Houseplant Care Tips

Various Houseplant Care Tips Including Watering and Lighting Requirements.

Houseplant Care Tips

Monday, November 03, 2008

Shamrock Plant Care

Common Name: Shamrock Plant
Scientific Name: Oxalis species
Lighting: Low to Moderate
Watering: Moderate

Shamrock plants come in a wide variety of species. Varieties include those with deep burgundy foliage with white or pink flowers to green foliage as well. Shamrock plants form a mound like appearance by continually sprouting new shoots. One thing to be aware of, is that generally within 2 months of receiving your Shamrock plant, the plant will appear to be dying and actually seem dead. Don't throw it out! It is a bulb and goes into a dormant state.

Shamrock plants prefer low light levels in most cases. Some varieties like higher levels, so be sure to follow the tag for your specific variety. If your plant is stretching or becomes lanky in appearance, it is probably not receiving enough light.

Shamrock plants prefer to have their soil somewhat moist at all times. However you do not want the soil to be soggy, so be careful not to over water. Generally, if the soil does dry out, this houseplant will spring back from a wilted state quite quickly. But do not make a habit of under watering the plant. If the foliage begins to yellow, you may be over watering the plant.

If you're Shamrock plant has not bloomed, you can try to cut back water levels on the plant to force it into a dormancy state. Then in 2 to 3 months begin to increase the water levels.

I have never had this plant, so any tips or advice are welcomed and encouraged to assist my readers in caring for this houseplant.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had my shamrock for 4-5 years and it blooms all the time. I usually water it once a week and trim off dead flower/foliage stems. It's such a cute plant. Foliage turns to the light to capture as much as it can and they close every night. I love mine!

12:43 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I have several of these in green and have them in windows facing east, south and west; they are doing well even though they do prefer being outside during the milder weather.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had an Oxalis of the red variety for about 5 years. I keep it outside in a shady location on my deck from May to early September. After I bring it indoors the foliage dies back as the bulbs become dormant. As the light levels increase in April new shoots emerge and growth resumes once again. I use a little bulb fertilizer as I use for my tulips, hyacinth and other bulbs once a month while actively growing. Moderate watering promotes flowering. The foliage is lovely and looks like red butterflies.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Lady said...

I have had Shamrocks for almost 20 years. They came from my deceased mother-in-law.

I don't know the varieties, but I have both the large leaf purple ones, and medium leaf green ones.

I found watering from the bottom to be the best way of watering them. Put your plant on a plate or tray, and put the water in it.

Also, you can 'break' the bulb to start new growth. Planting them lengthwise will encourage faster growth.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have two Purple-leafed oxalis plants(one large and one small)and just as advised, when I first got the plant, it was knocked off the window sill by a gust of air and the growth was slow (and nearly non existent) after that. I thought the plant had died, but then one day, it sprouted it again.
These plants are semi-delicate, but they have staying power and will live if you water them somewhat frequently (every other day).
I love to watch them at night when they go to sleep and the leaves close.

7:39 AM  
Blogger joyce said...

l do not have a 'green thumb' but my shamrock is great.. l have it on a table in front of a window that gets lots of afternoon sun.. it seems to like it.. l put it in the sink and let it soak for a half hr when the soil appears dry.. l thought l had killed it but noticed a small green shoot when l went to throw it away..l water the little shoot and wow!! l had a large bouquet of folliage in less that a week.. it seems to be always in flower... ignorance in its care seems to be working for mine.. l love it

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had my Shamrock for about 2 years. I bought it on clearance at Wal-mart. You know, the ones where they are already half dead. I buy all my plants that way. Anyway. I bout this one because it was so sad looking and tiny. I brought it home and transplanted it. Then my dogs knocked it off the table it was on. I scooped it back into the pot and hoped for the best. Then it started to bloom again and I was happy. Well then the power went out in my house and it was freezing. and I thought that all my plants were dead because they could not withstand the winter weather in Indiana. And some of them didn't survive. But one of the few was my Shamrock. I know that these plants are classified as semi-sensitive. But in my experience this plant is definitely for someone that is really hard on plants! I love mine and I hope to have it for years to come!

11:47 PM  
Anonymous moriarty said...

It's a resilient potted plant that is for sure...a squirrel dug and dug its way all throughout the pot and I thought for sure it was a goner...I re-potted the soil left behind...lo and behold it returned to full vigor!

Laura Moriarty

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a "red shamrock:. was almost dead when i received it. I put fresh potting soil and placed the plant on my porch in front of the sliding glass doors. This plant went crazy with beautiful purple flowers and dark purple leaves. It is very hardy when given the right care and looks amazing! would recommend to anyone looking to have a houseplant with minimal care!

