Grow your own shamrocks!
By: Susan Bachman West, executive director of perishable operations
March is a busy month: You have Daylight Savings Time, revelry surrounding St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness basketball, and the arrival of spring (even if Mother Nature puts up a fight and keeps winter around awhile longer).
Growing oxalis (shamrock lookalikes) is a fun way to embrace the season. Irish legend has it that St. Patrick used a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to his followers; the four-leaf clover has represented hope, faith, love and luck ever since.
Regardless of your heritage or religious affiliations, March is a great time to grow some greenery and good cheer indoors. There are hundreds of types of oxalis, and several of them make very nice, easy-to-care-for indoor blooming plants.
Let It Grow
To get the most out of an oxalis, let it grow and bloom until it starts to look tired (usually in summer). Then stop regular watering and fertilizer applications and store the plant for two to three months where it is cool and dark. After that, you can bring it back out and begin watering it again or repot it.
Here are a few more care guidelines:
- Keep soil just barely damp, and let dry slightly between watering if you can.
- Provide lots of light—even full afternoon sun during the winter.
- Arrange cooler temps while in bloom (50-65º at night; max 75º during the day).
- Plant in well-drained peat-based potting soil.
- Snip bloom stems after they’ve reached their prime.
- Use fertilizer once a month during winter and spring.
Good luck with your oxalis, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Find Oxalis plants from Bachman’s at Lunds & Byerlys.