Without assistance, both annual and perennial oxalis (Oxalis spp.) can spread throughout the landscape. In layman’s terms, this means that, no matter what your level of experience, you should be able to successfully divide, separate, or grow from seed nearly any member of this family. According to North Carolina Cooperative Extension, purple shamrock or oxalis triangularis, can be propagated by seed by division. Depending on the species, oxalis can be found in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 11.
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Oxalis triangularis, often known as the “love plant,” “false shamrock,” or “purple shamrock,” is a beautiful purple plant that may be cultivated both indoors and outdoors. Oxalis triangularis indoor care, propagation, and more are covered in the following sections.
It is believed that Oxalis triangularis originated in South America. Because of the plant’s stunning purple color and its photophilic nature—in which its leaves and blossoms fold closed at night, then open in the morning in response to light—it is one of the most unusual foliages.
In addition to seed propagation, you have the option of dividing the rhizomes in the spring for the many perennial species of the genus. For some oxalis species, propagation is as simple as separating the offsets and transplanting them, according to Texas A&M University’s horticulture department.
Dividing an Oxalis Plant
1. Locate a Mature Plant
Find a 6- to 8-inch-tall oxalis plant in the spring and keep it watered.
2. Divide the Plant
After placing the tip of a shovel just 4 inches from the stalks, move it down to about 8 to 12 inches below the roots.
3. Remove the Oxalis
Lift the clump of oxalis from the ground with the shovel.
4. Separate the Rhizome Mass
Pull separate the rhizome mass, resulting in several distinct parts. It’s up to you how big you want the new plants to be; as long as each section has some root and a growing stalk, it doesn’t matter how little the divisions are.
5. Transplant the Divisions
Perennials.com recommends digging a hole the same depth as the roots in which to transfer the divisions. Pot up oxalis by filling containers 1 inch wider in diameter than the root portion with regular potting soil before transplanting into a container. Nursery pots with drainage holes at the bottom are ideal for growing plants.
6. Irrigate the Transplants
After replanting the oxalis, make sure the soil is evenly moist to a depth of 6 to 8 inches before watering again. To ensure that the potting soil in the newly potted parts is moist all the way through, water them thoroughly.
7. Ongoing Care for the Oxalis
When the earth begins to feel slightly dry after oxalis is transplanted, water.
Propagating Oxalis From Seed
1. Sow Oxalis Seeds
Slightly sheltered to full sun is ideal for starting seeds. Fine Gardening recommends sowing the seeds in the spring when the soil has warmed to a temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cover Seeds with Soil
Make sure the seeds are just barely covered by about one-eighth of an inch of dirt by gently pressing them into the soil.
3. Encourage Seed Germination
Keep the area wet until the oxalis seeds sprout. To keep the soil in the garden bed moist during the first growing season, keep watering once germination has taken place.
Separating Bulbous Offsets
1. Dig Up Root Mass
A shovel should be placed 4 inches from the clump’s base and then dug down to the bottom of the root mass in the spring.
2. Remove Excess Soil
To reveal the bulbous roots, remove the plants from the ground and rake away the excess soil.
3. Separate Bulbous Roots
With your fingers, separate the bulbous roots. For transplanting, you can use a single stem or a clump.
4. Replant Oxalis Roots
A 2-inch-diameter pot filled with normal potting soil or an area in the yard that is somewhat shaded to partially sunny is ideal. To avoid soil from getting in between the plant’s green stem part and its bulbous roots, place the plants with their white stem bases facing outwards. After planting, be sure to water your plants.
Things You Will Need
- a gardener (optional)
- Pot with a diameter of 2 inches (optional)
Some oxalis species are invasive weeds due to their ability to self-seed or spread via their creeping root structure.
Where can I buy an Oxalis triangularis?
Etsy is a great place to get an Oxalis triangularis plant and its bulbs. It’s a lovely purple Oxalis triangularis plant from one of my favorite Etsy stores.
How do you care for Oxalis Triangularis?
For your convenience, we’ve provided a brief reference guide below. The complete story is here!
For Oxalis triangularis care, the most crucial aspect is that this plant goes into dormancy. During dormancy, the plant’s needs are considerably different from those during its active growth period.
Oxalis triangularis dormancy is the first thing I’ll cover, followed by how to properly care for this plant while it is actively growing.
Oxalis Triangularis Dormancy
After the growing season, Oxalis triangularis goes into dormancy. When the plant appears to be dying, the foliage may begin to droop, and the leaves may no longer unfold.
The best thing to do is to let it die off naturally. The dead leaves can be removed after the plant has died back.
For at least a month, place the pot in a darker, colder location; however, it may take longer. You shouldn’t feed it or hydrate it.
I’ll cover this plant’s typical care regimen in detail throughout this post after you notice fresh growth.
Water it little at first, and then gradually increase your watering until it is normal. That’s the only thing you should do differently.
Dormancy is now covered, thus the rest of this care guide will be geared toward when the plant is actively developing until I specifically state that it should be used in another way.
Does Oxalis need sun or shade?
Indirect light is preferable for Oxalis triangularis, but it can grow in intense light. Grow lights can also be used, but they’re not as effective as natural light.