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had a purple @ a green shamrock that I have had for 4 yrs. Here is my problem: leaves are getting spotted light brown & eventually wilting & dying. Every leaf has spots. What am I doing wrong. Should I repot the plant? Could it be diseased? I do not want to loose this plant. Any suggestions welcomed

9:44 PM  
Anonymous julia said...

my red shamrock is much less full than my friend's. as in, mine has fewer stalks and red leaves than her plant does. i probably have around
it blooms constantly, usually just a couple white flowers. i water it several times a week, and i leave it in a windowsill facing west, so partial light. it is kinda lanky and stretchy, but unfortunately thats the best sunlight i can offer my plant.
i would like more leaves and more flowers, what should i do? i dont have any more bulbs

2:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This plant is very hardy. I have a two y/o whom will not leave it alone. She has repeatedly pulled the leaves and shoots out and I had always just pushed them back into the soil and within wks it was flowering (She has even gotten into a habit of eating the leaves and so far it hasn't bothered her one bit! maybe the reason why she won't stop lol)It transplants very easily and is always flowering, which I love, as do the kids. I'd recommend this plant to all non green thumbs. Very easy plant

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Rhonda said...

I certianly agree, I have forgotten to water, I have watered to much, and it wants to live. I recommend anyone who does not have a green thumb, this is the plant for you. My shamrock is as beautiful as the day I got it. The shamrock goes through alot, but yet keeps on kickin.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have 6 or more these on the patio and the have been 100 degree heat for over 30 days now. They look horrible. Last year they loved being outside all summer. Now, leaves are brown and spotted. I water at least every other day and I feed them once every week and a half with Miracle grow. Idk, I think they may be toast for this year.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got a shamerock from a wedding this weekend and love it but, I have inside cats that eat most inside plants or flowers I've ever had. Does anybody know if shamerocks are "cat treats", and if so are they posionous to them?

5:25 PM  
Blogger Vicky said...

Julie with a red shamrock plant that's not so full. I've only just gotten my plant but I think I know what's wrong with your plant. When you go to water your plant or any plant for that matter, stick your index finger into the soil, away from the edge but where you want damage any roots, up to your first knockle of your finger. If the soil feels moist or good and wet leave off the watering. If it feels a little dry place it in the sink and either make the water coming out from the faucet luke warm, not to hot but not freezing cold either. Or keep a jug of water off to the side that's closed and has come up to room temp. before watering your plant. Plants don't like cold or hot water. it puts them into shock. Water it until it just starts to come out of the hole in the bottom of the pot. Leave in the sink until there is no more water coming out. Or you can put a little water at a time in the saucer but make sure not to leave water in the saucer for to long because the plant will keep trying to suck up that water and it will become soggy and die. I believe if you do this your plant will be as full and beautiful as your friends if not more so. Let me know what color the flowers are when it blooms.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Sheri said...

My shamrock just keeps getting larger and larger. It is now in a planter big enough for a palm tree. My son bought it 3 years ago for me. It gets beautiful purple leaves sometimes, but most of the time they are green. It blooms all the time. It seems to need quite a bit of water but the only time it really seems to die off all the way is when it needs a transplant to a bigger pot. I can't go to a bigger pot so how do I keep the plant happy and still have room in my house for it?

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had my red shamrock for a very long time. I have it in a large pot, probably 12-14 inches across and that where it stays. I put it outside in the summer and bring it in, in the fall. When I bring it inside, it is so full I can barely get through the foliage to water, then it all dies back so it it looks dead, but then it comes back and it flowers all the time. I keep in in a north window in the winter and on my north facing deck in the summer. My neighbour put some of hers in the garden and it came back the next year. We're in Ontario, just outside of Toronto.

11:56 AM  
Blogger vicky said...

I have had my purple shamrock now for two years and this is my second year bringing it in for the winter. It has died back again now and so I'm hoping it will come back. Thanks everyone for your comments. They have been very helpful.

5:39 PM  
Blogger drayas / Logical Mama said...

Thank you to everyone sharing their Shamrock Plant stories.


7:23 AM  
Anonymous Dale said...

I thought mine was dead last fall but it hung on until I put it on my covered porch for the second year in a row. Now it's beautiful and blooms every day. They DO like the outside weather.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recieved my Shamrock as a gift almost 20 years ago. When my two Siamese were alive, they chewed the stems down to nubs on a regular basis. They always grew back, bigger and with more flowers. My Shamrock outlived my cats, and still keeps blooming year after year. This year, however, it seems tired or maybe missing the cats. It is more spindly, but still beautiful.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Waterford Mich here...Z-6..I have the 4- leaf clovers as well as the red or "Charmed Wine " as it was labled...Just wanted you all to know that these plants love to rest in the garage to dry out over winter but can handle down to 20*F..In the spring break up the root ball to have more than enough to re-start and to give to friends...A really great plant overall...

