How to grow Oxalis Triangularis bulbs | Starting, growing, and caring for purple shamrocks with Terrace Garden France

How to grow Oxalis Triangularis bulbs

Oxalis Triangularis is one of the most sought-after houseplants. Whether lime green (called Oxalis Regnelli), bicolor, deep purple or some shade in between (like Oxalis Sanne), lucky shamrocks make the perfect addition to any environment. Plus, they are very easy to grow!

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Oxalis are mostly perennial plants, with rhizomes that grow leaves which are divided into 3 leaflets like clovers. They flower abundantly and can be grown both as houseplants and in the garden.
Native to Brazil, the Royal Horticultural Society has awarded the Purple Shamrock the Award of Garden Merit.
photo of oxalis triangularis from terrace garden france

How to start Oxalis triangularis bulbs

These "bulbs" are actually rhizomes, resembling tiny immature pinecones.closeup photo of oxalis triangularis rhizomes
  1. To grow Oxalis triangularis rhizomes, pick a pourous, well-draining potting soil. I would suggest you ammend it with perlite and peat, which will keep the soil slightly moist while still allowing it to drain and 'breathe'.
  2. Place a few rhizomes in a pot filled with your soil mix.
  3. Plant them about 2-4 centimeters (1-2 inches) apart and 1-2 cm (1 inch) deep.
  4. Water lightly every couple of weeks until new growth appears. Sprouting happens very slowly at first but picks up speed later.

Make sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom. If a pot does not have drainage holes, the plant will die.

How to care for Oxalis triangularis - the basics

Your oxalis will bloom from spring until the first frost with little light pink flowers. Here's an overview of false shamrock care:

  • Water: Water every 1-2 weeks, when the top 2 centimeters (1 inch) of soil becomes dry. Make sure your pot has drainage holes. Expect to water more often in brighter light and less often in lower light.
  • Light: Thrives in bright indirect to bright direct light.
  • Humidity: Any humidity level will do. Normal room humidity is fine.
  • Temperature: Best not to let it go below 60°F (15°C).
  • Fertilize: Once a month during the growing season using a slow-release blend.
  • Pruning: Simply pinch off any dead or discolored foliage.
  • Propagation: To propagate oxalis, wait until the following season to separate the rhizomes. 
varieties of oxalis triangularis include regnelli and mijke

Oxalis triangularis indoor care

Oxalis triangularis make a wonderful houseplant as they love being in bright indirect light, such as a sunny windowsill. At the same time, you'll want to keep it a healthy distance from the radiator.

Most importantly, keep it far away from the reach of cats, as the purple Butterfly Plant is poisonus to our feline friends.

How to winter your oxalis

In the winter, oxalis go into hibernation mode. Towards the end of fall, you may notice that your oxalis doesn't look as bright and colorful as it used to, and this means that it is ready to enter dormancy.

Clip off all foliage and put the plant pot (bulbs still in the soil) in the shed or cellar or other cool, dark, dry place to protect from freezing temperatures.

They are not winter hardy, and will not survive cold winters outdoors. However, if taken care of properly, your plant will wake up from dormancy in spring. Simply give it a light amount of water and sun and they will again wake up.


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