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Oxalis Triangularis care: How to successfully grow Purple Shamrock indoors

Oxalis Triangularis care: How to successfully grow Purple Shamrock indoors

Oxalis Triangularis Care

Around 2017-2018 there was one plant I couldn’t get my mind off, Oxalis Triangularis. The perfect Purple Shamrock with leaves reminding you of butterflies. In a home otherwise dominated by the color of green, this plant adds a lovely touch of color.


Oxalis Triangularis is one of the easiest indoor plants I’ve had in recent years. Give it light and water and it will reciprocate with rapid growth – it can even get to the point where it’s growing a tad too much and you’ll want to prune it or divide it. If you’re new to houseplants and want something low maintenance, this could be a great place to start.

The plant is part of the Oxalidaceae-family and there are several different varieties within this species, but Oxalis Triangularis is without comparison one of the most striking ones of the bunch. What I love so dearly about this plant, besides its gorgeous color, is the minimalistic look. Another thing that makes Oxalis Triangularis a bit more special, is the fact that the plant moves at night. Keep a close eye and you will notice the leaves open up at night, and close again when the light comes.


How to care for Oxalis Triangularis

How to care for Oxalis Triangularis

As said above, Oxalis Triangularis has been a very easy plant to take care of for me, and I’m happy to pass on the plant care knowledge I’ve gathered over the years.

Water: Oxalis Triangularis does not like to dry out, and if the plant is lacking water you’ll quickly notice it – they simply lose energy and the plant will look weak. If this has happened to you, don’t lose hope, but place the pot in a basin of water and let it stay for a while.

While the leaves on Oxalis Triangularis are extremely thin and seem very fragile, underneath the soil you’ll find some hardy bulbs that determine whether or not the plant is dead. An Oxalis can seem dead, but it could also be a case of the plant being dormant and simply waiting for better conditions to start growth. We’ve personally experienced it on ours where we didn’t see new growth for months, but after moving to a more sunny placement it started shooting fast.

If you’ve had your Oxalis Triangularis for a while and keep it in a plastic container, try to gently squeeze the pot with your hands, and you might experience what can be seen in the image below – some pretty solid shamrock roots that look like something from an alien-movie.

Oxalis Triangularis bulb
Check out the creepy looking roots growing in this pot!

Light: Give the plant a fair share of light – indirect light preferably, but a couple of hours of daily sun can work as well. Be careful with too much direct sun, which can scorch the leaves.

Soil: You can use regular potting soil

Flowers: Every now and then your Oxalis Triangularis will brighten up the room with lovely pinkish flowers. When they’re done blooming they will wither and disappear. You can cut them off (I typically cut them off as close to the ground as possible), but you don’t have to.

Growing outdoors: If you’re fortunate enough to have a garden or balcony, you can grow Oxalis Triangularis outside in the warmer months. It’s not a perennial so you’ll have to protect it from winter by taking it in – or simply grabbing a few bulbs and planting them. In my experience growing the plant outdoors results in a completely different look than if I do it indoors – the plant becomes less leggy and leaves get smaller.


Oxalis Triangularis bulbs and how to propagate

A tiny Oxalis Triangularis bulb with a leaf ready to grow

First things first, you cannot propagate Oxalis Triangularis from seed. The only way to get a new plant is to take the bulbs and plant them in a new pot, and new growth will come directly from these.


How to remove and repot the bulbs

In order to repot bulbs, you want to take your Oxalis out of its container and remove excess soil. Once you do this you’ll notice a chunk of white, thick lumps – these are the bulbs. You’re gonna have to remove these bulbs, and you might actually have to break them off – so don’t be scared to be a bit rough with handling, it can survive it. Take the bulbs you’ve removed and put them into a new pot and keep it slightly moist.

If your existing Oxalis (that you took the bulbs from) starts to look sad in the days after, don’t worry – it’s simply ‘recovering’ from the injury and will return to normal quickly.

If you like your Oxalis Triangluaris to have a minimalistic look, you might have to remove bulbs every now and then, as the plant can grow surprisingly fast if it’s thriving. New growth will, however, be determined by the size of the container, so give it a bigger container and it will increase in size, but as the roots are some chunky ones, they also end up taking a lot of space in the container leaving less room for soil – so either way you have to do something at one point.


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