10:14 AM  
Blogger Curt Young said...

Can the red Shamrocks survive outdoors through the winter? Mine's getting big and full, needs another planter for the indoor plant, but they would look really nice in the planter boxes along the driveway.

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a green thumb at all, Infact most plants die on me, but inherited a shamrock plant from my mom when she passed (my mom was not a green thumb either). I din't remember how long she had it, but I took it over almost three years ago, my cat chews on it regularly and she is not effected by it, I forget to water it on a regular basis and it comes back full of life, Infact I hadn't watered it in over two weeks and it still was full of life, I put more water in it and it didn't take much before water was coming out the bottom. It is such a hardy plant. Highly reccomend the plant to any one, green thumb or not.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes toxic to cats can cause organ failure

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just recieved a 55 year old Shamrock. It has a lot of Semental value, I've had it for a little more than a month and seems to be doing ok and has even flowered. Any tips on keeping it alive would be welcome. Thanks

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had my "charmed wine" Shamrock for 10 years and it needs to be re-potted. Not sure if I should. It is so beautiful, and blooms all the time. It is in the east window of my house. Seems to love it there. It is such a beautiful plant and purple is my favorite color.

Plant Lover!

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got my first purple shamrock. I hope I do as well as everyone else has. My family is from Ireland. Wish me luck. Hope to have it for many many years to come. 3/9/2013.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Joyce A. said...

Joyce A. My friend gave me my Shamrock plant to keep for her while she is away. It is so adorable and brings me much joy. I have had it almost a week now. I cleaned it up, watered it, and cut off the dead plants. It looks is so cool to see it awaken and look so lively in the afternoon. Then in the evening it closes up for rest. What a terrific plant!!! Almost don't want to return it. Thanks to all who shared thier comments, it was quite helpful. March 22, 2013

1:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its time to share your shamrock! Split a bit off and share with a friend so they can enjoy the wonders of the shamrock. That's how I got mine and I love it!

1:02 PM  
Blogger Bethany said...

My 9-year-old daughter gave me a shamrock for Mother's Day last year, so I am thrilled that as long as I take care of it, I can enjoy this gift for many years! Thanks for all of the input. I keep mine in our "plant room" in an area where it receives indirect light, and I water it 2-3 times a week. I've had to repot it once so far, and as it dies back, I pull the dead parts out, and it "revives" itself within a few days and looks happy again.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My purple shamrock is over 20 years old and while the stems and "leaves" are healthy, it has' t bloomed in years. I've tried frequent watering, ignoring it, fertilizing.....all for naught. Any more ideas? Thanks!

12:41 PM  
Blogger Sean O'hara said...

My sister just gave me one St P day. I put it outside and died right away. N E Tenn showed up in a zone that said is safe for it. Hope it will come to life once frost pasts.

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just got one of these from my mother in law(she's had it for sometime) when she moved she put it indoors and it didnt do so well. I just got it today from her and it has a whole 6 leaves on it...i remembered that she had it on a shady patio before and it looked good. So i am going to keeo it on my patio(doesnt get direct sun) please wish my luck because i don't have much of a green thumb. Thank you for everyones tips and stories...they have been extremely helpful

6:49 PM  
Blogger amy said...

Hi! I am not sure how old your post is but i am just reading it now ( oct 2015). This may sound very silly, but I find when I spray my purple plant from a water bottle it is very happy and sprouts flowers I would love to know if this helps you

8:13 PM  
Blogger Lillie McCoy said...

Why are the leaves on my shamrock plant closing at night. They are open during the day, I just happen to notice that they leaves come together at night only.

12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had my shamrock for 40 years and have thought at times it was a goner but it always bounced back, just needed the rest. This year the leaves are irregular shape and the ends of the leaves are white and tan. Many will just shrivel up. I've treated the plant with systemic bug product and made sure I was consistently watering it when needed and not overwatering but when new leaves come up they have the same problems. Any suggestions?

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have my grandmother's shamrock plant that she had received 100 years ago. They do not like tap water nor do they do well with it. Rain water is what they love to receive at room temperature. I keep mine in a north facing window and it does fabulous. I took a tuber some years ago and put it in a new pot. We live in a valley and have this new plant in a south facing window. It has developed to be much smaller and not so vibrant.

2:18 PM  

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