For the first several days, keep an eye on your plant under the grow lights. If necessary, adjust the distance between the plant and the light.
So you want to get some grow lights, but what sort should you get? I have an entire post dedicated to indoor plant grow lights, but if you’re pressed for time, here are my two favorites:
To see the photographs, click here for my favorite clip-on geese neck grow lights and here for my favorite stick-on grow light strips!
Does Oxalis Triangularis need full sun?
The foliage of Oxalis can be burned if it is exposed to full sunlight. Make sure the sun’s rays aren’t beaming directly on your plant when you’re lighting it with indirect light.
When the top inch or two of the potting mix is dry, water your Oxalis. Be careful not to overwater it or you could risk root damage if it is kept too dry for a long period of time.
Humidity and Temperature
This Oxalis can tolerate normal levels of household humidity.
Temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 degrees Celsius) will cause the plant to go into dormancy, therefore keep the temperature between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 and 23.8 degrees Celsius).
Consider using a well-draining potting mix that can hold some moisture. Perlite can be added to an indoor plant potting mix to achieve this.
Use a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer at half strength every two weeks while the plant is not dormant.
Oxalis triangularis should be replanted every two years. Keep the plant in a pot that is one size larger than its current pot, and ensure sure the pot has adequate drainage.
It is possible to move the bulb when the plant is dormant and repot it. A wet potting mix should be used to plant the bulbs.
Make sure they’re not stacked on top of each other by at least an inch.
Put them back in the bright, indirect light with a few drops of water. At the end of its slumber, do this.
Avoid doing this right after the plant becomes dormant, as it needs time to recuperate. Be patient; growth may take a few weeks to appear.
Plants do better in terra cotta pots because they dry out more quickly and are less likely to suffer from root rot.
Removing dead foliage can be done after the plant has gone into dormancy for the season.
You can also use a pair of clean, sharp scissors to remove any dead flowers once they have died.
Additionally, Oxalis triangularis is known for its stunning purple leaves. White and light pinkish-purple flowers will be in bloom. Like the leaves, the blossoms likewise close at night.
Problems, Diseases, and Pests
If you find that your houseplant is struggling, it’s crucial to take a look at your complete care routine and see if there are any changes that need to be made.
Oxalis triangularis issues can arise for a variety of reasons, some of which are listed above.
Powdery mildew could be the culprit (a fungal disease). This is most usually caused by a lack of air circulation under rainy, dark, and humid situations.
A fungicide can be used to treat the condition if it is severe, but in most cases the problem is minor and will go away on its own. If you have pets, be sure to follow the label’s directions and use caution.
Excessive exposure to the sun’s rays can also cause white spots to appear on the skin.
Why is my Oxalis dying?
Your Oxalis Triangularis is most likely NOT going into hibernation, but rather going into a state of suspended animation.
The plant will go into dormancy after the growing season or if the potting mix is too dry or the temperature changes drastically. After about a month to two months, it will reappear.
Pests to watch out for
Mealybugs are a potential pest. If you observe white patches as I described above, be sure they aren’t mealybugs, but powdery mildew, and not the other way around.
In addition to aphids and spider mites, whiteflies and other pests are also possible.
Bonide Systemic Houseplant Insect Control is one of my favorites for general houseplant pest control, however there are more in-depth methods for dealing with each individual pest. If you have pets, be sure to follow the label’s directions and use caution.
Oxalis Triangularis Propagation
Oxalis Triangularis Propagation by Bulbs
Repotting the bulbs into different pots while the plant is dormant is an easy way to multiply your Oxalis triangularis. In the repotting part, I explained how to achieve this:
A wet potting mix should be used to plant the bulbs. Make sure they’re not stacked on top of each other by at least an inch.
Put them in bright, indirect light with a little water. At the end of its slumber, do this.
Avoid doing this right after the plant becomes dormant, as it needs time to recuperate. For new growth to appear, it may take a few weeks.
Oxalis Triangularis Propagation by Division
While your plant is actively growing, you have the option of dividing it. This option is available if you have a large, well-formed plant that can be divided into multiple portions, each with its own bulb.
It’s easy to remove a part of the plant from the pot without causing too much damage to the roots and ensuring you get the entire root cluster as well.
Cut away the tangled roots with clean, sharp scissors, but try to retain as much of the root as possible intact.
Put each piece back in its original pot, water it well, and place it in bright, indirect light once more.
Some of your plant’s leaves may close up as a result of the change. Take your time and let the system settle in.
Is Oxalis triangularis rare?
This plant isn’t exactly uncommon as a houseplant, but I wouldn’t call it that either. If you can’t get your hands on a mature plant, there are plenty of bulbs to choose from.
Is Oxalis triangularis poisonous to humans?
Oxalis triangularis can be consumed by humans, but in moderation. I’ve never eaten this plant before, but it sounds delicious! This plant can be consumed raw or cooked in moderation, according to my research.
If you plan to eat this plant, please conduct your own study first.
Is Oxalis triangularis poisonous to pets?
