HOW TO CARE FOR OXALIS PALMIFRONS – PALM LEAF OXALIS

The Oxalis palmifrons plants are small and beautiful plants that are commonly known as the Palm Leaf Oxalis and False Shamrock. Their common name Palm Leaf Oxalis refers to the fact that they have beautiful tiny leaves that are similar in shape to the palm tree leaves. This plant provides a depiction of a small palm tree (bonsai) but it is not a palm tree, it is actually a plant that grows in harsh environments. This plant is native to Southern parts of Africa. The word Oxalis in its name refers to the plant genus of this plant. The Oxalis genus is a group of plants that has more than 200 members of species from the same region.

Most species of the Oxalis like the conditions that are unbearable for the other plants. Taking care of a Palm Leaf Oxalis would also be similar to taking care of any other plant from this region or this genus of the plants. The Palm Leaf Oxalis was brought to Europe by the European settlers, who also brought it to the other parts of the world including Asia, and America as well. Warm conditions are perfect for their growth, but they cannot survive the cold in most areas of North America. It is considered one of the best plants to grow, even if you are a beginner in planting. This is because it is one of the easiest to grow. Below is a complete care guide for this plant’s growth.

Overview

Common NamePalm Leaf Oxalis and False Shamrock Plant.
Scientific NameOxalis palmifrons
Genus, Family Oxalis genus and Oxalidaceae.
Size, TypeSmall and slow-growing perennial plant.
Color of stem, leaves, and flowersGreen palm-like leaves and stem, Pink to White flowers
Flowering SeasonSpring.
Perennial/Annual.Perennial,
HardinessUSDA Hardiness 7b to 11b
Temperature range 60 to 70 F, 15 to 25 C.
Sunlight Full day exposure to sunlight
Growth RateSlow

Lineage

The Palm Leaf Oxalis is a plant from the Oxalis genus. This genus is one of the biggest plant genera with more than 200 species members. All of these plants are native to the Western Karoo region of Southern Africa. The Genus Oxalis belongs to the Oxalidaceae family. All the plants from the family are small in size and they only grow in harsh and hot desert areas. Totally this family has 570 member species and most of them are members of the Oxalis group. This is a flowering plant family, so all the members of this family produce small and beautiful flowers.

Appearance

The Palm Leaf Oxalis plant has a beautiful appearance, its tiny leaves depict the shape of a palm tree leaf. Apart from that, all the leaves of this plant grow in a cluster formation, similar to the large palm leaves. The color of its leaves can range from green to dark green depending upon the age, nutrients, and health of the plant. This plant also produces small flowers that can range from pink to white depending upon the availability of light and the variety that you are growing. This plant can only reach a few inches high from the ground that is why they are kept in the small plant containers.

Flowering

The Palm Leaf Oxalis plant produces small flowers that can be of different colors including light pink to white. Each flower of the Palm Leaf Oxalis plant has five petals that are stretched out from the bud. Below these petals and inside the flower, a yellow color is also dominant. The flowering bloom happens during the spring season. If it is grown in colder regions, spring might come late and flowers might have slightly different colors.

Natural Habitat

The Palm Leaf Oxalis plants are native to the desert land in the western Karoo region of South Africa. These plants are capable of surviving in the desert thanks to their water-saving skills. This plant has palm-like leaves that spread and form clusters that appear like a rosette formation. In this rosette formation, the leaves below are covered by the leaves at the top, this helps them save the water from evaporating. Apart from water, in their natural habitat, they receive a lot of sunlight and thrive in warm temperatures. They also need sandy soil to grow. Outside its natural environment, you should provide it with these similar conditions otherwise its growth would be badly impacted and it may die as well.

Facts

Here are some of the basic facts about Oxalis palmifrons – Palm Leaf Oxalis

  • The Palm Leaf Oxalis belongs to the Oxalis genus which is one of the biggest genera in the Oxalidaceae family.
  • This plant grows tiny neat fan-like leaves that look similar to the leaves of palm trees that is why it is called Palm Leaf Oxalis.
  • Its leaves grow in the form of clusters and these clusters form a rosette formation around the single stem.
  • The Palm Leaf Oxalis is native to the Karoo region of South Africa, and it needs warm conditions, full sunlight, nutrients, and sandy soil to grow.

Requirements to Grow Oxalis palmifrons – Palm Leaf Oxalis

Soil Slightly acidic, nutrient-rich, sandy, and well-draining.
Sun Must be kept outdoors to receive plenty of sunlight during the day.
Water Regulated water supply.
Fertilizer Should be fertilized once every month.
Temperature Grow it in warm areas, or keep it indoors and protect it from the cold.

Soil Requirements

The Palm Leaf Oxalis plant requires a lot of nutrients in the soil. So, before making a soil composition, try and check your soil material for nutrients. If there are any deficiencies in nutrients amounts, try adding fertilizer or compost to the soil. This would provide the nutrients that are required for the Palm Leaf Oxalis plant to grow. Also, keep in mind that this plant needs sandy soil that is slightly acidic.

Adding fertilizers would provide the soil some acidity, but to make the soil porous and sandy. You will need to add sand to the soil mixture. To further make it porous and well-draining, you can also add the pumice, and perlite to the soil as well. Pumice and perlite would not only hold the sand and soil in the pot but would also allow the water to quickly move out. You can create this type of soil at home using these materials, or you can buy the soil for plantation as well.

