Oxalis plants have pretty flower blooms but are actually known for their foliage. The leaves look like shamrocks and they grow in popularity with florists for St. Patrick’s Day. The plant is also known as false shamrock, wood sorrel, or the love plant but it is not a member of the Shamrock family. The plant is actually native to Brazil.
There are many varieties of the plant, and it can be grown outdoors as a groundcover or as a houseplant. Some of the varieties can be considered a weed. Today, we are going to let you know how to grow Oxalis as a houseplant.
As previously mentioned, the leaves look like shamrocks and there are also some varieties that have a triangular shape. The foliage comes in shades of burgundy, green, pink, purple, silvery gray, variegated, and bicolored. With the different colored foliage, you will find the flower colors also vary. The blooms are found in pink, rose, white, and yellow.
The flowers grow on bare stems and are elegant, graceful, and thin. You will find the leaves are also thin. Oxalis plants flower in the late spring or early summer. The plant grows about 12 inches tall and wide.
This low-maintenance plant is grown from corms, which are elongated and have been described as having a texture like a pinecone. They do best when planted in tight groups in a container. In a 6-inch container, you can plant 5 to 6 corms. Plant them in regular potting soil, they are not picky about soil type. When watering the plant, the soil needs to be a little damp, not soaked.
Put your plant in a location where it gets medium to bright indirect light. If the conditions are not bright enough, your plant will be unhealthy and not have vigorous growth. You might find your plant getting leggy and the stems will flop. If they get too much direct light the plant can get burned.
These plants are “photophilic”, which means the flowers and leaves respond to the light level. In bright light, they are wide open and with low light, the flowers and leaves close. Depending on the variety, the leaves can look like arrowheads.
As a houseplant, Oxalis can have a long life. You might find your plant going dormant. If this happens to you, stop watering it and cut the plant close to the dirt. Put it away and when you start seeing growth on the plant put it back in the original location and start watering it.
Here are four varieties that make great houseplants:
Iron Cross Oxalis – This variety is also known as Oxalis tetraphylla or Four-Leaf Clover. The plant produces clusters of rosy-pink blooms in the summer. The foliage is unique as it has a solid purple imprint in the middle of four heart-shaped leaves. The plant grows 10 inches tall and wide.
Molten Lava Oxalis – This variety has pretty foliage with golden yellow flowers that bloom in spring and summer. The foliage is a rich orange, but if it does not get enough light the foliage will be chartreuse. The plant grows 10 inches tall and wide.
Purple Oxalis – This variety is more commonly known as Oxalis triangularis. The plant has burgundy-purple foliage with light pink flowers. The foliage on this variety is triangular. It grows 12 inches tall and wide. Oxalis triangularis is also available with green leaves and white flowers. We like the purple variety more.
Zinfandel Oxalis – This variety has wine-red leaves with bright yellow flowers. The flowers bloom all summer long. It grows 12 inches tall and wide.
Molten Lava and Zinfandel Oxalis photos courtesy of Proven Winners