Discover the Diversity of 12 Ornamental Oxalis Varieties for Your Garden


Oxalis, commonly known as shamrock, is a group of plants that are popular for their ornamental foliage. There are many different varieties of oxalis, each with its own unique characteristics. Some varieties are more common than others, but all of them make beautiful additions to any garden.

One of the most popular varieties is Oxalis triangularis, also known as the purple shamrock. It is a low-growing plant that thrives in zones 7 to 10 and has beautiful triangular-shaped leaves. It is quite easy to care for, with only minimal fertilizer requirements.

Another common variety is Oxalis acetosella, also known as wood sorrel. It has delicate white flowers and clover-like leaves. This variety prefers cooler temperatures and filtered light, making it ideal for indoor plantings. It is also native to redwood forests, where it tends to spread and form carpets of green foliage.

Oxalis latifolia is another option for indoor plantings. It has larger leaves than other varieties and its foliage has a silver color. This variety requires more water than others and has specific temperature and humidity requirements. It is also known by other names such as ‘silver shamrock’ and ‘butterfly shamrock’.

One of the most unique varieties is Oxalis tetraphylla, also known as the lucky clover or four-leaf sorrel. Unlike other varieties, this one has four leaflets instead of three, making it a symbol of good luck. It is quite easy to propagate through seed or by dividing the clumps of bulbs.

When it comes to caring for oxalis plants, it is important to provide them with the right growing conditions. They prefer well-drained soil and should be watered evenly to prevent overwatering. They also benefit from regular fertilizing, especially during the growing season. Deadheading is not necessary, but can help promote continuous blooming.

In conclusion, there are many different ornamental oxalis varieties to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. Whether you prefer the purple shamrock or the silver shamrock, these plants can add a touch of beauty to any garden or indoor space. With the right care and attention, oxalis plants can thrive and bring joy to their owners for many years to come.

How to Plant and Grow Oxalis

Oxalis is a botanical name for a group of plants that belong to the oxalidaceae family. There are many different varieties of oxalis, including the popular Oxalis massoniana, also known as the ‘Iron Cross’. These plants are known for their attractive foliage and dainty flowers, and they can be grown both indoors and outdoors.

When planting oxalis, it’s important to note that they are dormant during the winter months. This means that they will not show much growth during this time. It’s best to begin planting them in the early spring, when the temperatures begin to warm up and the plants start to come out of their dormant period.

There are a few different options for planting oxalis. One option is to plant their rhizomes directly into the ground in your garden or outdoor planters. Another option is to start them indoors in pots, and then transplant them outside once the weather is suitable. This is a better option for those living in colder zones or in areas where the Oxalis plant is not native.

Oxalis plants are fairly easy to grow. They prefer well-draining soil and prefer to be planted in partial shade or filtered light. However, some varieties, such as the Oxalis tetraphylla or the ‘Iron Cross’, can tolerate full sun. It’s important to give them regular water, but be careful not to overwater them, as they can be susceptible to root rot.

When it comes to fertilizing oxalis, it’s best to do so sparingly. These plants don’t require a lot of extra nutrients, and over-fertilizing can actually be detrimental to their growth. A light application of a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season is usually sufficient.

Oxalis plants can be propagated through division or by planting the seeds. They can also be grown from bulbs or rhizomes. If you choose to propagate them by division, it’s best to do so in the early spring when the plants are starting to come out of their dormant period. Simply dig up the rhizomes, separate them, and then replant them in a well-draining soil mix.

One thing to note about oxalis is that they can be invasive in some areas, particularly in warmer climates. If you live in an area where oxalis is considered invasive, it’s best to be cautious when planting them in your garden. Consider planting them in containers or using a barrier to prevent them from spreading.

Oxalis plants are generally pest-resistant, but they can be susceptible to certain common pests such as aphids and spider mites. If you notice any signs of infestation, it’s best to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage to the plants.

In conclusion, oxalis plants are a beautiful addition to any garden or indoor plant collection. Whether you choose to grow them as perennials in your garden, or as a houseplant, they are sure to add a pop of color and interest with their rich foliage and dainty flowers. With proper care and attention, you can enjoy these lovely plants year after year.

Oxalis Overview

Oxalis, also known as shamrock or wood sorrel, is a type of houseplant that belongs to the Oxalidaceae family. There are over 500 named varieties of Oxalis, with some of the most popular being the tropical and ornamental varieties. These plants have vibrant colors and unique leaflets that make them a fun and attractive option for both indoor and outdoor plantings.

Oxalis is known for its ability to thrive in a wide range of conditions. It can tolerate a wide range of temperature and light exposure, making it a versatile houseplant. However, it is important to provide the right care to ensure its health and vitality.

When grown indoors, Oxalis should be placed in a well-draining potting mix. This is crucial as Oxalis rhizomes, or bulbs, are prone to rotting in wet conditions. A well-draining soil mix will help prevent excess moisture and promote healthy growth. It is also essential to be careful with watering, as overwatering can lead to root rot. It is recommended to water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry.

