Houseplant of the Week: Oxalis or ‘Shamrock’ Plant

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With St. Patrick’s Day arriving in a few weeks, we thought we’d turn our attention to what’s often called the Shamrock houseplant – but in truth is the woodsorrel known as Oxalis.

Boasting hundreds of varieties, you’ll usually see oxalis with green or purple clover-like leaves.

They are also a relatively easy houseplant to cultivate. There is one very important thing to keep in mind however: these plants tend to go into dormancy during the summer. Don’t throw them out! They’re resting, not dead.

Caring for Your Oxalis

Soil/Watering: Your Oxalis would like lightly moist soil and make sure to let it dry out between waterings.

Light/Temperature: Room temperature and good air circulation are perfect for the oxalis. It likes bright, but not direct light. (Except when it’s resting, as we’ll explain below.)

Food: Fertilize with a balanced houseplant food every few months.

I’m not dead, I’m resting: In late spring or early summer, the leaves will begin to die, but the plant is still okay. It’s just going into its period of dormancy to rest. Move the plant to a cooler, darker location, away from direct light and leave it alone – no water or fertilizer.  Just check on your plant every couple of weeks; dormancy can last from several weeks up to about three months, depending on the plant and external conditions.

When you see new shoots, your oxalis has woken up and would love it if you moved it back into the light and resumed regular care.