Houseplant of the Week: Shamrocks

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With St. Patrick’s Day arriving soon, we thought we’d turn our attention to the lovely Shamrock houseplant – symbol of Ireland and boasting hundreds of varieties, most with green or purple clover-like leaves. (The term shamrock comes from the Irish seamróg or seamair óg, which means “young clover”).

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 Shamrock

Soil/Watering: Your Shamrock 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 shamrock. 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.  Check a couple of weeks check on it periodically. Dormancy can last from several weeks up to about three months, depending on the plant and external conditions.

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