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Oxalis Triangularis False Shamrock | Best Care Guide

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Oxalis triangularis is native to lower altitudes in wet fields, marshes, and banks of streams in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina and has become a popular houseplant.

Oxalis triangularis has three clover-like leaves flushed in wine red to purple, with the leaves and flowers closing at night. Oxalis comprises about 700 species worldwide, with centers of diversity in southern Africa and South America. Nastic movement also occurs in response to bright sunlight.

Continue reading if you wish to learn how to become a confident grower (and sharer) of this beautifully unique plant.

Oxalis Triangularis Care Tips

Success in growing plants indoors depends on our ability to emulate their natural habitat and manage local risks (pests and diseases).

If we’re familiar with the plant’s natural habitat environment, we can more easily emulate a space that will allow our plant to flourish.

Growing False Shamrock Indoors

Other names:Wood Sorrel; False Shamrock; Good Luck Plant; Lucky Clover
Soil:Organically rich soil that drains well
Watering:Avoid overwatering corms (tuberous bulb-like rootstock) and allowing the soil to dry before rewatering. Cut watering during dormancy.
Light:Low light needs. A shaded spot away from direct sunlight.
Temperature:Day: 60 – 70°F (15 – 21°C) Maximum 75°F (24°C)
Night: Minimum 55°F (13°C)
Outdoor USDA Hardiness Zones 8 – 11 It can wilt and go dormant at temperatures above 80 °F (~26°C).
Humidity:Average room humidity (30 to 50%)
Propagation:Division, corms, seeds
Nutrition:Use organic, slow-release nitrogen fertilizer in spring. For flower growth, ensure the fertilizer contains phosphorus and magnesium.
Repotting:You may want to repot your plant once every two years (during dormancy) and use the same pot or one size bigger.
Risks:Mealybugs, scale, and aphids.
Toxicity:Edible is small in quantities but poisonous if eaten in large quantities—some dangers to livestock and pets.

Every plant has different needs, usually informed by the plant’s natural habitat.

While we can acclimatize plants through hardening off, we cannot change their natural requirements inbred by evolutionary adaptations over millennia.

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Oxalis Triangularis Potting Soil Options

Most indoor plants need soil rich in organic matter that drains well yet retains moisture.

Our ideal soil will provide our plant with adequate aeration (avoiding anaerobic conditions), maintain the right pH, and ensure the soil has sufficient cation exchange capacity (CEC).

It’s worth noting that, in general, humans can go without food for three weeks, without water for three days, and without air for three minutes.

Plants aren’t very different.

As critical as air is to us, plant roots need air to survive – something they cannot do when drowning in water.

As a gardener, you need to create soil that manages the tensions between water and air supply to static roots.

If you’ve had the opportunity to read my Composting Masterclass book, you’d understand why I’m so passionate about using compost, even in potting soil.

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A good potting mix for your Oxalis Triangularis should include the following ingredients in the given proportions:

  • One part compost (25%)
  • Two parts coconut coir (50%)
  • Half a part of pumice (or perlite) (12.5%)
  • Half a part expanded shale or calcine clay (Turface® or Haydite®) (12.5%)

Compost, pumice, perlite, expanded shale, and calcine clay improve the soil’s capacity to manage the tension between air and water supply.

This tension is expressed as the percentage of water retained after a cycle of soaking and draining (field capacity) and air available during soaking (saturated porosity).

MaterialField Capacity (FC) – WaterSaturated Porosity (SP) – Air
Turface® or Haydite®40 – 60%28%
Expanded Shale38%30%
Granite Grit20%31%
Pea Gravel10%27%
Perlite40%22%
Pine Bark30%35%

Combining the ingredients above, you can accurately emulate soil natural to any plant.

Oxalis Triangularis Water Needs

This Brazilian native has minimal needs, but one thing it cannot tolerate is wet soil. It is critical that the plant is in a container with effective drainage holes and is not overwatered.

While most literature refers to how moist soil should be, I’m starting to believe the best instruction should read “Plant X’s Drought Needs.”

That’s because there are more plant mortalities due to drowning than those caused by underwatering.

Best Watering Guide for Oxalis Triangularis

Because there are so many varying circumstances, a strict watering plan typically won’t work. Some plants will be overwatered by a strict timetable, while others may dry out for lack of water.

