Planting Your Oxalis

oxalis triangularis flower  Oxalis deppei 'Iron Cross' Pink Shamrock | Shade plants  5 x Oxalis Triangularis papilionacea bulbs. (green) | eBay

 

The oxalis family is large and varied. Subspecies triangularis, deppei and versicolour are all exceptionally simple to grow and are low maintenance once established. They all follow the same basic planting and care (or lack thereof!).

Incredibly long lived, oxalis often become 'heirloom plants' that are passed down from generation to generation within a family. We often hear customers’ stories of the plants becoming a cherished family tradition. One told us they were enjoying the same bulbs as their great, great-grandmother who harvested them as a child 107 years ago! Oxalis are exceptionally simple to plant and grow, they are frequently given as gifts. Let the gift recipient know that these plants have the potential to become treasured, living family heirlooms that can last for generations with little care.

 

Planting in pots

Oxalis Triangularis false shamrock rare house plant | eBay

  • When planting a pot for indoors, go ahead and crowd your bulbs, spacing them just an inch apart for a full look fast.
  • Just poke the bulbs into the soil, any way up is right as they will find their way. These funny looking bulbs will produce foliage and flowers in just 8-10 weeks.
  • Water lightly just once every couple of weeks until new growth appears. When your oxalis do begin to appear, weekly watering should be light. Too much water will send the plant back into dormancy
  • They will fill in to become lush and full soon after.
  • Oxalis are perfectly happy as en evergreen hoseplant. Sited on a bright windowsill they will thrive throughout the winter, The plants are dainty and elegant with pretty looking leaves, everything stays compact if kept in a pot which make an ideal house or office plant in many respects.

Planting Outdoors

Oxalis Triangularis (Purple Shamrock) | Plantas ornamentales ...

  • They can be planted outside at any point during the year except when the ground is frozen solid. They will still only grow to their own schedule, however. Please don't worry if you do not see immediate growth.
  • They are a perennial that will wither back in the autumn, entering dormancy until spring. Consider this if planting outside during autumn.
  • Do not choose an area that's prone to flooding, as this will quickly rot your new bulbs.
  • Simply poke the bulbs a few centimetres below the surface of the soil and cover over
  • Water in and forget about them. 
  • Despite originating from warmer regions such as South America and southern Africa, many oxalis species are hardy enough to survive outdoors in the UK. Some species have escaped from gardens in southern counties and become naturalised.

 

 

 

Propagation

Oxalis Triangularis or Burgundy Shamrock Photograph by J McCombieYou can propagate all members of the genus from seed, and for the numerous perennial varieties, you have the additional option of digging up and dividing the rhizomes in the spring. Most oxalis species have bulbous roots rather than rhizomes, making propagation as simple as separating the bulbil offsets and replanting them for an exact replica of the parent plant.

 

 

Toxicity

Toxicity - WikipediaIt's true, Oxalis are slighlty poisonous to pets. Although it has a helpful magic trick by making the leaves taste awful due to the high oxalic acid content. A little nibble of this plant and most pets won't be back for a second helping. You can therefore certainly grow them in homes with pets so please don't let that put you off. 

 

 

Pests & Diseases

Common diseases that attack this plant include fungal leaf spots, powdery mildew and rust. Remove any signs of infection as soon as it appears and scale back watering for a few weeks. This will begin to send the plant into dormancy thus reducing the chances of disease spreading throughout the plant. Once the plant starts to wilt slightly, start watering again and it will bounce back quickly.