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Get Lucky With Oxalis!

Get Lucky With Oxalis!

“For each petal on the shamrock, this brings a wish your way; Good health, good luck, and happiness for today and every day.”

You don’t have to be Irish and it doesn’t need to be St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy that message — or shamrocks! Formally called “oxalis,” these small charmers light up both indoor and outdoor gardens with their easygoing ways and exuberant looks. Want to grow some? We’ll show you how! Pssst…it’s easy.

About Oxalis

Funny enough, oxalis do not come from Ireland — they’re native to many other places in the world, primarily South and Central America. These wee beauties start as tiny bulbs that look like immature pinecones, and they can be planted closely together to form a thicker mound.

There are some types of oxalis that are beasts in the garden, and we don’t mean that in a good way — we mean the dreaded “I” word…invasive. But no worries — the varieties we sell are the well-behaved sorts, impish enough to cause a little ruckus with their jaunty good looks, but never so out of control that they get kicked out of the party.

These long-lived plants can be grown both indoors and out, with some careful variety selection and adjusted care — keep reading to make the best selection for you.

Fun fact: Oxalis are photophilic, meaning that both the leaves and the flowers fold up at night, and open up again the next morning as the light brightens.

Oxalis as Houseplants

There are lots of varieties of oxalis, but two in particular are well-adapted for growing indoors as houseplants — oxalis triangularis and oxalis regnelli. The difference in appearance is mostly with the leaves — triangularis has the recognizable pinwheel-shaped leaves, while regnelli’s leaves are more heart-shaped. Both are equally adorable, in our opinion!

  • Light: Bright, indirect light (a sunny windowsill is perfect)
  • Water: Moderate to Low (they’re bulbs, so you don’t want to overwater them — once a week is generally sufficient)
  • Growth: 4” – 8” high, 3” – 12” spread
  • Leaf color: green or dark purple
  • Flower color: pale pink or white

Our indoor oxalis ships in a variety of pre-planted giftable options, including a reclaimed wooden cube planter and an end-of-the-rainbow gold container. Our favorites are Oxalis Pot o’ Gold with its luck-laden green leaves and starry white flowers, and our Oxalis Triangularis and Regnelli Mix that blends both purple and green oxalis together (because sometime you simply can’t choose, right?).

Oxalis in the Garden 

When you move out into the garden, your oxalis options really open up. While the houseplant varieties triangularis and regnelli both grow outside as well, there are loads more varieties including hirta, purpurea, versicolor, and fabaefolia that shine in the great outdoors. Some of these grow a bit taller and wider than their indoor friends, but they are all still compact plants — ideal for containers, borders, and edgings. And those leaves and flowers! The old-fashioned cuteness is irresistible, don’t you think?

  • Light: Full to part sun
  • Water: Moderate to low
  • Growth: up to 12” high and 18” wide
  • Leaf Color: green, dark purple, two-toned
  • Flower Color: white, pink, rose, yellow, lilac pink, red/white
  • Bloom Time: early summer, fall
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-10

So, if we were you, we’d tuck some Oxalis Iron Cross at the front of your border — its green clover-like leaves with deep purple centers and rosy pink blooms are just the thing to put a little jig in your step. Or, we’d go with Oxalis Mijke in your potted plants; the deep purple leaves and pale lilac flowers will add to the display without taking it over. Can’t decide? We can hardly blame you. The Oxalis Double Luck Collection is for you — you’ll get both Triangularis and Iron Cross oxalis bulbs to give you a unique blend of foliage and flowers!

Whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor oxalis, we’d like to encourage you to get several — because, in the words of this old Irish blessing, “May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow.”

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  • Katie Elzer-Peters