FEBRUARY
2015

 

 

By
B. Rosie Lerner
 
Purdue Extension
Consumer
Horticulturist

 

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02-19-15

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Try Your Luck with Shamrocks


shamrock
Oxalis Charmed Jade

Photo Credit: Rosie Lerner Purdue Extension

Although sometimes referred to as clover, the shamrock is not a "true" clover but more typically one of several species of Oxalis. The Oxalis selections commonly sold as shamrocks are grown more for foliage than for their flowers. Both green and purple foliage are popular, and some have quite striking variegated patterns. The shamrock's dainty flowers vary from white to pink and from lavender to yellow, depending on the cultivar. Their flowers close at night and during cloudy weather, making it an interesting plant for youngsters of all ages.

wine shamrock
Oxalis Charmed Wine

The shamrock's low, trailing habit makes it a good specimen for a hanging basket or for a tabletop planter. The roots like to stay close to the soil surface, so they should not be planted too deeply. Water the plants when the top of the soil feels a little bit dry, but be careful not to let the pot get too dry since the roots are shallow. Use a fertilizer for blooming houseplants according to label directions.

Shamrocks grow well in average house temperatures, and they especially prefer cooler temperatures at night. Bright, indirect sunlight is acceptable, but a few hours of direct sunlight will help encourage blooming. A sunny east- or west-facing window is ideal.

After blooming, it's a good idea to allow plants to rest by allowing the soil to dry a bit more than usual and discontinue fertilizing. Resume normal plant care in about two months.

 

Writer: B. Rosie Lerner
Editor: Olivia Maddox