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.
What is a Shamrock Plant?
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.
Growing Oxalis Houseplant
When shoots appear in autumn, begin watering the newly growing Oxalis houseplant. Soil should remain lightly moist during times of growth. Water 2 to 3 times a month, allowing soil to dry out between waterings.
Fertilize after watering with a balanced houseplant food.
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.