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OXALIS - EASY TO GROW LUCKY SHAMROCKS



Oxalis, also known as Wood Sorrell, are easy to grow both in the garden and as a houseplant.  The leaves are the stars here – with ornamental divided foliage, sometimes clover like, earning their nickname of False Shamrocks.  Oxalis flowers are a bonus, shooting up small purple, white or red flowers.  Oxalis are members of the Oxalidaceae Family, and can take the form of rhizomes, tubers and tuberous roots that are often uncommon in shape and appearance.  Oxalis adapt easily to any situation – full sun to shade - and are easy to move.  In fact, if planted outdoors, you might want to contain them with edging.  Hardy and ideal for rock gardens, they can be planted in the Spring or Fall. 
 
Oxalis are undemanding plants that grow in rounded clumps of clover-like leaves and 5-petaled flowers.  The leaves open up in the day and fold up at night.  Vigorous and spreading, Oxalis are easily propagated by separating the rhizomes in late summer.  In warmer climates they will grow happily in a sunny location with well-drained soil.  In colder areas, dig in the fall and store until spring.  They are easily grown year round in containers and will last for years.  Although they look dainty, they are quite vigorous. 
 
The following are the types we sell.
 
Regnellii (with the common name of Garden Shamrock) is a popular bedding plant in the South, as it will often grow through the winter.  The leaves are green and three part, each section of which is made up of two right triangles, sometimes with a pink hue on the edges. The flowers are small and snow white and are held above the plant, making a nice contrast. The bulbs of Regnellii are quite peculiar, growing together almost like a pine cone in a long bulbous line.  When it's time to plant, you can gently break apart the bulb cone into individual bulbs.  

      Oxalis Bulb
(Closeup of Oxalis Regnellii bulb)
 
Regenellii Triangularis has leaves of deep purple and gray with powdery pink blooms floating atop its leaves;  they contrast nicely with the purple leaves. They bloom all summer and grow well both in containers and in the garden.  Planted in masses outdoors (zones 7 and above) they will spread to cover the ground in pretty pink clouds.  Dig up in late fall in colder climates.  They also make great container plants, providing indoor color all year long.  



Tetraphylla "Iron Cross" have green heart shaped leaflets with a purple variegation in the center of the leaves resembling a cross.   They have delicate red flowers.  The bulbs are quite different than the Regnelliis, more like a regular bulb.  When mature it will have a long taproot covered with small bulbils which can be re-planted.  Iron Cross should be dug up in late Fall in colder climates.

Oxalis Tetraphylla bulbs are more "bulb" shaped:
          
 
Planting Outdoors:  Oxalis can be planted in either the Fall or the Spring.  They will grow and spread nicely outside in the South: zones 7 and above.  Plant in full sun to partial shade (of course in the deep south and southwest full sun means partial shade).  At planting time sprinkle lightly with bone meal and add compost, peat and/or sand if needed for heavy soil.  Ordinary fertilizer will do, but to produce more flowers you might want one higher in phosphate.  If planted close together and near the surface, Oxalis will come back year after year if well mulched in more moderate climates. 
 
If you live in northern climates, dig them up after frost has killed the tops and store them over the Winter.  Instead of storing, you might want to put them in a pot in a sunny spot for blooms on and off through winter.  Plus, they will multiply nicely during the winter. 
 
Planting Indoors:  Many grow oxalis as a houseplant, and they are practically indestructible.  Use ordinary potting soil, planting just one inch deep and 2 inches apart. 
 
Dividing:
At my house I grow Oxalis both outside and inside.  In just a couple of years, my inside oxalis in pots needed separating, and I was thrilled to see just how much they had multiplied.  The following are photos I took as I repotted them, planting the “extras” outside.  As well as the pine-cone-like bulbs, they also produce light gray fleshy roots which can be replanted.


Many bulbs from one pot

Oxalis Regnellii bulbs, broken into
small pieces, ready to plant.  
3 months later!
Oxalis Regnellii Bulbs in Pot Mary's Garden Patch Oxalis Regnellii in pot

And the Tetraphylla??   LOL.  They were a new planting that I put in the old Regnellii Triangularis pot.  After sifting through and checking thoroughly for any stray pieces, this is what I got!



Oxalis Tetraphylla in a pot with Regnellii

Undemanding and pretty - I'm sure you'll be pleased with Oxalis.


NEW THIS YEAR

Ornithogalum Nutans

Ornithogalum Nutans (also known as Drooping Ornithogalum) has several small fragrant green striped pendant silvery-white flowers.  It is taller than Umbellatum, less aggressive and best suited for warmer climates, zones 5-9.  It tolerates shade well.
Size: 14+ cm
Plant: 3 Bulbs Per Sq Ft
Bloom Time: May
Planting Depth: 4"
Height: 24-30"
Zone: 5-9
Exposure: Semi-Shade

Scilla Peruviana White Moon
Scilla Peruviana White Moon Scilla Peruviana White Moon is the rarer white form of Scilla Peruviana with large heads up to 4 inches.  Even before they open, their cone-shaped buds are stunning.
Size: 16/+ cm.
Plant: 1 Bulb Per Sq Ft or in a 6” pot
Bloom Time: Late Spring
Planting Depth: -6”
Height: 12-16"
Zone: 8-10
Exposure: Sunny/Semi-sunny

SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR FALL
Monsella Peony-Flowered Tulip Nony Paperwhite Azureum Allium Jules Elie Peony Double Delicious Amaryllis for Forcing

Happy planting!
Best regards,
Mary

marysgardenpatch.com
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