Oxalis (Oxalis triangularis)

Oxalis triangularis, commonly known as the Purple Shamrock or False Shamrock, is a striking houseplant known for its triangular, purple leaves and delicate white or pink flowers. Native to South America, this plant adds a vibrant splash of color to any indoor space and is loved for its unique foliage and relatively easy care requirements. With its eye-catching appearance and charming movement, where leaves close at night and open during the day, the Oxalis is a delightful addition to any plant collection.


The Oxalis offers several benefits that make it a valuable addition to any indoor environment:

  1. Aesthetic Appeal: The deep purple, triangular leaves and small flowers create a unique and attractive look, enhancing the visual appeal of any room.
  2. Compact Size: Its small size makes it perfect for windowsills, desks, or small spaces, adding a touch of greenery without taking up too much room.
  3. Easy to Grow: Oxalis is relatively easy to care for, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced gardeners.
  4. Decorative Movement: The leaves’ movement in response to light conditions adds a dynamic and lively element to your indoor garden.
  5. Air Purification: Like many houseplants, Oxalis helps improve indoor air quality by removing common pollutants.

Watering & Care

Caring for an Oxalis triangularis is straightforward, but following these guidelines will ensure it thrives:

  1. Light: Oxalis prefers bright, indirect light but can tolerate some direct sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, while too little light can result in leggy growth.
  2. Watering: Water your Oxalis when the top inch of soil feels dry. Typically, this means watering once a week. Be careful not to overwater, as Oxalis bulbs are prone to rot if left in soggy soil.
  3. Soil: Use a well-draining potting mix. A blend of standard potting soil with added perlite or sand works well.
  4. Temperature & Humidity: Oxalis thrives in temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C) and prefers moderate humidity. It can tolerate lower humidity but will benefit from occasional misting in very dry environments.
  5. Fertilizing: Feed the plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 2-4 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer). Reduce fertilizing in the fall and winter months.
  6. Dormancy: Oxalis may go dormant during the winter months. If the leaves die back, reduce watering and place the plant in a cool, dark place until new growth appears in the spring.
  7. Pruning: Regularly remove any dead or yellowing leaves to keep the plant looking healthy and tidy. Pruning can also help control the plant’s size.

Facts Check

  • Origin: Oxalis triangularis is native to South America, particularly Brazil.
  • Growth: Indoors, Oxalis can grow up to 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide, forming a compact and bushy plant.
  • Varieties: There are several varieties of Oxalis, including green-leaved varieties like Oxalis regnellii and other colorful species.
  • Toxicity: Oxalis is mildly toxic to pets and humans if ingested, causing stomach upset. Handle with care and keep out of reach of children and animals.


How often should I water my Oxalis?

Water your Oxalis when the top inch of soil feels dry, typically once a week. Ensure the pot has good drainage to prevent root rot.

Can Oxalis tolerate direct sunlight?

While Oxalis can tolerate some direct sunlight, too much can scorch the leaves. It thrives best in bright, indirect light.

Are Oxalis plants toxic to pets?

Yes, Oxalis plants are mildly toxic to pets and humans if ingested, causing stomach upset. Keep them out of reach of children and animals.

How can I propagate my Oxalis?

Oxalis can be easily propagated through division. Carefully separate the bulbs or rhizomes and plant them in individual pots with well-draining soil.

Why are the leaves of my Oxalis closing?

The leaves of Oxalis naturally close at night and reopen during the day in response to light conditions. If the leaves remain closed during the day, it may indicate low light levels.

Oxalis triangularis, with its unique triangular leaves and delicate flowers, is a beautiful and resilient plant that brings both aesthetic and health benefits to any indoor space. With its striking foliage and easy care requirements, the Oxalis is an excellent choice for both novice and experienced plant enthusiasts. By following the care tips outlined above, you can enjoy the vibrant greenery and dynamic nature of the Oxalis in your home or office for years to come.