How to Grow Oxalis Versicolor (Candy cane sorrel) bulbs

How to Grow Oxalis Versicolor (Candy cane sorrel) bulbs

Oxalis Versicolor or Candy cane sorrel is a flowering plant native to South Africa. These are low-maintenance plants, requiring no fuss. These bulbs blossom into small 2-4 centimeter white, trumpet-shaped flowers with red stripes, giving the appearance of a candy cane. The flowers open in full sunlight to create a clover, but otherwise remained twisted shut.

Given the right care, they’ll come back year after year.

Oxalis Versicolor quick facts

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Plant height: 10–20 cm
  • USDA Zones: 7-9, annuals everywhere
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil: Well-drained clay soil, loamy soil, or sandy soil, any pH level
  • Water needs: Average
  • Humidity: Prefers non-humid
  • Pruning: Gently deadhead your plant to keep it regenerating blooms during the growing season

Growing and Care

Growing candy cane sorrel is an easy process. The bulbs are small (1 inch / 2 centimeters) and once they are established, they only need occasional watering and fertilization.

Starting your bulbs

Plant your bulbs 5 centimeters deep and 10-12 centimeters apart in a well draining place. Clay, sandy, or loam are all good options. Just make sure that the water can drain, as they risk rotting if they are overwatered. So, only water when the soil feels dry. Likewise, it does not grow well with a lot of humidity. 

It takes about 3-6 weeks to sprout. Do not worry about which side of the bulb is up or down, as they will find their way regardless.

Oxalis versicolor bulbs

Oxalis Versicolor plants grow best in full indirect sun, or partial shade. Be careful not to place your plant in intense direct light as the leaves might burn. Generally, the more sun, the more flowers. 

They prefer relatively cool temperatures, up to 21 degrees C during the day and at no colder than 12 degrees C during the night.

This plant does not need much fertilizer to grow, but it is recommended to give it a gentle formula once a year during the growing season. Make sure to always follow the fertilizer instructions so you don't end up burning the plant. 

Wintering your plant

This variety of oxalis has more of an inverted growth cycle: flowering in autumn andd sleeping during late spring. In the late autumn, you should cut back on watering as the foliage will naturally die down. Leave the fading foliage in place, as this provides the energy needed to regenerate the bulb over its dormancy.

 In zones 3-6, you can bring containers indoors to enjoy them through Christmas! The Oxalis Versicolor will go dormant during winter, but don't worry, it will come back again!

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