Nearly 10% of the US population or 32 million Americans have full or partial ancestry to Ireland. On March 17th many people celebrate St. Patrick who brought Christianity to Ireland. The Shamrock has become the symbol for all things Irish. The three leafed plant is said to represent the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
This time of year, the Shamrock plant or Oxalis regnellii, is often sold in stores. The Oxalis are available in many varieties. The most popular is the green leafed plant with dainty white or pink blooms. A favorite of mine is a dark burgundy leafed Oxalis (Oxalis triangularis) with yellow or purple blooms.
Oxalis have the amazing ability to fold up their leaves at night or in low light. In the morning the leaves unfold and return to their original shape! The reason for folding close is unknown.
Oxalis are planted as tiny bulbs in fertile soil. They are often grown as a houseplant. They do well in indirect bright light and under grow lights. Likewise, they like to be crowded in a pot. They make a great winter blooming houseplant. During their blooming cycle fertilize every two to three weeks, and be careful not to over water and rot the little bulbs. There are times when it appears the Oxalis is dying, but it is actually going dormant. They may go weeks or months before they break dormancy and begin to grow again.
I place mine outside in the spring in dappled sunlight, and they do great all summer! In milder climates Oxalis makes a grand ground cover, however they are not reliably harder in Central Ohio.
They are long-lived plants. A co-worker gave me a pot of Oxalis regnellii nearly ten years ago, and they have spread and are absolutely wonderful in full bloom!