Colorful flowers are always a great way to pretty up any garden space. They simply add a warm ambiance to your place. Oleander or Kaner plant is a showy and very adaptive shrub that offers a wide range of colors for your garden. It is also called Nerium Oleander where the term ‘Oleander’ means two plants and ‘Nerium’ refers to common.
It is among the versatile shrubs that adorn itself with a cluster of gorgeous trumpet-like flowers that bloom year-round. Native to the Mediterranean region, this plant is widely known for its flowers that range from red to yellow and thick, willow-like lance-shaped, glossy leaves.
In India, this flower is said to be very auspicious as it transmits positive energy. According to Vastu experts, the Kaner plant is deemed to be auspicious for the prosperity of the house. The White Kaner flowers are very dear to Mother Laxmi (goddess of wealth) and it is also a religious belief that Lord Vishnu resides in Yellow Kaner.
Besides adding charm to your garden and religious beliefs, it can be a deadly plant. It contains toxins that are used as poisons. This plant contains glycosides, chemicals that can affect the heart and slow the heart rate. In fact, according to a report in Sri Lanka, Kaner is a favorite suicide agent there. So, it is advisable that it is kept at a location that is away from the reach of children and pets.
Despite being this fatal, Oleander plants are also used in the manufacture of drugs for the cure of heart conditions, epilepsy, asthma, cancer, malaria, ringworm, indigestion, venereal diseases, and even to cause abortion. Sometimes, Kaner is also used for dermatological ailments.
This evergreen tropical shrub has numerous uses in southern and coastal landscapes. It can thrive anywhere from poor soil, high pH, spray and salt, and even severe pruning.
You must have seen masses of Kaner shrubs planted in highways. That is because of its potential of taking reflected heat from roads, pavements, or walls, and even from drought, it is mostly planted as road dividers. However, the Kaner plant is poor at tolerating cold temperatures. So, if you live in cooler climate regions, you can grow it in containers and place it inside the house if the temperature gets down.
Best Growing Conditions for the Kaner Plant
The Kaner plant is a hardy shrub. It is tolerant to almost all settings from poor soil to high temperatures to grave prunings. When planted in the garden, Kaner plants require minimal care. However, if you want your Kaner plant to look ravishing then, providing it with some basic care won’t hurt this plant.
Oleander plants are lovers of full sun. In full sun, they will have good compact growth and better blooming while in the shade, they tend to have lesser flowers and leaves. Keep them in a place where they receive 6 to 7 hours of direct sunlight so they get enough energy to produce beautiful blossoms.
The Kaner plant is not a picky one when it comes to soil requirements. It can thrive in almost any kind of soil. However, growing it in well-draining soil will be beneficial as it will promote better growth of the plant.
The Kaner plant needs water on a regular basis. Despite being drought tolerant, daily watering will only add to their beauty, especially during dry spells. Water it once or twice a week. Even though this plant enjoys regular watering, you should never flush the top of the soil with water. Too much watering can make its leaves turn yellow.
Temperature and humidity
Oleander plants are tropical shrubs hence they enjoy a warm and humid temperature. If you are growing them in an outdoor garden or balcony, you can spray water on their leaves and if growing them inside then, you can try various artificial methods to increase the humidity around them. For example, adding a humidifier, placing it with other houseplants, or growing it in a pot and then placing it in a tray filled with pebbles. These ways can be helpful in maintaining a humid environment around the plant.
These well-mannered plants are so adaptive that you can plant them in bad soil and they will still thrive. They do not really require any feeding specifically. However, giving them a balanced diet of fertilizers once every week during their growing stage will result in healthier blossoms.
In high summers, you can feed the plant a high potassium fertilizer for the best possible growth of the plant.
Oleanders bloom well when they are pruned at the right time, and the best time to trim them is right after bloom. This way you will be awarded more blooms next year. Continuous pruning of the Kaner plant following this pattern encourages thicker and shaggy growth even if it is a tall and lanky tree of the Kaner plant. Many people cut off more than one-third of the oleander plant every two or three years to promote new growth. This dramatic reduction encourages faster growth. In the event that you are doing annual pruning, you must first inspect oleander bushes for dead or damaged branches. It is wise not to remove more than one-third of the bush at once. It is important to trim the branches just above the leaf node in order to encourage new growth and a healthy bloom.
Setbacks and their solutions
Despite being such hassle-free and easy-going blooming plants, the Kaner plant is susceptible to some pest issues and bacterial and fungal infections. The bacterial infection causes knot disease and bacterial leaf scorch which has no cure even after pruning. On the other hand, fungal infections are more likely to take place in weakened or stressed plants. Various fungal species can cause leaf spots, which usually cause cosmetic damage but do not cause serious health problems. A brownish patch or a dot on a leaf may be one of the symptoms depending on the fungus. Besides fungal and bacterial infections, pests like scales and aphids are one more enemy of the Kaner plant. They feed on shoots and leaves of the plant causing leaf drops, curled or yellow leaves, and plant death.
To avoid these problems in your Kaner plant, you can start with taking simple sanitation measures. Among the methods you can use to prevent spreading the pathogen from infected plants to others in your garden are destroying infected plants, avoiding overhead watering, and soaking pruning tools in disinfectant.
Aphids and scales are controlled with natural predators and chemical insecticides, for example, the use of permethrin, malathion, and acephate. Ladybugs and other beneficial insects are killed by pesticides, including horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps.
These are some simple yet effective measures to save your Kaner plant from dying.
The Kaner plant is much more than a pretty flowering shrub used for adding a vibrant charm to your garden. It has dozens of uses in the medicinal sector and also, it is a favorite of the highway departments as it is often used in many highways beautifying projects.
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