I Love Oxalis triangularis aka false shamrock

Feb 15, 2020 | Love This!

Name: Oxalis triangularis aka false shamrock

Type of Plant: These are bulbs that are commonly sold as houseplants in February and March. People associate it with Saint Patrick’s Day, and it’s easy for the growers to bring it into flower at this time of year. Note that the purple foliaged version of this plant is also sold as a shade-tolerant annual early in the growing season.

Why I Love/Hate this plant: First of all, these plants are fresh and lively in the late-winter when we need fresh and lively to the max! Secondly, they have sweet flowers that are either white or pale lavender-pink. I love this plant because it makes people smile at this time of year.

 A Word to the Wise:

As you can see in this Wikipedia entry, there are several plants that are called “Shamrock” but none of them are Oxalis triangularis, the plant we buy at this time of year. That’s why what we purchase are called false shamrock. Nevertheless, this is a fun and lovely plant.

Do not over water as this can cause bulb rot.

Know this: this plant will go dormant in hot weather or if it’s kept too wet or dry. So if your Oxalis starts to fade, it might not be dying, but is likely to be going into dormancy. If you think this is the case, keep the plant slightly moist, watering only occasionally, and wait until the new growth starts to appear before resuming a regular water and fertilizing schedule.

This photo shows how these oxalis can be used as bedding plants. These are often perennial in a warm Zone 6, but might go dormant in response to hot weather or dry soils.

I neglected to take a photo of this plant in the daytime, and by the time I got around to it the leaves and flowers had closed for the evening! But now you see how the plant looks at night.


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