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Is it Safe to Grow Oleander?

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In my front yard, I have a whole fence lined with big oleander bushes. They're large and dense enough to give us privacy from the street, and they house a number of birds at different times of the year, which helps control the bug population in my garden, at the expense of a few cherry tomatoes. But oleander, although lovely while in flower, is still absolutely toxic.

So why grow it at all? Is it safe to handle? What if pets or kids touch it? The good news is, you can usually touch it without much concern. If you can, wear gloves and wash your hands after touching any part of the bushes, but the most dangerous contact is ingestion. Most animals won't eat oleander, but prevent it by growing bushes where pets won't be kept unsupervised. Curious children may pop a pretty flower in their mouth, though, so be sure to always watch your kids outside!

Oleander is a beautiful, hardy, and potentially hazardous plant. With extra precautions, you can have a rewarding oleander hedge, too!

Photo: Pixabay