Be prepared to water each of your plants as they require it. When will they need it, then?

There are various ways to choose when to water a plant. The most precise method, though there is no guaranteed way to do it, is to check each plant’s leaf for wilting indications and then feel the soil for moisture.

By carefully examining the soil and foliage, you can tell if a plant needs water. Before the subsequent watering, some plants like to have their soil and root systems slightly dry.

These plants’ soil should be probed at different depths, and water should be applied when the soil feels dry.

Also, remember that bigger pots can carry more water and soil. Even though the soil is dry near the top, it may still be adequately moist near the middle or lower root zone.

Other plants cannot withstand dry soil and need more consistent rainfall. When the top layer of the soil starts to feel dry, water the soil and roots of these plants.

A healthy plant care practice is to only water when the soil has had a chance to dry somewhat. To decide when to water, use the following techniques:

  • Touch-Test: The most accurate test for soil moisture is to feel how dry the potting soil feels. If the mixture is dry at your fingertip after inserting your finger up to the second digit, it needs water.
  • Tap the Pot: When potting mix in a clay pot starts to dry up, it shrinks away from the pot’s sides. Use a stick or your knuckles to tap the pot’s side. Water is required if the sound is hollow; if the sound is dull, the soil is moist.
  • Estimate weight: It’s easy to see a weight reduction as potting mixtures dry up.

Deep watering removes accumulated salts and ensures that most of the roots in the bottom two-thirds of the pot get enough water. Empty the tray, and don’t let the pot sit in the accumulated water.

You need to use a pot with plenty of drainage holes on the bottom corners for the best results. The tray often blocks drainage holes only on the bottom – unless you add spacers between the pot and tray.

I use fizzy drink bottle tops to achieve a reasonable gap.

Surface Mold Growth

Even though the mold is safe, most gardeners find it ugly; therefore, it is eradicated as soon as it is discovered. The top two inches of soil should be replaced with a new batch of houseplant compost.

Reduce watering frequency or increase the quantity of light received (avoid direct sunshine for the first several weeks to prevent environmental shock).

You may have root rot if the mold is followed by yellowing lower leaves.

Best Growing Location for Oxalis Triangularis

Most of your interior spaces can be classified as having high, medium, or low light. Examine where you want to cultivate and put plants in your house or business.

Your Oxalis triangularis needs medium light, i.e., light that comes in from an East of West facing window that allows morning or afternoon light.

To gauge the amount of light in different regions, use the following principles:

  • The optimum light for plant development is typically found near windows and glass doors, and the amount of light available will also depend on the size of the windows.
  • In the Northern hemisphere, South facing windows have increased light exposure throughout the year for plants that need high light levels (not your Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor)
  • East and West windows generally get morning or afternoon sunlight. These are generally referred to as medium light zones – ideal for your false shamrock.
  • North-facing windows (in the Northern hemisphere) are low light zones –ideal for non-variegated Chinese Evergreens, Snake Plants, and the Peace Lily.
  • Proximity to the window increases light availability. As you move more to the side or back from the glass, light levels will be lowered significantly, with light intensity dropping from 1,000 to 100-foot candles in only a few feet.

A few hours of morning or evening sun are great for maintaining healthy growth for your Oxalis triangularis, even though a bright indirect location may seem better.

The best places to put plants around the house are a few feet inside a north, east, or west-facing window or a conservatory with partial shade.

Oxalis Tiangularis Temperature Requirements

Several crucial factors, including temperature, can impact your success in growing indoor plants.

The plant’s growth will be hampered even if plants can endure slightly lower and higher temperatures than ideal.

Most indoor plants like a temperature range of 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C) during the day and a few degrees cooler at night.

The nighttime temperature drop is crucial because it helps plants to regenerate new tissues. Consistently hot environments cause plants to become spindly and less resilient to disease and insect attacks.

Oxalis triangularis specific temperature needs are listed below:

  • Day: 60 – 70°F (15 – 21°C) Maximum 75°F (24°C)
  • Night: Minimum 55°F (13°C)
  • Outdoor USDA Hardiness Zones 8 – 11
  • It can wilt and go dormant at temperatures above 80 °F (~26°C).

