Growing Oxalis Bulbs Indoors: Your Complete Guide

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Oxalis Triangluaris bulbs can produce vibrant, robust eye-catching conversational pieces to add to your indoor decor. If given the optimal care and conditions to flourish, these beautiful flowers will be hard to resist. Oxalis bulbs are relatively easy to grow indoors and known to be “user friendly” for even those of us with a less than green thumb. Oxalis plants are known to be low-maintenance houseplants that will thrive with minimal care. What makes the Oxalis a classic favorite to grow indoors besides its ease of care is that it produces striking purple leaves, which can be a breath of fresh air amongst a sea of common green houseplants.

Oxalis Triangularis Origins

Oxalis Triangularis is commonly referred to as the purple shamrocks. These plants originate from Brazil, but the plant’s history gathers from St. Patrick. St. Patrick was said to use a plant similar to the Oxalis leaves to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to the Irish. Hence the name purple shamrocks.

Oxalis are from the Oxalidaceae family, representing 800 of the 900 species in the Oxalidaceae family. Oxalis is the largest genus of the Oxalidaceae group.

When a greenhouse worker thinks of the Oxalis plant, they either love it or hate it. Oxalis are beautiful, unique indoor plants; however, they are considered an annoyance weed when found in a garden. The genus we are discussing in this article is more well-behaved than some of the varieties. The Oxalis Triangularis is unlikely to become unruly and spread unwantedly throughout your indoor gardens.

Care Requirements for Growing Oxalis Bulbs Indoors

Light, water, soil, temperature, potting, fertilizer, and air moisture are all aspects used to create the ideal formula for your Oxalis bulbs to grow in their new indoor environment.

Planting Oxalis Bulbs Indoors

Oxalis bulbs resemble a pinecone. To plant a bulb indoors, all you need to do is place the pinecone-shaped bulb upwards in your container of choice. If planting multiple bulbs in one pot, there is no need to worry about plenty of spacing between them. Oxalis enjoy being crowded, so potting them roughly an inch apart from each other is perfect.

Oxalis bulbs do need to be deep within the soil. Simply poking the bulbs into the soil roughly double the length of the bulb will suffice. 

Pots for Growing Oxalis Bulbs Indoors

As previously mentioned, Oxalis need relatively deep pots. Shallow pots will not work to leverage and support the Oxalis bulb as it begins to grow. In addition to the support, the Oxalis needs us to consider the depth the bulb has to be planted. If you can bury the pinecone-shaped bulb two to three times the length of the bulb, you should be good to go.

Soil Requirements for Growing Oxalis Bulbs Indoors

Oxalis need well-draining soil. They like water but never want to be saturated. Opt for a cactus or palm-type potting mix to provide optimal drainage.

Water Needs

Oxalis plants like water, yet they never want to be saturated. When first growing your Oxalis bulbs, water well and allow the water to drain. Once your soil is nice and damp, allow it to dry out before watering again. It is recommended to check your Oxalis plant’s dirt every few days to a week to navigate the time frame your plant needs between watering.

To check plant soil, insert your finger a couple of inches deep; once below the surface layer of the soil is dry, then it is time to rewater.

For bulbs, try to keep watering every couple of weeks until you notice new growth. It will take your bulbs roughly six weeks to start appearing. Before you know it, you will have a luscious bouquet of purple shamrocks.

Keep in mind; purple shamrocks will go into dormancy generally during the summer every two to seven years. When that happens, your plant will appear dead but do not rush to trash your beloved Oxalis. Instead, halt watering until the soil is thoroughly dry, have a little patience, and soon your Oxalis will appear like a new plant again.

Too much water at any time through your plant’s life can send it into dormancy.

Light Requirements

During the dark evening hours, Oxalis Triangularis will appear like a cluster of little purple butterflies; then, when kissed by the bright morning sunlight, these tiny butterflies will spread their wings, flaunting their exhilarating purple color.

Oxalis plants are not suitable for low light conditions. Oxalis need bright indirect to direct sunlight to thrive. Morning sunlight is best for these gorgeous indoor plants. If you have an east-facing window available, your Oxalis will most likely thoroughly enjoy making its home there.

Oxalis will grow in the direction of the light. Rotate your plant every time you water to encourage even growth.