Pets can be poisoned by Oxalis triangularis if they consume significant amounts, thus even if they only eat one leaf, you should keep it out of their reach.
To see the images above, click here for clip-on goose-neck grow lights, and here for stick-on grow light strips! )
In the past, you may have noticed that I frequently write about grow lights on my website. If you’re new, you should know that I talk a lot about grow lights. It’s because they’ve revolutionized my experience with houseplants.
No longer am I constrained by the amount of window space I have or the direction they face (which for me is NOT MUCH and NORTH (poor light)) in terms of the number and kind of plants I can keep. The grow lights I use allow me to grow plants everywhere in my house.
While I’ve used other lights (which you may see me endorse), the two grow lights I’ve linked to above have been a staple for me ever since I started growing plants indoors. They’re perfect for me because they can be attached to just about anything and moved around with ease, and they also stick to shelves above plants, which is precisely what I need. I don’t even have to manually switch them on and off because they both have timers!
Stackable moss pole (if image above isn’t showing, go here to see it)
As a rule, I prefer to display my favorite climbing plants in a climbing fashion, rather than dangling from the ceiling. Allowing plants to do what they were born to do (climb!) can help them grow stronger, healthier, and larger in the wild. Yay!
Because, you know, plants grow, I adore stackable moss poles. Over time, they’ll overrun the pole’s capacity to contain them. It’s a real pain in the rear to have to replace the complete pole. You can easily increase the length of the pole with this stackable moss pole!
Oxalis Triangularis Care Guide
The lovely branches, leaves, and flowers of the wood sorrel family are produced by a tuberous rhizome (bulb). Because of its bulb, a poorly cared-for plant can survive despite its dying leaves (for example, if it is not adequately watered or it is kept too cold).
In the summer, the plant may die back spontaneously (which is odd as this tends to be the plant growing season). Be calm and do not get rid of the plant if this happens to you. Keep the False Shamrock because it is likely to re-grow, rather than discarding it.
Best light conditions for the False Shamrock
Although the leaves of Oxalis Trinagularis are hard to burn, positioning the plant too close to a window can cause the leaves to grow towards the light source and adhere to the window pane. As a result, indirect, strong light, such as a few feet away from an east or west-facing window, is ideal for the love plant.
Watering your Oxalis Triangularis
Watering too frequently might cause root rot in the bulbs, so be careful not to overwater this particular houseplant. During the winter months, you may only need to water your plant once every few weeks.
In general, high levels of humidity aren’t a concern. If a plant’s leaves get damaged, crispy, or brown, it is most likely due to pests, not watering or humidity. You should fertilize your Oxalis triangularis fairly frequently during the growing season (every two to four weeks) with a mild fertiliser mix because of the quick turnover of leaves and flowers.
Best soil/ substrate mix for the False Shamrock
False Shamrock, in contrast to other indoor plants like most Calathea kinds, can thrive in a wider range of soils and substrates than most others. There are many different types of soil for Oxalis triangularis, but they all have one thing in common: they all need to be well-drained.
Oxalis triangularis Flowers
The Love Plant is one of the easiest houseplants to flower, making it a joy to grow. Oxalis triangularis varieties come in a variety of colors and sizes: white, pink, or light purple flowers.
False Shamrock’s blooms should bloom throughout the plant’s non-dormant stage and at the same time as the leaves emerge if grown in optimal conditions. Within a few days of emerging from the tubers, the flowers begin to bloom.
How to Propagate False Shamrock
Oxalis Triangularis is a weed if you’re growing inside and have a lot of plants in close proximity to each other. Moreover, the plant’s corms (bulbo-tuber) can be easily dispersed.
Replanting the corms into well-draining potting soil and waiting for new stems and blooms to sprout are the most straightforward methods of propagating the Love Plant. Another method of propagation is to divide the plant during repotting and then replant it.
Oxalis Triangularis dormancy (and dormancy care)
You should keep in mind that your Oxalis triangularis plant will fall into dormancy at least once a year or so. During this time, the plant will cease to produce new stems and blossoms, and all of the current ones will die back.
This period of dormancy is totally typical for the plant, so don’t panic! The fact that your oxalis has gone into a rest period does not mean that it has died. You’ll notice that your plant will stop flowering and the remaining leaves will begin to droop as an indication that it is entering its dormant period.
A natural death will occur if you do nothing, and you can remove the plant’s dried leaves. If you like, you can prune the plant. Stop watering your plant as soon as it looks to be entering its dormant period to avoid root rot.
After that, the plant will be dormant for a few weeks or months before it begins to regrow. A typical Oxalis Triangularis growth cycle begins with rapid growth in the summer, then slows down in the fall, and finally enters a dormant state in the winter.
Nevertheless, this isn’t always the case; in fact, my mother’s plant went into dormancy over the summer! The plant’s watering routine can resume as soon as new leaves appear.
Love Plant Problems
My False Shamrock has completely died back!
When the blooms and stalks of a plant entirely fall back, many people assume that the plant has died. However, this is not always the case. Instead, the plant is most likely in a state of dormancy at this time. To guarantee the best possible care for your Oxalis triangularis, follow the dormancy measures outlined above.