How to Grow and Care for Shamrock plants

The Oxalis regnellii plant, which is also known as the Shamrock Houseplant, or Shamrock plant, is a small plant from the Oxalidaceae family of flowering plants. It is grown usually indoors, which is why its name mentions houseplant. The Shamrock plant is one of the most beautiful and most commonly used indoor decorations. This plant is known for its beautiful leaves and flowers.

The Shamrock plant’s green leaves grow in a triple formation and give multiple color shades depending upon the conditions they are facing. The Shamrock plant also grows beautiful flowers that grow from the buds, and turn into white flowers. The Shamrock plant is considered the most attractive houseplant because of its beautiful flowers, leaves, and also its easy-to-grow nature. Below is a complete guide related to growing and taking care of the Shamrock plants. 

Overview

Common NameShamrock Houseplant, Shamrock plant.
Scientific Name Oxalis regnellii.
Genus, Family Oxalis, Oxalidaceae.
Size, TypeSmall, Flowering.
Color of stem, leaves, and flowersGreen stem and leaves (leaves change color), flowers are white.
Flowering SeasonKeep Blooming, again and again, in all seasons.
Perennial/Annual. Evergreen Perennial.
Hardiness USDA Hardiness Zone 8a to 11b.
Temperature range 60-70°F (15-21°C).
Sunlight Partial to full sun, must be under the shade during afternoon,
Growth Rate Slow growth

Lineage

The Shamrock plant is a member of the Oxalis genus. It is one of the largest genera in its family, called Oxalidaceae. It has more than 570 species in it, and all of these species have similar properties and growth requirements as the Shamrock plant has. It is naturally found in Brazil, Africa, and Mexico (Tropical regions). All the species of this genera are flowering plants and grow very well in tropical climates, (slightly warm and moist climates). The Oxalidaceae family plants are known for their beautiful flowering patterns and leaves. These are mostly evergreen plants and they produce the flowers multiple times in the same year. For that reason, a lot of plants from this family are grown as indoor ornamental plants. Shamrock plant is one of those plants that are considered the best choice for indoor decoration plants from this family.

Appearance

The Shamrock plant looks green as its leaves and stems both have a green color. Meanwhile, the flowers have a white color. The Shamrock plant is small, and can only grow up to a few inches high. Most plants in their native environment can grow as high as 8 inches while they can spread up to 10 inches wide. Individual plants create a cluster around it, and that is why it appears to be larger but individual plants only spread up to a few inches. Its leaves grow in a beautiful pattern of three leaves on one node. Each leaf is at a 120-degree angle from the other two leaves. The size of their leaves is larger than their flowers. Their flowers have a small size and grow from the buds that are present between two nodes, some flowers also grow on small branches that are bigger than the ones with the leaves.

Flowering

The Shamrock plant has a very different flowering habit from most other plants. Most plants only grow flowers once or twice a year, but the Shamrock plant grows the flower all year. As the seasonal weather pattern changes, it sheds the old flowers and grows new buds. New flowers grow on these new buds. Most cultivars have white flowers, but a few cultivars of the Shamrock plant in some regions also have purple leaves as well. It grows flowers in winter, summer, fall, and spring.

Natural Habitat

The Shamrock plant is native to the tropical regions of Brazil. They like a slightly warm and wet climate to grow and thrive. The Oxalis regnellii plant can also be grown outside its natural habitat but they do not survive if the environment is extremely cold or very hot. They need the temperatures to be moderate. Higher temperature can cause excess water loss meanwhile the cold temperature can cause its foliage to freeze and die as they have no protection against the cold or snow. Mostly they are grown in indoor controlled environments, where the temperature is controlled according to their needs. But they also need sunlight, for that reason, you should keep them somewhere bright. Growing them in an afternoon shade would be better as it would help them avoid water loss. Wherever you grow them, make sure that the conditions are similar to their natural habitat.

Facts

Here are some of the basic facts about Shamrock plants:

  • The Oxalis regnellii is known as the Shamrock plant.
  • It is a tropical plant that is native to Brazil.
  • It can only grow a few inches tall and wide and usually grow in clusters.
  • The Shamrock plant grows beautiful white flowers all year, it does not stop flowering in any season unless the conditions force the plant to die.
  • Its leaves grow in a trio formation and every node has three leaves.

Requirements to Grow Shamrock plants

Soil Well-draining, porous, slightly acidic, and nutrients rich soil.
SunPartial sun to full sunlight exposure. Full exposure in the morning, partial shade during the afternoon.
Water Let the soil dry before watering, avoid overwatering and underwatering.
FertilizerCheck the soil and feed your plant with appropriate fertilizer once a month.
TemperatureLikes slightly warm temperatures. Needs protection from the cold.

Soil Requirements

The Shamrock plant requires a well-draining soil that can retain the moisture only for a small period. It should allow the soil to be dry before the next watering as the roots of the Shamrock plant likes to dry out. Keeping them in wet conditions adversely impacts the health of the plant. For that reason, you should use well-draining soil. A balanced mixture of soil, sand, pumice, perlite, fertilizer, and compost would provide all the elements that the Shamrock plant needs. You can create such a mixture of soil and put it in the plant pots to grow, or you can buy this type of soil as well.

