one lucky plant

Oxalis regnellii,

Oxalis regnellii, better known as the Shamrock Plant is a lovely little one that will bring bright color (and maybe good luck) into your home well past St. Patrick’s Day.

The Shamrock Plant reaches a max height of 8 inches tall. The leaves are clover-shaped and in the spring, fall, and winter, small delicate flowers appear. There are over 570 species with a rainbow range of color, from bright and dark greens to the sought-after burnt oranges and dark purple foliage. Exposure to the sun will cause these color nuances in either the green or purple varieties.

Oxalis grows from rhizomes or bulbs, which is a unique feature for a houseplant*. And it’s easy to care for because of this. For example, if you miss watering for a while the bulbs go dormant. Start watering again and the plant reappears like magic! Another little trick this plant pulls out of its hat … at night the leaves fold up and close, reopening in the morning with the sunlight.

Speaking of sunlight, Oxalis regnellii likes sunny indirect light. A southeast facing window will work best but it’s a hardy plant and can tolerate various lighting conditions. I water my plant once a week in the winter and 2 twice a week in the spring/summer. It likes moist soil. Let it dry in between waterings to prevent root rot.

The Shamrock Plant can easily be propagated by separating the rhizomes and replanting in soil.

All of us remember as kids searching through the grass to find the lucky four-leaf clover.  In 11th grade, at lacrosse practice I scooped up a four-leaf clover as I was going for a ground ball, I swear! I framed it and have it somewhere in my parents’ basement.

So, what is the difference between Oxalis, Clover, four-leaf Clover and shamrocks?  Here’s the breakdown.

A shamrock according to Encyclopedia Britannica, is any of several similar-appearing trifoliate plants (leaves divided into three leaflets). Plants called shamrocks include the family Oxalidaceae, or any of various plants of the pea family, including white clover, suckling clover, and black medic.

Therefore, clovers, the ground clover plant, and the house plant Oxalis are both considered shamrocks. Four-leaf clovers are a genetic mutation of the clover. They are rare to find, but not impossible with the luck of the Irish.

For more on plants and gardening follow Paula for the day to day on instagram – @theglorifiedtomato

*Oxalis regnellii, can also be grown outdoors in our garden zone 7. It must be dug up and brought in before the frost.