Oxalis Triangularis Humidity Needs

Our lucky clover is hardly as needy as the aroids that need a humidity level above 60%. This plant will do fine if the relative humidity is kept between 30 and 50% (it’s also human’s pre.

An easy way to boost humidity levels, especially as temperatures soar:

  • Cluster plants together so that their combined transpiration boost RH
  • Place the pot in a tray of LECA that is kept damp. The evaporation will boost RH
  • Acquire a humidifier, opting for one that provides a reasonable cycle between needing a refill.

Fertilizing Your Oxalis Triangularis

Plants need 17 essential elements to make their food for growth, the most important of which are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (potash), calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and iron.

Indoor plants with favorable environmental conditions will grow moderately, but since their growing medium sometimes lacks essential nutrients, they won’t thrive unless you fertilize them.

Keep in mind that continuously fertilizing indoor plants is not always required. Every two to three months, fertilize your home plants with a water-soluble fertilizer.

If you must fertilize during the winter or other times of low light, do so sparingly.

When using granular slow-release fertilizer, the frequency of application will mostly be determined by the time-life of the fertilizer. Ensure the soil is moist before fertilizing, and always adhere to label instructions.

Overfertilization

Chemical salts in the soil can accumulate to exceedingly high concentrations if fertilizer is used excessively.

This poses a serious risk since too much salt can harm plant roots. Because a damaged root system is unhealthy and ineffective, the plants will suffer.

Note these typical signs of over-fertilization and excess salts:

  • A white or yellowish salty crust appears on the soil’s surface.
  • damaged roots that result in withering leaves (even when the soil is wet)
  • chlorosis, or yellowing of the foliage, causes the plant to die quickly.

If you suspect overfertilization, reduce your fertilizer applications and thoroughly water the plant several times to flush the salts from the soil. Make sure to let the extra water drain as quickly as you can.

Oxalis Trangularis Flowering and Dormancy

While it is possible to perpetuate the continual flowering of the false shamrock, your plant’s vigor and resilience will suffer as a result.

Similarly, fluctuating day and night temperatures help the plant develop resilience against diseases and pests.

Some Oxalis triangularis growers report their plants having more than one dormancy cycle per year. That has not been my experience, but I take special precautions to keep the growing environment free from fluctuating temperatures, drafts, and extended droughts.

Dormancy is nature’s way of recuperating, a season to build new tissue and prepare for spring’s growth. It’s defined as a period in which a plant does not grow, awaiting necessary environmental conditions such as temperature, moisture, and nutrient availability.

When Oxalis comes out of dormancy and starts to produce flowers rather than foliage, prick the blossoms off.

Flowers take energy to grow, and without foliage saps the plant’s energy, causing you to end up with a weaker plant.

Pruning Your Oxalis Triangularis

Remove yellow or decaying leaves and plant residues to promote healthier growing conditions. Always use clean shears or scissors when pruning to lower the risk of bacterial and fungal infections.

Never cut through yellowed tissue as this could lead to severe harm from bacterial infections or other disorders.

Always create clean incisions to avoid shocking the plant, resulting in decreased growth and a decline in health.

Hard Pruning Oxalis Triangulis

If the foliage begins to decline from late autumn, you may want to think about an aggressive prune, cutting the plant down to just above the soil line.

Doing this promotes better quality growth on reemergence in the spring.

It will reward you with a fresh batch of purpleness and eliminate any pests (like spider mites) dormant in the foliage. Cut the leaves petioles around an inch from the corms and remove them. 

This is also the perfect time to separate the clump of corms and plant them in their pots. Not only will the chance of transplant shock be at its lowest, but you won’t risk damaging its delicate leaves. See the Propagation Guide below.

Oxalis Triangularis Repotting

Eventually, in a plant’s life, the root system will fill all the available soil and space in the container and become root- or pot-bound.

When this happens, the plant’s growth will be restricted unless you provide more room for root growth by repotting the plant into a larger container.

A simple examination of the root system is the best way to determine whether or not your plant is root-bound and ready for repotting.

You can easily remove small plants’ soil and root mass from the container by following the steps at the bottom of this page.

How to Repot

Repot plants that require it into a container a little bit bigger than the current one. The new container’s top diameter should typically only increase by 1 or 2 inches.

For appropriate root development, excessive soil and water might be included in containers too large for little plants. When repotting, always use a clean container. Add some soil mixture, then press it down firmly with your fingertips.

