Thevetia peruviana

Thevetia peruviana

Thevetia peruviana is a plant probably native to Mexico and Central America and a close relative to Nerium oleander. It is an evergreen tropical shrub or small tree that bears yellow or oragnge-yellow, trumpet like flowers and its fruit is deep red/black in color encasing a large seed that bears some resemblance to a Chinese "lucky nut." Its seed casing is extremely hard and may require scarification so we know it suffers from an exogenous dormancy. What is not known is if it has any endogenous dormancies. It contains a milky sap that is used as a heart stimulant but in its natural form is extremely poisonous, as are all parts of the plants, especially the seeds. Its leaves are long, lance shaped and green in colour. Leaves are covered in waxy coating to reduce water loss (typical of oleanders). Its stem is green turning silver/gray as it ages. Can be grown as shrub or tree outside in warmer climates but in frost prone areas best brought back inside for winter. Will tolerate most kinds of soil as long as they are well drained and is situated in full sun in a sheltered area. Useful as a landscaping plant in warmer climates as it does not need much maintenance.

Propagate by seed in spring (clean seed coat in a glass containing 10% bleach 90% warm water for 2-3min; after wash seed and soak in warm water for 24h). Can also propagate from cuttings in spring-early summer with hardwood cuttings. For both use a seed/cutting compost that contains perlite.

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