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Oxalis triangularis Oxalis triangularis

Oxalis triangularis

Botanical Name — Oxalis triangularis
Common Name — False shamrock/ Purple Love Plant/ Wood sorrel
Plant Family — Oxalidaceae

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Background


The Oxalis is an edible perennial plant native to the southern parts of South America. It’s leaves grow in a trifoliate pattern, hence the name “False Shamrock” and close like an umbrella at night. If filmed as a timelapse the opening and closing of the leaves look like a butterfly in flight. The Oxalis bloom small white/purple flowers throughout spring and summer. 

Growth Requirements

Sun

  • The oxalis will grow well in very bright indirect sunlight.
  • If southern or western exposure sitting back from the window. A room with northern or eastern exposure would do well sitting in the window sill. 
  • Purple varieties can handle lower light than the green leaf varieties.  
Temperature/ Humidity 
  • Prefers cooler indoor temperates. Thrives in 60 degrees or higher up to 75 degrees. 
  • Will enter dormancy prematurely or start to look sad above 80 degrees for an extended period of time.
  • Will do fine in average humidity.  
Water
  • Saturate the soil with water and let the top inch or so dry out in between. This plant can dry handle a little bit of dryness between waterings, particularly during cooler weather. When temperatures are very high the oxalis should be watered more consistently or it will start to die back. 
Soil/Roots
  • Does well in average quality potting soil with good drainage.
Flowering
  • Flowers are trumpet shaped and bloom spring through summer. Most blooms will last a few weeks before dying back. Once the flower is spent, prune the dead stem. 
Fertilization
  • Fertilize once every couple weeks to every few months during the active growth period. 
Propagation
  • Grows from corms which can be propagated by division.
  • Corms go through dormancy periods. At the end of each dormancy period they can be dug up, cut off from the mother plant and repotted. 

Health

Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)

  • When grown indoors the Oxalis can often become leggy. Prune back leggy stems to keep the plant bushy. 
Toxicity
  • Leaves are eaten raw or cooked. Oxalic acid content gives the leaves an acidic taste. Leaves can causes discomfort when consumed in large amounts.
  • Leaves and flowers can be used as garnishes. 
  • Rhizomes can be eaten raw or cooked and have a sweet taste.
  • Toxic to pets. Signs that your pet may have ingested this plant include tremors, and salivation.