By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
If you’re decorating for a St. Patrick’s Day party, you’ll want to include a potted shamrock plant or several shamrock houseplants. But party or not, the potted shamrock plant is an attractive indoor plant. So what is a shamrock plant? Keep reading to find out more about growing and caring for shamrock plants.
The potted shamrock plant (Oxalis regnellii) is a small specimen, often reaching no more than 6 inches. Leaves are in a range of shades and delicate flowers bloom off and on during fall, winter and spring. Leaves are clover shaped and some think the plant brings good luck. These leaves fold up at night and open when light returns. Also known as the lucky shamrock plant, growing Oxalis houseplant is simple and adds a touch of spring to the indoors during winter months.
Shamrock houseplants are members of the wood sorrel family of the genus Oxalis. Caring for shamrock plants is simple when you understand their periods of dormancy. Unlike most houseplants, the potted shamrock plant goes dormant in summer.
When leaves die back, the potted shamrock plant needs a time of darkness to rest. Caring for shamrock plants during the period of dormancy includes limited watering and withholding of fertilizer.
The dormant period when growing oxalis houseplant lasts anywhere from a few weeks to three months, depending on the cultivar and the conditions. New shoots appear when dormancy is broken. At this time, move shamrock houseplants to a sunny window or other area of bright light. Resume caring for shamrock plants to be rewarded with an abundance of the attractive foliage and blooms.
When shoots appear in autumn, begin watering the newly growing Oxalis houseplant. Soil should remain lightly moist during times of growth. Water two to three times a month, allowing soil to dry out between waterings.
Shamrock plants grow from tiny bulbs that may be planted in fall or early spring. Most often, shamrock plants are purchased when foliage is growing and sometimes when in flower. Many cultivars of oxalis exist, but exotic varieties provide the best indoor performance. However, don’t dig a wild wood sorrel from outdoors and expect it to grow as a houseplant.
Now that you’ve learned what is a shamrock plant and how to care for a growing Oxalis houseplant, include one in your indoor collection for winter blooms and maybe good luck.
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Oxalis triangularis, native from Brazil, requires bright indirect sunlight, water only when soil feels dry, overwatering can cause plant rot, and both soil and pot need to have good drainage. A very important fact about this plant is that it has dormancy period, usually close to the summer, and it appears as if the plant has dried completely. When this happens, stop watering and give it a rest for approximately two weeks, and new leaves will grow. When new leaves are noticeable after dormancy, watering can be resumed. This plant is considered one of the most durable plants, living for generations if the proper care is given. This gorgeous plant’s leaves react to light, meaning that they move in response to the amount of light it receives. At night, it folds down its leaves, and then opens them widely when morning light appears.
Water: Water only when soil feels dry, overwatering can cause plant rot.
Light: Bright indirect sunlight. It handles a bit of morning sunlight well.
Special Feature: At night, it folds down its leaves, and then opens them wildly when morning light appears.
Toxicity: It is toxic to cats, dogs and children if ingested in large quantities.
*Plants are unique in their nature, remember not a single plant is exactly like another. Pictures of the plant depict an approximate size .
*All plants come in propagation pots.
Your oxalis may also be drooping because it has been over or underwatered.
If this is the case, you’ll first need to identify whether it’s an overwatering issue or an underwatering issue.
Test The Soil.
The first thing to do is test the soil’s moisture level.
Generally, oxalis should be watered about once every two weeks and like slightly moist conditions.
Test the top 2 inches of soil with your finger to determine whether it’s too dry or too wet.
The soil should be allowed to dry between waterings, but only about the top 2 to 5cm of soil.
Test the soil and if it feels very dry below a depth of 1 inch your plant may not be getting enough water.
If this is the case you can give your oxalis some water.
If you test the soil and it feels quite moist below a depth of an inch, then you may have been overwatering your plant.
If this is the case, you’ll need to wait at least a week and let the top inch or 2 of soil fully dry out before you water it again.
If your oxalis is drooping because of water issues, making the changes and watering your plant correctly should do the job.
This Plant Care Library will serve as a resource to our customers and other gardeners on the web. Gardening is a very academic activity that pulls knowledge from many fields. Whether it's hard sciences like entomology, botany, or geology or more creative subject like landscape architecture and color theory, Wayside Gardens has knowledge to share. We have just started collecting these articles, but we plan for this to be an ongoing project.
1 - Choose the best Location.
Location, Location, Location!
2 - Dig a Hole.
Make it easier for roots to spread and settle in
3 - Water in and Mulch.
These good rules-of-thumb keep your plant
hydrated and happy
Pruning Group 1
The Ramblers and Early Bloomers
Pruning Group 2
The Big-Flowered Summer Bloomers
Pruning Group 3
The Late Bloomers
Read the full description
You will get Oxalis Regnellii Bulbs Green Lucky Shamrock, Wood Sorrel Clover-like Leaves, White Blooms, Butterfly Love Plant Tubers, Indoor/Outdoor Flower.
Oxalis Regnellii are hardy outdoors in USDA zones 6-11.
They adapt well to indoor conditions year round.
Soil: A well-drained potting mix works well. Oxalis will NOT grow in overly wet soil but does like moist soil. Make sure your pot has drainage hole.
Dig little holes and plant the bulbs 1”-1 1/2” deep and 3”-4” apart. Just poke them down in the soil, don't worry about which side is up. They'll grow from any position.
After planting, water well, gently soaking the soil and settling it around the bulbs. Foliage will begin to appear in just a few weeks and flowers in 6-8 weeks. Site your oxalis where they will get full day sun. They will also grow in light shade, but will produce more flowers in stronger light.
Temperature: Standard indoor temperatures are fine. The ideal temperature is around 60-70°F (15-21°C). Temperatures above 75°F/24°C become problematic. At high temperature, the Oxalis will start to look ‘tired’ and may go into dormancy and drop all it’s leaves.
Water: Allow the soil to dry between watering, ensure the top 2 cm of soil is dry before watering. The worst thing you can do with bulbs is overwater as it will rot the bulb. Expect to water about once every 2 weeks.
Cyclamin mites can strike. They’re near impossible to eradicate and spread quickly to nearby plants, so throw out infected plants.
Powderly mildew. Remove infected leaves. Lower humidity and increase air circulation to control the mildew.
Rot and blight. Overwatering causes this. Once it starts, your plant cannot be saved.
Thrips are tiny and feed on pollen. Rinse them off with mild, soapy water.
Mealybugs look like white masses on the plant. Those are clusters of bug eggs. Dab them with swabs dipped in alcohol or spray with a mixture of neem oil and liquid Castille soap. If you don’t get the mealys under control, throw out the infected violet so the bugs won’t spread to your other plants.
Your oxalis is drooping after repotting because it is suffering from shock. This can happen if it has been re-potted just before its blooming season or if the soil used for repotting is not very similar to the old soil it was used to.
Generally, oxalis doesn’t need frequent repotting, and it can be done every few years.
But when you do it, it can happen that it starts drooping and looking rough.
This can happen for several reasons.
Most often the cause is improperly timed repotting.
Just before the blooming season, oxalis is particularly vulnerable to repotting shock, so you should avoid doing this in the spring.
Another reason for the shock from transplanting can be the composition of new soil.
All plants are sensitive to a sudden change in the soil, and the soil in new pots must closely match the composition of the old ones.