With its stunning and eye-catching foliage, an oxalis plant surely comes in the limelight in a bonsai of plants. Commonly known as Wood Sorrel, oxalis is highly photophilic, meaning it opens and closes with its blooms and leaves in response to light.
Wood sorrel comprises 850 species, and Purple shamrock, one of its species, blossoms purple leaves that look like a cluster of little purple butterflies at night when they’re slightly closed.
Luckily, both indoor and outdoor oxalis are very easy to nurture. Here’s how you can take care of your oxalis:
An oxalis plant requires bright or medium, indirect sunlight exposure. Its leaves tend to move throughout the day, mostly towards its light source. They should open wide during the daytime and close slightly at night. If you do not see this movement at all, it’s an indication that your oxalis needs more light.
A bright light spot is ideal for an indoor oxalis. Place it in front of an eastern window for abundant morning sun exposure. If you wish to place it in your garden, partial light conditions should be provided.
Your oxalis will forgive you if you forget to water it, but not if you overwater it. Its soil must be barely moist before being watered again; otherwise, a soggy soil would lead to root rot. Water it every two weeks, ensuring the top 2cm of the soil is dry beforehand. However, it should be avoided in its dormant phase.
Temperature and Humidity
Temperature ranges of 60°-70°F (15.6°-21.1°C) are ideal for a purple shamrock. Degrees higher than that can make it dormant and shed all its leaves. In winters, use artificial heating to maintain this temperature range.
Unlike many other indoor plants, oxalis isn’t that finicky where humidity is concerned. It can easily thrive in average household humidity levels, so one doesn’t need to worry about this too much.
An oxalis is extremely low-maintenance in this category. It only demands to be fed once a month or two in the growing summer and spring seasons with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength.
Oxalis are actually quite toxic. Many of its parts contain a high concentration of oxalic acid. Although it makes the plant taste bitter and repels anyone or anything from eating it, a curious or bored pet can still fall prey to its toxicity.
Ingesting oxalis in large amounts can be pretty brutal for the animal, especially if it’s a cat or a dog. As for humans, they should wear long sleeves, gloves, and goggles when going near them to protect their skin and eyes.
Purple shamrocks are among those houseplants that can remove many toxic and carcinogenic volatile compounds, hence purifying the indoor air. Two of these compounds are formaldehyde and benzene.
An oxalis triangularis’ keeper repot their plant only once in 1-2 years due to its consolidating and compact nature. Nevertheless, if you feel like your plant appears bushy or just needs some fresh soil, do the repotting. Transfer it to a deep pot, which is one size larger along with fresh sandy soil, and the repotting is done.
You would note that at least every year or so, your oxalis goes in a dormant mode where it stops blooming or growing stems. There’s nothing to worry about though since it’s just a phase of their growth. During that period, all you have to do is remove the dried up leaves and cut the plant back till it starts growing back.
Oxalis is generally an easy-going plant. However, keepers often strive with issues like the yellowing of leaves accompanied by mushy stems. These are usually caused by overwatering and inadequate light.
Oxalis is relatively free from any severe disease or peculiarity. However, if specific requirements aren’t met, it withers. Overwatering and lack of adequate sunlight lead to fungal diseases, i.e., powdery mildew and rust.
Powdery mildew appears on oxalis in white patches, affecting all the portions, including the blooms. Meanwhile, rust covers most parts of the plant with a white powdery substance and shows light yellow dots on the foliage.
Oxalis is referred to as a ‘love plant’ by some people, probably because it radiates a vibe that makes you fall in love with it whenever it catches your eye. It is very easy to care for, making you love it even more. Having said that, why not go and check whether your oxalis is still idyllic or not.
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