About Shamrock Plants
You might remember the Shamrock plant as one of those green, leafy things that would pop up in flower shops around St. Patrick’s Day. Though these plants are pretty ubiquitous, their name is a bit misleading!
What is a Shamrock Plant?
The shamrock plant is a species of wood-sorrel (Oxalis genus) in the Oxalidaceae family, native to South America. The species is also known as a love plant because the shape of its leaves resembles a heart. It grows in a low bushy clump reaching only about 10 inches (25 cm) in height with small, three-lobed clover-like leaves that are usually deep purple on the underside and green on top. The shamrock plant produces tiny white flowers with five petals and orange anthers.
The isoflavones in clover can be used as a natural remedy for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. They work by binding to estrogen receptors in the body and producing an estrogen-like effect. Because of this action, they may also help reduce the risk of osteoporosis associated with menopause.
Also, because of their estrogen-like action, they may be helpful in preventing diseases such as heart disease and cancer. However, more research needs to be done on these purported benefits before they can be recommended. Of particular concern is that some researchers have linked isoflavone supplementation to an increased risk of uterine cancer.
Cultivation of Shamrock Plants
Oxalis trianguaris reproduces mainly by means of bulbs, and the growth of this plant is simple and easy.
- A full-grown Oxalis should be removed from its current container and washed under running water.
- The soil should then be gently removed from the bulbs with a sterilized blade or knife.
- New, fertile soil may then be placed in the container, allowing 2 to 3 shoots to grow before being potted.
- If overwatering occurs, the soil should be allowed to dry out between waterings.
- Use balanced houseplant fertilization every few month
As the weather cools down, Oxalis houseplants enter their growth phase. Make sure you water them two to three times a month to keep the soil lightly moist and encourage healthy growth.
Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Excess water can cause the plant’s roots to rot, which could kill it.
Light: If the light is too low, your plant will grow tall and spindly. This is because it’s trying to reach for a light source that’s too far away. Prune regularly and move the plant to a spot with indirect sunlight.
Water: Allow soil to dry every watering. Shamrock plant retains water in its roots, so it doesn’t work well in soggy soil.
Temperature: Ideal temperature range: 55-65°F/13-18°C during the night and not warmer than 75°F/24°C during the day.
Propagation: Treat the roots with care. Pull the small tubers apart into smaller clumps before planting them in containers. Don’t bury them too deep; set the tubers 1/2″ below the soil. Sow shamrock seeds in spring.
Care of Shamrock Plants
Shamrock plants are a great addition to any indoor garden or flower arrangement, and they are surprisingly easy to care for. You won’t have to worry about the usual things that you’d have to be cautious of with other indoor plants. All you need is a light, cool spot in your home and plenty of water that is not too cold. That’s all there is to it!
Shamrock plants are a perennial favorite among house plant owners. Not only are they easy to grow and maintain, but they also fold up at night, making them fun to watch as they move through their daily cycle.
These plants require a dormant period in the summertime, which may cause some owners to think that the plant is dead. But with a little sleuthing, you can determine whether your plant is actually dead or just dormant.
To determine if your plant is dead or simply going through its necessary dormancy period, check the top of the stem. If it’s green, your plant is still alive. The stem may also be browning out, and that’s okay! Just remove any leaves that have turned brown and continue to water your plant as usual.
Once you’ve determined that your Shamrock plant is still alive, you’ll need to treat it accordingly by placing it in a cooler area (50-55 degrees Fahrenheit) and watering it sparingly for about six weeks or so. After this time has passed, place your plant back in its normal location with normal watering practices. Your Shamrock plant should start putting out new growth within about ten days of moving it back home!
Pest and Disease Control
Spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies are all attracted to Shamrock plants. If you have these pesky pests in your backyard, you can use a “green solution” to get rid of them.
The green solution is a mixture of ½ mild soapy water, ½ alcohol, and a few tablespoons of mineral oil. To create this bug-killing concoction, start by combining the water and alcohol in a spray bottle. Then add the mineral oil to the mix. You should now have an efficient way to rid your garden of those annoying pests!
If you want to get rid of whiteflies, you can also utilize yellow sticky insect cards. These cards attach to the leaves of your plants and attract whiteflies. Once they are on the card, they are no longer able to feed on your plants!
White Spot Disease
The shamrock plant is a vigorous, clumping herbaceous perennial that produces small, white flowers in spring. These little gems are very popular as houseplants and outside in gardens. They can suffer from an array of problems like powdery mildew and rust. Shamrock plants that develop powdery mildew exhibit symptoms such as white patches of powdery fungus on stems, leaves, flowers, and buds.
Fungicides may be used to prevent or eliminate the symptoms associated with powdery mildew and rust. You can also treat mold by mixing two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a quart of water, and then spraying this solution onto your plants. Spray every few days until all traces of mold are gone.
Treatments are usually not necessary unless the infection is severe.
Shamrock plants that grow in shady, cool, and humid areas are most susceptible to these fungal diseases.