The Q&A Archives: osalis

Question: Someone bought me a oxalis for my 70th birthday. It is large and beautiful now. Can I winter this plant indoors? Will it thrive and bloom indoors.? Thanks, lillie

Answer: You can grow oxalis indoors. In addition to being called Oxalis, Fourleaf Clovers and Shamrocks, these plants are also known as Wood Sorrels. Shamrocks and other Oxalis all need a dormant period each year in order to perform their best. This need for a rest seems to cause lots of confusion. Many indoor gardeners have kept their Oxalis actively growing for years without a rest period, but this is very stressful to the plant. To get the most out of an Oxalis, let it grow and bloom until it starts to look tired. At that point, no matter what you do, it just doesn't look good. This will usually be in summer. When this happens, stop all water and fertilizer and store the plant for two to three months where it is cool and dark. After that period of time, you can bring it back out and start watering it again.

All Oxalis need lots of light to grow and bloom well. This can even be full afternoon sun in winter, but not in the summer. If you are using artificial light, try to provide at least 12 hours each day.

The soil needs to be just barely damp. Whenever possible, let them dry slightly between waterings.

Shamrocks and other Oxalis prefer cool temperatures, especially while in bloom. Keep them in a cool room at night (50-65?) and avoid letting them get warmer than 70-75? during the day. Warmer temperatures will encourage them to go dormant earlier.

During the winter and spring while they are actively growing, feed them once a month with a liquid or water- soluble fertilizer. When blooming stops, reduce fertilizer to every other month until the plant goes dormant.

To keep your plant looking nice, snip out the bloom stems after the flowers have faded.

Best wishes with your new plant!

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