Oxalis varieties differ in their light requirements. Some varieties, like the purple Oxalis ‘Iron Cross’, prefer bright, indirect sunlight, while others can tolerate lower light conditions. It is important to consider the specific light needs of each variety before placing them in a certain location.

Fertilizing is not frequently required for Oxalis, but a balanced organic fertilizer can be applied every 3 to 4 weeks during the growing season to promote flowering and growth.

During periods of dormancy, which usually occur in winter, Oxalis can be placed in a cooler spot with reduced watering. It will eventually regrow when conditions become more favorable.

Oxalis is relatively pest-free, but it can occasionally be affected by pests like aphids and mealybugs. Regular monitoring and prompt treatment can help prevent pest infestations.

Propagation of Oxalis can be done through dividing rhizomes or through seeds. Division is the most common method and can be done by separating the rhizomes and replanting them in separate containers or garden beds. Seeds can also be collected from the cross-shaped pods that form after flowering.

In summary, Oxalis is a versatile and attractive houseplant that can be grown in a wide range of conditions. With proper care and attention, it can thrive and add a pop of color to any space. So, if you’re looking for a unique and low-maintenance plant, consider adding an ornamental Oxalis variety to your collection.

Where to Plant Oxalis

Oxalis plants are versatile and can be planted in various locations in your garden. Whether you are looking to create mass plantings or want to add them as accents, they can fit well in different settings.

For those who want to showcase their Oxalis varieties, planting them in full sun is ideal. This will help the plants grow evenly and produce beautiful blooms. Some popular varieties that thrive in full sun include the Burgundy Wine, ‘Ione’, and ‘Molten Lava’.

If you prefer a partially shaded area in your garden, there are also Oxalis varieties that can thrive in these conditions. The Triangularis, Enneaphylla, and Oregana are known to do well with partial shade, giving you the flexibility to plant them under trees or in spots that receive filtered light.

Oxalis is known for its spreading habit, so keep this in mind when deciding where to plant them. If you want to contain their growth, it is recommended to plant them in pots or raised beds. On the other hand, if you want them to fill in a specific area, you can let them roam freely in the garden.

Oxalis varieties are also suitable for indoor plantings, as long as they receive sufficient light. Place them near a bright window or use artificial lighting to meet their light requirements.

Overall, Oxalis plants are fairly hardy and can thrive in various conditions. Just make sure to provide them with well-draining soil and avoid overwatering to prevent any potential problems.

If you have any questions on how to grow and care for specific Oxalis varieties, consult a gardening guide or reach out to a local gardening expert for advice.

How and When to Plant Oxalis

Oxalis, also known as sorrel or shamrock, is an ornamental plant that comes in various colors and types. There are around 800 different species of oxalis, with some of the more popular ones being O. acetosella, O. pes-caprae, O. tetraphylla, and O. latifolia.

The name “oxalis” comes from the Greek word for “sour,” which refers to the tart taste of the plant’s leaves. These leaves are usually shaped like shamrocks, with three or four leaflets arranged in a clover-like pattern.

Oxalis plants are relatively easy to grow, making them a favorite among gardeners. They can be planted in borders, as ground cover, or in containers for a colorful display. Most oxalis plants prefer a sunny location, although some species, like O. acetosella, can tolerate partial shade.

The basics of planting oxalis involve selecting a suitable location and preparing the soil. The best time to plant oxalis is typically in late winter or early spring, around March, when the temperatures start to warm up. Choose an area with well-draining soil and good air circulation.

Planting oxalis is quite simple. Dig a hole that is about four times the size of the plant’s root ball and place the plant in the hole, making sure that the base of the plant is level with the soil surface. Backfill the hole with soil and gently firm it around the plant to remove any air pockets.

When it comes to watering oxalis, it is important to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. During the growing season, oxalis plants need regular watering, especially during dry spells. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.

Oxalis plants go through a dormancy period, typically in late summer or early fall. During this time, their foliage may die back and the plant will stop growing. This is a natural process and not a cause for concern. Allow the plant to go dormant, and reduce watering until new growth appears.

Oxalis plants can sometimes attract pests, such as aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. If necessary, treat the plants with organic pest control methods to prevent these problems.

In terms of maintenance, oxalis plants are generally low-maintenance. They do not require much fertilization, although a light application of balanced fertilizer in spring can help promote healthy growth and vibrant flowers. Deadheading faded flowers can also encourage more blooms.

It is worth noting that some species of oxalis, like O. acetosella and O. latifolia, can be toxic if ingested. If you have pets or small children, be careful when growing these plants and keep them out of reach.

In summary, growing oxalis can be a rewarding experience for gardeners. With their colorful foliage and delicate flowers, oxalis plants add beauty and charm to any garden setting. By following the proper planting and care techniques, you can enjoy the vibrant blooms of oxalis plants throughout the year.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.