After that, thoroughly moisten the potting soil and let it drain. Until the newly potted plant has recovered from the shock of repotting, which typically takes 7 to 10 days, place it in indirect light.

This shock results from a root system disruption, which impairs a plant’s capacity to absorb water. Avoid overwatering newly replanted plants at all costs.

Additionally, wait to nourish the newly replanted plant until its root system has recovered. After this normally lasts for two to four weeks, you can restart your regular fertilization routine.

Propagating Oxalis Triangulist

At the end of the growing season, you can dig up the corms and store them in dry sand or soil when your plants go dormant. Please keep them in a cool, dark place until next season.

You can also grow them year-round indoors. When you want to replant, let the plants go dormant, dig up the bulbs, and replant them in fresh soil.

Common Oxalis Triangularis Challenges

The majority of indoor plant issues are brought on by poor management, making disease very uncommon.

Before you buy, carefully inspect the plant, keeping an eye out for any signs of sickness, wilting, or leaf spots.

Fungi and bacteria cause most indoor plant illnesses. Bacteria typically cause angular lesions frequently encircled by yellow haloes or wet areas.

Numerous symptoms, such as root rots, stem lesions, leaf spots, mildews, and rusts, are caused by fungi.

Root Rot

Only water as necessary; make sure the pot’s bottom is clear before you water. As previously mentioned, you can use your finger to check if the plant needs watering or insert an unpainted wood dowel into the pot.

Mildew

The leaves will show pale streaks or blotches, which will darken. Ensure adequate airflow and refrain from watering the leaves.

Leaf stains

Various fungi will burn or spot foliage, causing patches typically brown, round, and tiny. When watering, avoid sprinkling the leaves, and improve airflow. As sick leaves emerge, remove them as well.

Insects

It is far preferable to prevent insects than to treat them on your indoor plants later. Before purchasing, always thoroughly inspect fresh plants and pick a different plant if there are any insect damage or infection indications.

Place plants you’ve received as gifts in quarantine and keep an eye on them for at least a week before mixing them with the rest of your collection. Insect infestations can be avoided by regular inspections and good sanitation methods (cleaning foliage, getting rid of dead stems and leaves, etc.).

Pests Common to Indoor Plants

Aphids, scales, mealy bugs, and spider mites are a few prevalent indoor plant pests.

Aphids are sucking insects with a spherical shape typically found in groups near the tip of stems and on the underside of plants. They are light green, pink, black, and just an eighth inch long. They might result in the plant’s foliage being curled, twisted, or otherwise distorted.

Scales are sucking insects that bear little to no similarity to other insects outside their infancy. Scale insects feed on sap, turning leaves yellow and causing stem ends to recede several inches.

Mealybugs are sucking, soft-bodied insects that range in size from one-fifth to one-third of an inch, by sucking the sap with their needle-like mouthparts, mealy bugs harm plants.

This sooty mold darkens the stem and leaves as they cover themselves in their feces. See how you can defeat mealybugs.

Spider mites are tiny, almost undetectable mites. This eight-legged bug can be seen in all its development phases on the foliage of infected plants. The spider mite pierces the plant tissues with its needle-like mouthparts, causing leaves to become stippled, speckled, or mottled.

Oxalis Triangularis Care Summary

Caring for the false shamrock is easy if you ensure temperatures don’t go too high or too low and keep light levels in the medium range. Lucky clover grows best in full sun to 25% shade. 

When planting, bury rhizomes or stolons 2 inches (5 cm) deep.  Best propagated by rhizomes and stolons or by seed.

Key Care Factors

  • Grow in organically rich soil that drains well yet retains moisture
  • Avoid overwatering corms (tuberous bulb-like rootstock) and allowing the soil to dry before rewatering. Cut watering during dormancy.
  • Grow in medium light, i.e., light that is naturally strong enough in which to read a book
  • Maintain temperatures between a minimum of 55°F (13°C) and 75°F (24°C) maximum, remembering that your Oxalis Triangulis can wilt and go dormant at temperatures above 80 °F (~26°C).
  • Repot every two years (during dormancy).

My other articles on other indoor plants may also be interesting: 25 Types Of Philodendrons The Ultimate Houseplants List.

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