Sunlight Requirements

The Palm Leaf Oxalis plant requires plenty of sunlight to grow. It does not like growing under the shade. You should know that if you are growing it indoors, its growth rate would be very slow. For faster growth, you should keep your plants outdoors where they can receive the full sunlight directly from the sun. If you want to grow them indoors, you should keep them in a place where they receive a sufficient amount of sunlight.

Temperature Requirements

The Palm Leaf Oxalis plant is one of those plants that grow and thrive in warm environments and cannot survive in the cold. That is why you should keep these plants in a warm place. If you have a greenhouse, you can keep it in there during the cold winter. If you live in a very cold place, you should not expose these plants to the cold or frost at all. This would immediately start to impact the health of the plant and it might die soon. To avoid this, you should keep your plants indoors.

According to USDA hardiness zones, the Palm Leaf Oxalis plant is hardy in 7b to 11 regions. In these regions, it can be grown as a perennial plant. The Palm Leaf Oxalis likes the temperature to be between 15 to 21 C or 50 to 60 F. temperatures below 5 C would badly impact the health of the plant and that is why you should keep it indoors during the winter.

Water Requirements

The Palm Leaf Oxalis has different watering needs that depend on a lot of factors. The major factors that impact the overall water requirements by the plant are given below. 

  • Age: The age of the size is very important in determining how much water is required for the plant to grow and thrive. Also, it helps us set the frequency of watering for young plants as well. The small Palm Leaf Oxalis plants would need frequent watering as they cannot store the water. But you would need to provide them less water every time you water them. A higher amount of water is harmful to small plants.
  • Size: The size of the plant is also a very important factor to be considered while watering the Palm Leaf Oxalis plant. Plants of smaller size would need a small quantity of water but would need it frequently as they cannot store water. Meanwhile, as the plant starts to grow, you can provide it more water but you should decrease the frequency of watering slowly.
  • Season: Seasons is also one of the most important factors to be considered while watering the Palm Leaf Oxalis. During the summer, days are hot and the soil becomes dry very soon. That is why the Palm Leaf Oxalis plant needs more frequent watering during the summer. Meanwhile, it is the opposite during the winter. In winter plants do not need that frequent watering supply.
  • Climate: The climate of the environment of the plant also impacts the watering that is why it should be considered. Plants that are grown in warm climates require more water than the ones that are grown in cold climates.
  • Ideal Watering Time: The ideal time for watering the Palm Leaf Oxalis plant is when the potting soil becomes dry. You can check the upper layer of the potting soil. If it is dry, you should wear your Palm Leaf Oxalis plants. If it is not dry, you should wait for a day or two.

Fertilizers Requirements

The Palm Leaf Oxalis plant needs a lot of nutrients from the soil to grow. If the soil you have planted it in does not contain the required nutrients, this would badly impact its growth patterns. It can also lead to severely slow growth as well. To prevent these issues, you can check the soil for nutrients deficiency and feed it the ones that it needs. You can create a fertilizer and water mixture that you can feed to the plant once every month. This would help boost the growth rate of the Palm Leaf Oxalis.

Repotting

The Palm Leaf Oxalis grows slowly and takes more than a year to overgrow the pot it is grown in, when this happens, you should replant the Palm Leaf Oxalis to a new pot. This new pot should be bigger. Replanting should be done once every year, before the spring season. You can do it after the winter ends and new leaves start to emerge on the plant. Replanting is easy, as it only requires preparing a new pot with the same type of soil and transferring the plant to that new pot. But this is a very sensitive procedure and you should not cause any harm to the roots of this plant.

Pruning

The Palm Leaf Oxalis does not require that much pruning thanks to its smaller size and slow growth. But after the flowering season, you should cut off the dead flowers and dead leaves. You can do this using a sharp cutting tool. You should do it carefully and try not to damage the main stem.

Problems

The Palm Leaf Oxalis plant is attacked by a lot of plant pests and if you see any type of attack or infestation. There are two solutions to these problems. The first one requires completely washing off the Palm Leaf Oxalis plant with detergent water. Detergent water can kill most of these pests but some might survive. If some pests survive, you should then use the plant pesticides that can kill these and control the spread.

Propagation

Propagation of the Palm Leaf Oxalis plants is easy. These plants grow a lot of offshoots that emerge from the main stem. You can separate these offshoots and replant them into the new pots. You should keep these new offshoots away from the sunlight unless they start to grow new leaves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Why is Palm Leaf Oxalis called Palm Leaf Oxalis?

The reason behind the name of Palm Leaf Oxalis is that this plant has small leaves that look similar to the leaves of a palm tree. These leaves form rosette clusters but their formation and spread make them appear similar to palm tree leaves. For that reason, its common name is Palm Leaf Oxalis.

Question: How do you propagate the Palm Leaf Oxalis?

Answer: You can propagate the Palm Leaf Oxalis using bulbs, or small offshoots that it grows from the main stem. These can be separated and then planted into a separate pot. After planting them, you should provide them water and keep them in shade for a few days, till they start to grow leaves.