The Q&A Archives: Oxalis Leaves Are Getting Crunchy

Question: I have planted some oxalis bulbs approximately 2 months ago, they have come up and they are a beautiful purple color. Some of the leaves are getting crunchy around the edges. What is happening to them? and will they flower? I have them in a north window, and it is November here in Minnesota.

Answer: When leaves dry out around the edges it is often because of salt burn. Salts in the water and in fertilizer build up over time. Browning usually occurs on the old leaves first. This excess salt accumulates in the leaf edges, where it kills the tissue and the leaf dries out and turns brown. It's important to water deeply and slowly. At least once a month, water deeply enough to "leach" or push salts well below the root zone. Frequent, light "sprinklings" allow salts to accumulate in the top layers of soil, where the roots are, which is bad news. Similar symptoms occur when too much fertilizer has been applied. Always water plants thoroughly before and after applying fertilizer to help prevent burn.

There are many species of oxalis and they bloom at different seasons, depending on the species. Most bloom in spring or summer, but there are some that bloom in late fall or winter. Using a fertilizer with phosphorous will promote bloom. Good luck!

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