Sunlight Requirements

The Shamrock plant needs a partial sun to full sun environment to grow. During the early morning, it needs full sunlight, meanwhile, on hot days, it needs protection from the sunlight during the afternoon. You should grow it in a place where it faces the sun in the morning, and is under the shade during the afternoon, and faces the sun once again in the evening time. This would help ensure a balanced growth pattern. If you are looking forward to growing the Shamrock plant indoors, you should keep it somewhere bright. Keep it in a place where it receives the sunlight in the morning time. Keeping it in a window that opens east, would be the best idea.

Temperature Requirements

The Shamrock plant likes to grow in a warm and wet climate. It does not like cold environments. For that reason, if you are looking forward to growing it outdoors in cold regions, you should keep in mind that it would die as soon as the snowfall starts. The Shamrock plant grows in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11. It likes the temperature to be around 60-70°F (15-21°C). Temperatures lower than this can kill the plant, similarly, a higher temperature can cause dehydration and plant death. So, if you want to grow them in an extremely hot or cold environment, it is better to keep them indoors and protect them from the adverse effects of weather.

Water Requirements

To properly water your Shamrock plant, you should keep in mind that they do not like prolonged moist conditions. You should prepare a watering schedule that covers factors like the age of the plant, size, season, and climate. An adult plant should be watered three to four times a month. Below is a proper guide to watering.

  • If your plant is small or just planted, you should water it once every four to five days. This is because small plants cannot hold water, and need frequent watering.
  • Once the plant gains some height, you can start watering it less often. But you should increase the amount of water. You can water once a week to a plant that has gained five inches in height.
  • Make sure to water more often during the summer and in hot areas, while less often in cold areas and the winter season.
  • Between the watering, let the soil completely dry. This would help the roots of your Shamrock plant to avoid root rot that is caused by constantly moist soil.
  • You should check the soil before watering, you can check it by removing some soil from the upper layers in the pot. If these layers are dry, you should provide your plant some water.

Fertilizers Requirements

The Shamrock plants require fertilizers to grow and thrive. This is important as these fertilizers provide the plant required nutrients. Without these nutrients, plants would not grow properly and may even die as well. You can check the soil for nutrients deficiencies and then use appropriate fertilizer. There are a lot of ways to use fertilizer on plants. You can spread the fertilizer in potting soil. You can mix it in the soil while preparing the pot. You can create a mixture of fertilizer and water. This is one of the easiest methods to fertilize your plants. You can feed this mixture to your plants once a month or once every 40 days.

Repotting

The Shamrock plant spreads quickly and outgrows the pot it is grown in initially. When that happens, you should replant your Shamrock plant. Otherwise, it would slow its growth. You can replant or repot your Shamrock plant by uprooting it and transferring it into a new plant pot. Before uprooting and transferring, you should prepare a bigger pot for the transfer and during transfer, you should avoid harming the roots of the plant. Repotting should be done during the spring season.

Pruning

The best time to prune your Shamrock plants is when it sheds its flowers. Flowers of the Shamrock plant wilt and die and look bad if they stay on the plant. You can prune them with a sharp cutter. Also, you can prune any parts of the plant that look dead or out of shape. You can shape your Shamrock plant with the help of pruning. Pruning once a year would be enough for this plant.

Pests and Problems

Below are a few pests and problems that the Shamrock plant might face and their solutions.

  • Mealybugs: It is one of the most common plant pests, it attacks the branches, stem, and leaves of the plant. It sucks the nutrients out of the plant and causes infection. To get rid of the mealybugs you should use detergent water to wash your plants, or you can also use specific pesticides.
  • Spider mites: Spider mites also attack the Shamrock plant and cause the death of the plant. If you see any signs of its attack, you should wash your plant with detergent water. But if it does not help, you should use pesticides to kill them.
  • Aphids: Aphids are also one of the common pests for Shamrock plants. To control their attack, you should use pesticides.
  • Leafhoppers and Thrips: Leafhoppers and Thrips are also very common Shamrock plant pests that can cause the death of the plant. They spread quickly. So, if you see any signs of their attack, you should spray pesticides and kill them.
  • Root rot: Root rot is also one of the common problems in Shamrock plants. It occurs due to overwatering of the plant. If the soil remains moist all the time, the roots of these plants start to decay. To avoid this, you should water your plants once the soil is dry.

Propagation

The easiest way to propagate Shamrock plants is by replanting the root bulbs. You can cut the root bulbs of the Shamrock plant, and divide them into two or more halves. Each half then can be planted into a separate pot. This is one of the most effective methods to propagate the Shamrock plant.

Another important method to propagate the Shamrock plant is by planting the cuttings. You can take cuttings from mature plants and then let them dry for one or two days. After that, keep them in the rooting hormone for a few days. Once the roots appear, plant them into the new pots. Another method is by using the seeds of this plant. You should scatter the seeds on the soil and provide them some water. Let the pots be in partial shade until these seeds sprout.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is the Shamrock plant an indoor or outdoor plant?

Shamrock plant is a tropical plant and can be grown outdoors if the environment is moderately warm and conditions are favorable, but if the environment outdoors is not suitable for its growth, then it is grown indoors.

Question: Why is my Shamrock plant wilting?

Shamrock plants can wilt due to several reasons, including root rot, dryness, sunlight exposure, and pest problems. You should keep these factors in control and your plant would not wilt.

Question: How to divide a Shamrock plant?

Shamrock plants are also propagated using the division method. In this method, you take the root ball of the Shamrock plant and divide it into two halves. Each half then is planted in a different pot and grows into a separate plant.