It’s a rare Arizona homeowner that doesn’t want to add the most color from blooms to their xeriscaping landscaping as possible. It wouldn’t be stretching the truth one bit, to say that this request is a number one requirement given to landscape designers nationwide. So we are never surprised when this is one of the first things a Phoenix or Glendale landscape design client adds to the list of what benefits they want most from their new outdoor areas.
Oleanders are a great plant for landscaping in Arizona around this region. While most homeowners are aware that there are dwarf and standard sized plants available in these long blooming evergreens, many don’t know that there are really different types of oleanders. Additionally, some of these ornamental shrubs and trees aren’t as tolerant of lack of water as others are. This is something that is important to anyone’s low maintenance desires from xeriscaping landscaping.
As is frequently an issue when using common names to identify plants for landscaping in Arizona (or anywhere else), some of these misnomers can cause a homeowner problems in their plantings.
Nerium oleander is the proper name for the most drought tolerant selections for xeriscaping landscaping. These woody evergreens are available in a variety of colors in white, pinks and light reds – as well as some bicolored blooms. There are dwarfs available such as Petite Pink and Petite Salmon Oleander, which will mature at 4 feet high and wide. The regular Nerium oldeander selections will mature at 10-20 feet tall and over time present you with a small ornamental tree that bears abundant blooms most heavily in spring and fall. It isn’t uncommon to see blooms on these rugged xeriscaping landscaping plants in summer though, making them very popular for Phoenix and Glendale landscape design.
On the other hand, Mexican Oleander, requires more moisture assistant to remain looking great. This is not to say that it cannot thrive in xeriscaping landscaping in Arizona. These large shrubs, sometimes trained into a tree-form, just require a bit heavier drip irrigation or watering schedule than the standard oleanders do.
Mexican Oleander is also commonly referred to as Yellow Oleander and isn’t in the Nerium family, but is related to it. This plant’s proper name is Thevitia peruviana, and produces blooms that are usually yellow, but is available with soft apricot blooms too. This relative of the Nerium oleander matures at about 10 feet high and wide.
This is a very handsome plant in Glendale landscape design for xeriscaping landscaping, It has a beautiful open form and great texture. Thevitias have the same water requirements as grass though, and do get cold damage at about 25 degrees, as opposed to the more cold tolerant Neriums showing no damage until temps drop to about 15 degrees.
Image courtesy of mccheek (creativecommons 2.0).