How to Grow Oxalis

No lucky charms needed for this easy-to-grow little plant
Oxalis triangularis  (01) Habit

Oxalis triangularis (01) Habit

Purple oxalis makes a stunning accent for both indoor container gardens and perennial garden beds.

Purple oxalis makes a stunning accent for both indoor container gardens and perennial garden beds.

You can’t miss it in the garden center. The deep maroon – almost black – foliage of purple Oxalis pops against all the other greenery in the houseplant section, making it a favorite with shoppers.

Oxalis often is mistakenly referred to as a shamrock or lucky four-leaf clover – and with good reason. In Ireland, four different species of Oxalis – the largest genus in the wood-sorrel family – are commonly associated with good luck. But its American cousins, especially the four-leafed Oxalis tretraphylla, are popular both indoors and out for their easy care.

While some species of Oxalis are invasive weeds that wreak havoc with lawns, such as Bermuda buttercup (O. pes-caprae) and creeping wood-sorrel (O. corniculata), these showier versions are hardy to zone 5. They include the rosy-flowered O. depressa and the pink sorrel (O. tretraphylla), often erroneously sold as “four-leaf clover.” 

The mounding plants grow 6 to 12 inches tall and sport eye-catching shamrock-shaped leaflets ranging from chartreuse to dark maroon and multiple combinations in between, including ones with speckles.

Perhaps the most popular these days is the purple oxalis, O. triangularis, commonly called purple shamrock. A native of Brazil, it features dark purple triangular leaflets that close at night. 

This oxalis prefers light shade and moist, well-drained soil. Indoors, give it bright light and cool temperatures (60 to 70 degrees) – the brighter the light, the more vibrant the foliage and flowers – but avoid extremes. Feed it a regular houseplant fertilizer. 

Here’s hoping for the luck of the Irish – even though the plant’s from Brazil!

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Repot Houseplants

Rejuvenate indoor plants yearly with these step-by-step instructions.

Resorting to Tropicals for Houseplants

Create your own tropical paradise with these exotic houseplants. However, in their native lands these tropical plants have jobs to do.

How to Grow Rice

Learn how to cultivate a worldwide staple and ornamental plant with these easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions.

How to Grow Ginseng at Home

Follow these tips to grow this exotic perennial in your own garden.

How to Plant and Grow Persimmons

Experts pick their best tips on how to achieve persimmon perfection.

How to Grow an Avocado Tree: Guac 'n' Roll

Tips for turning that avocado pit into a thriving avocado tree and your next bowl of guacamole.

How to Grow Pineapple Plants

Learn how to grow a pineapple plant in your yard or in a pot.

How to Grow Zucchini Plants

Zucchinis are a winner for being one of the quickest — and easiest — members of the squash family to grow.

Twig Newton: How to Grow a Fig Tree

This resilient fruit tree thrives in colder regions and provides a yummy snack.