Discover the vibrant and whimsical oxalis triangularis, also known as the purple shamrock. Learn how to care for this unique houseplant, including lighting, watering, and humidity requirements. Find out how to propagate oxalis triangularis through bulbs or division, and learn about common issues such as weak stems and yellow leaves. Enhance your indoor garden and add a touch of color with this captivating plant.


When it comes to houseplants, there are countless options to choose from. One particularly stunning and unique choice is the oxalis triangularis, also known as the purple shamrock or false shamrock. With its vibrant purple foliage and delicate flowers, this plant can add a touch of whimsy and color to any space. In this article, we will explore the different aspects of caring for oxalis triangularis, including its care requirements, propagation methods, and common issues. Whether you’re a seasoned plant enthusiast or a beginner looking to add a new houseplant to your collection, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to successfully grow and care for oxalis triangularis.

Care Tips for Oxalis Triangularis Colorful Foliage


Oxalis triangularis plants thrive in bright, indirect light. They prefer a spot that receives filtered bright or medium sunlight, making them ideal for placement near a south-facing window. However, it’s essential to protect them from direct sunlight, as it can scorch their delicate foliage. Finding the right balance of light is crucial for the plant’s overall health and vibrant foliage.


Proper watering is essential for the health of your oxalis triangularis. These plants prefer consistently moist soil but can be sensitive to overwatering. During the growing season, which typically occurs in spring and summer, water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry. In contrast, during the dormant season, reduce watering frequency to about once every three weeks. This period usually occurs in fall and winter when the plant slows down its growth. Remember to avoid extreme cold or hot water, as this can shock the roots.


Oxalis triangularis plants prefer moderate humidity levels. If you live in a dry climate or if your home has low humidity, you can increase the humidity around the plant by misting the leaves with water or placing the pot on a tray filled with water and pebbles. This will create a humid microclimate around the plant, providing it with the ideal growing conditions it needs.


The optimal temperature range for oxalis triangularis is between 60°F and 75°F (15°C and 24°C). They are sensitive to extreme temperatures, so it’s important to protect them from cold drafts and avoid exposing them to temperatures below 50°F (10°C). Additionally, avoid placing them near heating vents or air conditioning units, as these can create drastic temperature fluctuations.


A well-draining, acidic to neutral potting mix is best suited for oxalis triangularis. A mix of potting soil and perlite or sand can provide the necessary drainage while retaining enough moisture for the plant’s roots. Make sure the pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.


During the growing season, which corresponds to spring and summer, you can fertilize oxalis triangularis with a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength. Fertilize the plant once a month to provide it with the essential nutrients it needs for healthy growth. However, refrain from fertilizing during the dormant season as the plant’s nutrient requirements are reduced during this time.


While pruning is not necessary for oxalis triangularis, removing spent flowers and withered leaves can help maintain the plant’s appearance and prevent the spread of diseases. Simply trim off any dead or dying foliage using clean and sharp pruning shears.

Propagation Methods for Oxalis Triangularis

Propagation by Bulbs

One common method of propagating oxalis triangularis is through bulbs. This method is typically done during the plant’s dormancy period, which occurs in fall and winter. Start by carefully repotting the bulbs into separate pots, burying them about 1 to 2 inches deep into moist potting mix. If planting multiple bulbs together, make sure to space them out to prevent overcrowding. After repotting, provide the bulbs with a small amount of water and place them in bright, indirect light. Gradually, new growth will emerge from the bulbs, signaling successful propagation.

Propagation by Division

Another method of propagating oxalis triangularis is through division. This method can be done at any time, regardless of the plant’s dormancy period. Begin by gently removing the plant from its pot and separating the sections you want to divide. It’s important to ensure that each section retains its bulbs. If the roots are tangled, clean and sharp scissors can be used to cut them away, preserving as much of the roots as possible. Repot each divided section into its own appropriately sized pot, water them thoroughly, and place them back in bright, indirect light. The plants may show some shock by closing up their foliage, but they will adjust over time and continue to grow.

Common Issues with Oxalis Triangularis

Weak and Leggy Stems

One common issue with oxalis triangularis is weak and leggy stems. This is often caused by insufficient sunlight. While the plant can tolerate various light conditions, it thrives in bright, indirect light. If you notice your plant’s stems becoming weak and leggy, try moving it to a brighter location or closer to a window to provide it with the light it needs for strong and healthy growth.

Yellow Leaves and Mushy Stems

Overwatering can cause yellow leaves and mushy stems in oxalis triangularis. These plants are sensitive to excessive moisture and prefer well-draining soil. Ensure that the potting mix you use allows water to drain freely and avoid overwatering. Only water the plant when the top inch or two of soil has dried out, and be cautious not to let water collect in the bottom of the pot.

Brown, Wilting, or Crispy Leaves

Insufficient moisture can cause brown, wilting, or crispy leaves in oxalis triangularis. It’s important to maintain proper watering practices by providing the plant with enough moisture when needed. During the growing season, water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry, and during the dormant season, water it when the soil is about halfway dry. Additionally, ensure the plant is not exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations, as this can also cause leaf damage.


Oxalis triangularis goes through a natural dormant period, usually in fall and winter. During this time, the plant enters a period of rest, and its growth slows down. It’s important to reduce watering and place the plant in a cooler location, around 50-60°F (10-15°C), to encourage dormancy. Allow the plant to naturally go through its dormancy period, and as the weather starts to warm up and days become longer, you’ll notice new growth emerging from the bulbs.


Oxalis triangularis, with its colorful foliage and delicate flowers, is a captivating houseplant that can brighten up any indoor space. By following the care tips mentioned above, providing the plant with the right lighting, watering it properly, and maintaining the necessary humidity and temperature levels, you can ensure its healthy growth. Additionally, by understanding the propagation methods and common issues associated with oxalis triangularis, you’ll be better equipped to care for this beautiful plant. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, adding oxalis triangularis to your indoor garden can bring joy and beauty to your home.


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