How to Divide & Transplant Oxalis

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Oxalis is often found in St. Patrick's Day arrangements.
Oxalis is often found in St. Patrick's Day arrangements. (Image: Woodsorrel (Oxalis sp.) in redwood forest in California image by Lars Lachmann from Fotolia.com)

Oxalis is a small perennial plant often confused with the shamrock. Because shamrock is very hard to grow, many florists sell oxalis instead or use it in St. Patrick’s Day arrangements. Of the approximately 500 species of oxalis, many possess tiny flowers of white, yellow, pink, purple or red. The dark green to deep red foliage grows up to 10 inches tall. This plant grows from a very small bulb or tuberous roots. Dividing this plant is not difficult and takes just a few minutes.

Things You'll Need

  • Small flower pots
  • Potting soil
  • Sand
  • Small garden trowel
  • Houseplant fertilizer

Lift the bulb out of its current pot with a small garden spade, just as the bulb is coming out of dormancy. This phase is marked by little green shoots emerging from the soil. These plants may go through dormancy up to three times per year.

Remove the small side bulbs from the mother bulb by breaking them free with your hand.

Put the mother bulb back in its original pot with the new buds on top. Replant it as it was before you lifted it.

Mix one part potting soil with one part sand and fill a small flower pot for each bulb. Place the small bulbs just under the surface of the soil and cover with soil.

Water lightly until the soil is damp. Keep the soil damp until the bulb starts growing shoots. Once the shoots are growing well, the soil can be allowed to dry out slightly between watering. The plant should be well established within three months.

Place the small pots in the bright light of any window not facing south. South-facing windows are too bright and the sun exposure will burn the tender plant. A full day's sun exposure is fine, however provided the room temperature is over 75 degrees F: Such conditions may send the bulb back into dormancy.

Apply a general houseplant fertilizer once you see growth and every two weeks while it is actively growing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Oxalis is most commonly grown indoors because they prefer daytime temperatures of 70 to 75 degrees F and nighttime temperatures between 50 and 65.

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