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Oxalis Triangularis, Purple Shamrock - Plant

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Oxalis Triangularis, Purple Shamrock - Plant  - Plants World

Oxalis Triangularis, Purple Shamrock - Plant


Botanical Name Oxalis regnellii
Common Names Black Shamrock, Black Oxalis, Wine Shamrocks
Plant Type Annual plant in the North. Where the weather is warm enough, it is a perennial.
Mature Size Height and spread of about 1 foot
Sun Exposure  Partial Shade
Soil Type Well-draining soil
Soil pH 6.1 to 6.5
Bloom Time Blooms repeatedly
Flower Color Rose, mauve, lavender
Hardiness Zones It is a perennial in growing zones 8 to 11
Native Area Indigenous to South Africa and tropical America


Planting and Caring:

This plant grows from a rhizomatous bulb that is sometimes called a "pip." Relatively little care is required during the growing season for these plants. Since it is not hardy North of zone 8, northerners grow this striking tropical plant as a summertime specimen that serves as an accent for the yard. Often they grow it in containers to adorn shaded patios during the warm-weather months. That way, not only can the plant be moved around to satisfy one's plant-combination needs, but the bulbs are also all ready to be brought inside at a moment's notice once cold weather approaches. If, by contrast, you live in zone 8 or warmer, use Oxalis regnellii in shade gardens.

The shape of the individual leaflets on the trifoliate leaves (they come in threes) are triangular. Each of the three triangles directs one of its points to the center of the leaf, where they all meet at one small hub; likewise, each thrusts out a broadside to form the interrupted leaf perimeter.

Among the bigger leaves on a purple shamrock plant, each of these broadsides can measure 3.5 inches in length. The visual effect is one of floppiness. It is as if one were gazing at a butterfly that had a third wing. An oddity worth noting is that their leaflets fold down toward the stem at night, then rise again the next day. The leaflets of purple shamrocks "pucker down" as night falls.

Flowers do emerge out of the mounding clumps, although, competing against the striking leaves, the blooms are bound to take a back seat. The trumpet-shaped blossoms are very light pink in color.


This colorful plant is best grown in partial shade. Bright sun will be too much for this plant.


Grow in well-drained soil. If you are growing it in the ground, make compost (if you do not already have some), so that you can work it into the ground to loosen the soil and provide nutrients.


Water adequately to get them established, after which point their water needs are minimal.

Temperature and Humidity

This plant thrives in moderate temperatures. It will grow best when daytime temperatures do not exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures are between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.


A little compost should be all the feeding the purple shamrock requires. Even that is not necessary for these easy to care for plants.