Temperature Considerations for Growing Oxalis Bulbs Indoors

Average indoor temperatures are perfectly suitable for the Oxalis Triangularis plant. Oxalis enjoy temperatures between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If your home settings are above 75 degrees or below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, it can cause your plant to start to droop and lose its foliage.

Fertilizer Needs

Many potting mixes include a slow-releasing fertilizer, making it unnecessary to add fertilizer into freshly potted plants. After six months of soaking in the fresh soil, it could benefit your Oxalis to consider adding fertilizer to the soil every few months. Add fertilizer periodically until you repot or add new soil to your plant. Then repeat the waiting period before adding fertilizer again.

Humidity Requirements

Humidity levels for the Oxalis plant are relatively straightforward. These plants do great with normal indoor conditions. Luckily for us, that means no worrying about if your plant is getting enough moisture in the air.

Propagating New Oxalis Plants

Oxalis Triangularis are extremely simple to propagate. It is best to propagate your purple shamrock when in the dormant stage. Simply remove your plant from its container and separate the bulbs. Once you have your bulbs separated, you can easily pot your separated bulbs into new containers.

Separating and planting bulbs when in dormancy will have a greater chance of surviving when replanted. If you plant separate and plant a new bulb when it is actively vibrant and thriving, it can cause your new bulbs to become weaker since you are severing the plant when it is gathering and producing nutrients in full force.

Managing Plant Legginess

Plants become leggy due to overgrowth is a thing of the past with the Oxalis plants. Oxalis only require pinching or pruning of brown dead leaves as needed. Otherwise, if you decide to trim back this full luscious beauty, it will only be because of your personal preferences.

Common Problems when Growing Oxalis Bulbs Indoors

Oxalis Triangularis are affected by many of the common issues that affect other houseplants.

Some common Oxalis issues are:

  • Yellow leaves and mushy stems due to overwatering and root rot.
  • Wilting brown leaves and crispy edges are due to underwatering or extremely low humidity.
  • No new growth could be due to plant dormancy; providing bright light, very little water, and fresh fertilizer can remedy this.
  • Powdery mildew due to fungal growth; move your plant to brighter light.
  • Yellow rust flecks on foliage is a fungus; move your plant to a brighter location and treat with fungicide.
  • Spider mites and mealybugs; treat your plant with neem or an insecticidal soap.


Oxalis Triangularis is toxic to cats and dogs. The purple shamrock has a bitter taste which prevents most indoor pets from consuming more than a tiny taste. However, if you have a hard-headed pet that does consume a good bit, seek emergency care immediately.

Oxalis Triangularis contains oxalic acid, which is absorbed rapidly by the gastrointestinal tract. Oxalic acid causes blood calcium levels to drop and essentially can lead to acute renal failure.

Life Span of Oxalis

Oxalis plants are heirloom plants. They can have flourishing, incredibly long lives if well kept. Oxalis plants are one that you hear stories about getting passed from generation to generation in a family and being a cherished family tradition.

Growing Oxalis Bulbs Indoors – The Wrap-up

As you can tell by now, Oxalis bulbs are great indoor plants to grow. All they need is bright lighting, minimal watering, and occasional attention. If you are searching for a statement piece to add indoors, you cannot go wrong with this vibrant purple beauty.


Oxalis do not like being saturated with water. Too much water can quickly lead to root rot and plant death. Assuming you have a drainage hole in your pot of choice, then a well-draining, sand, or perlite-based potting mix is best. If purchasing from your local home improvement store or nursery, opt for a cactus or palm tree mix.

Oxalis plants require minimal grooming. Pinch or cut off dead foliage as needed, but otherwise, there is no need to trim these plants unless it is for your visual preference.

Oxalis bulbs are one of the easiest indoor plants to grow and manage. They require minimal watering, minimal upkeep, average temperatures, average moisture, and the only thing the plant needs excess of is sunlight. Provide basic care to your Oxalis bulb and bright sunlight to help your plant flourish.

Yes, Oxalis plants are highly toxic to pets. If ingested in severe cases, it can cause kidney failure even death.

No, propagating oxalis bulbs are relatively easy. Aim to propagate your plant when in dormancy or slow growth periods. Nutrient flow is extremely low during dormancy, making it optimal to severe the plant and repot into new separate containers. Planting during dormancy allows you to “start fresh”. After planting your new propagation, find a bright sunny location and water occasionally.

Published at Fri, 22 Oct 2021 10:45:33 -0700

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