How to Care for an Outside Shamrock Plant


It's a sure sign of spring when nurseries and grocery stores start selling shamrock plants. The shamrock's three-leaf arrangement on a long stem is reminiscent of a three-leafed clover. However, what we call a shamrock plant is actually a member of the oxalis family of plants. Nurseries usually sell them as indoor plants, but like other spring flowers, you can move them outside when the weather warms up.

Step 1

Plant the shamrock plant outside in a sunny spot with good drainage. Keep it the same depth as it was in the plant pot and water in thoroughly. The established shamrock or oxalis plant prefers dry soil. Once the plant is established, only water when it starts wilting.

Step 2

Allow the shamrock plant to go dormant when the outside temperature goes above 75 degrees F. Stop all the watering and fertilizing during this time. Once the leaves have dried out, trim them to ground level.

Step 3

Watch for new growth in about 10 to 12 weeks. Water as needed. If you notice the leaves are yellowing, cut back on watering until the leaves begin to wilt. Apply an all-purpose balanced fertilizer, or add a top dressing of compost when it is growing rapidly.

Step 4

Lift the plant from the ground with a garden spade and pot it in an indoor pot for the winter if you live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing. Water it thoroughly to settle the soil and place the plant in a sunny window with moderate to cool room temperatures, 65 to 70 degrees F.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden spade
  • Plant pot
  • Compost


  • University of Illinois Extension: Friend of Gardening--In the Clover
  • University of Illionois Extension: The Lucky Shamrock Plant
Keywords: growing oxalis outside, shamrock plant outside, shamrock plant care

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.