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Oxalis palmifrons (Palm-leaf False Shamrock)

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Scientific Name

Oxalis palmifrons Salter

Common Names

Palm-leaf False Shamrock, False Shamrock, Palm Leaf Oxalis

Scientific Classification

Family: Oxalidaceae
Genus: Oxalis

Description

Oxalis palmifrons is a low-growing perennial with stunning foliage which is quite unlike any other Oxalis. The slowly spreading patch of ground-hugging rosettes spreads up to 2 feet (60 cm) wide in 10 years. Each symmetrical rosette is composed of glaucous-green, 3-dimensional, miniature palm-like leaves. It is a winter grower which doesn't emerge until late fall when it is topped with stalks of light pink flowers held just above the foliage. It remains evergreen all winter, finally going dormant when the heat of summer arrives.

Photo via flickriver.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 7b to 11b: from 5 °F (−15 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Oxalis can be grown indoors as a houseplant or outdoors in the garden. They from the garden center are generally available in the fall or early spring.

These plants need bright indirect light to grow well and produce flowers. They can often bloom all winter if kept in a sunny spot. Keep the soil barely moist but never soggy. Allow the top 2 inches (5 cm) of the soil to dry out before watering. It is best to water your Oxalis from the bottom so that the thin fragile stems of the plant don't get water logged and the soil stays loose. Oxalis grow best in cool temperatures between 60 to 70 ºF (15 to 21 ºC) during the day and 55 to 65 ºF (13 to 18 ºC) at night. The soil should be loose and sandy rather than rich and organic. Feed your plant monthly in the spring and summer when it is actively growing with a basic houseplant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Never feed a Oxalis when it is dormant and the bulbs are resting.

To propagate Oxalis, simply split the plant into smaller plants and place them in their own pots. Keep it out of direct sunlight until new shoots appear.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Oxalis.

Origin

Oxalis palmifrons is native to South Africa (Western Karroo).

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