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How to Plant Oxalis Bulbs

By Jenny Harrington ; Updated September 21, 2017
Purple oxalis is available as well as green.

Oxalis are a group of foliage plants that also produce small ornamental flowers. Commonly called clover or shamrocks, oxalis grows from a small bulb or tuberous root section. These deep green plants produce three leaflets per stem, though there are four-leaf varieties available. The leaves fold closed at night and open back up in the morning light. Plant oxalis bulbs in spring after all frost danger has passed. Grow them indoors in pots or out in the garden bed.

Fill a 6-to-8-inch diameter pot with a well-draining potting mixture. Alternately, spread a 2-inch layer of compost over a well-drained, partially shaded garden bed and work the compost into the top 6 inches of soil to further aid drainage.

Plant the bulbs so that the top of the bulb is 1 inch beneath the soil surface. Space bulbs 2 inches apart in pots and 3 inches apart in the garden bed. Plant approximately three to five bulbs in a pot.

Water the potted oxalis after planting until the excess moisture drains from the bottom of the pot, then empty the drained water from the drip tray. Water bedded oxalis until the top 6 inches of soil feels moist.

Place potted oxalis in a brightly lit area that is not in direct sunlight, such as a south-facing window. Water when the soil surface just begins to feel dry.

Irrigate bedded oxalis once a week, moistening the soil to a 6 inch depth. Foliage grows in within six weeks.


Things You Will Need

  • Pot
  • Potting soil
  • Compost
  • Oxalis bulbs


  • Many oxalis varieties go through several dormancy periods in a year where the plant appears to die. Pinch off the dead leaves and stop watering. The plant will resume growing again in about three months.
  • Fertilize potted oxalis once a month when it is not dormant with a standard houseplant fertilizer.


  • Oxalis does not tolerate dry conditions. Water more often during hot, dry weather if the plant is not in its dormant stage.

About the Author


Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.