale insects with a toothpick or apply Neem oil sprays.
They appear under the leaves and resemble small brown scales.
The mealybugs resemble cottony blobs. Use a cotton swab dabbed in alcohol to remove the pests.
Besides threats to the plant, it’s important to consider the threats to people and pets.
The leaves and flowers are poisonous and should be kept away from children, dogs, and cats.
If the plant doesn’t flower, it likely needs more sunlight.
If the flower buds drop before blooming, the air is likely too cold.
Move outdoor plants indoors and increase the temperature.
Suggested Thevetia Peruviana Uses
The height of this plant makes it best suited for areas that allow open growth, such as terraces, balconies, and conservatories.
Due to the poisonous nature of the plant, keep Thevetia away from people and animals.