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Is it Oxalis or a Shamrock? Let’s find out!

Although the plant you’re giving your favorite ‘Irishman’ may look like a shamrock, it’s actually an Oxalis.

The word “shamrock” is a variation of an Irish word for ‘little clover.’

This fun, St. Patrick’s Day favorite is one of over 500 species in the Oxalidaceae family of plants. In tropical climates, it is grown as an annual or perennial. But in Michigan, this symbol of good luck is a cheery, baeautiful houseplant with shamrock-shaped foliage and 5-petal flowers. Easy-to-grow, they prefer bright filtered light, low humidity, moderately moist soil and monthly feedings.

Oxalis comes in a variety of color variations including green and purple.

While the green variety is very popular, the purple Oxalis regnellii var. triangularis is a stunning spin on this favorite plant and a definite “must have”. It has rich burgundy-purple foliage with the same clover-shamrock shape and pink-blushed white flowers. Beautiful on its own, this purple “must have” is even more spectacular when partnered with other varieties.

Oxalis leaves will naturally fold up at night or on overcast days so don’t panic!

Remember, our “Shamrock” Oxalis is actually grown from a small bulb so it will experience a die back at the end of its season. If you want to enjoy this beauty for another season or two, let it go dormant. To let it go dormant – stop watering it and, once its foliage turns brown, remove the spent leaves. Place it in a cool, dark place for 2-3 months (only 1 month for purple varieties). At the end of this ‘rest’ period, you can begin watering and feeding your Oxalis again and place it in a bright spot.


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