Oxalis acetosella – Wood sorrel
St. Frankie’s Garden Lore
Oxalis acetosella / wood sorrel / Shamrock Plant
In hot summer regions they will need protection from the afternoon sun. They should only be planted in very well drained soil. Water regularly and thoroughly while actively growing, but Shamrocks prefer to be kept on the dry side during winter while they are dormant. In areas with wet winters they should be grown in raised planting beds or under the eaves of the house.
“top o the day to you Lassie” – did ye receive a shamrock plants as a bit o a wee gift now me lady. Aye, know the plant well do we now.
Oxalis acetosella, or wood sorrel is a plant called shamrock. Oxalis is a perennial plant that grows about 5 inches high. It is common to grow Oxalis outside amongst your Summer Bedding, the annuals, perennials or shrubs. It’s a gardeners plant in many respects.
Three is often the magic number when it comes to Oxalis. The most common species grown as a houseplant is Oxalis triangularis which has three common names, False Shamrock, Purple Shamrock and Love Plant. It has three purple heart shaped leaves, which each have three sides, that sit symmetrically to one another at the end of every petiole (or “stem”). Other species are similar in shape, except they tend to have green leaves. The plant is dainty and elegant and everything stays compact if kept in a pot which makes it an ideal house or office plant in many respects.
Wood sorrel (Oxalis spp.) can be grown outdoors in rock gardens and as a ground-cover plant or indoors as a houseplant. It typically is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 to 11. Wood sorrels generally grow to a height of 6 to 10 inches and can spread nearly indefinitely by underground runners. They usually bloom in spring and fall, producing pink, purple, red, white or yellow flowers.
It throws out one last bit of magic with it’s white flowers that emerge on mass above the darker colored purple foliage below, creating a strong contrast that really makes them stand out.
The plant is also a little bit magic, because it can revive itself from the dead! Rather than being intrinsically linked with the soil like many other plants, Oxalis is linked to the soil by its tiny bulbs.
Forget to water it, temperature drops too low or its living conditions are generally poor, everything above the surface will wilt and die back to take refuge in the bulbs below. As soon as good conditions are restored the plant comes back to life incredibly quickly.
The hardiness varies with different species, from hardy in zone 3 to frost tender. Tender species can be grown in containers and brought indoors to overwinter. Shamrocks grow and bloom best in full sun, but will they will tolerate partial shade.