Plant ID Purple shamrock

(Question)

1 of 3Hello! The attached picture shows a plant that I picked up at the corner store; there was no name on it and I’d love to know what it is. The leaves are burgundy with a splash of almost black, and look like clover in that they’re 3 lobes. The leaves measure about 3″ across. It has little cup-shaped nodding flowers that are a light pink colour; in the day they open up and have 5 petals; they close at night. The leaves also seem to close at night. If you can identify it, could you also please tell me whether it’s a perennial? If not, do you have any suggestions as to how I might keep it over the winter? (I am quite smitten with this plant!) I don’t have a garage or a cold basement to store plants in over the winter. I have a couple of close-up pictures that I could also send if it would help — this function would only let me attach one. Thank you so much in advance for your help!

(Answer)

Your plant is a beautiful example of what is commonly referred to as Purple shamrock, (Oxalis triangularis). This plant is not a perennial so if you have it outside it should be brought indoors before the first frost.

Oxalis is one of the easiest houseplants to grow. This plant prefers medium to bright light and cool temperatures (15-21 C ).  It should be noted that the brighter the light the more intense the burgundy leaf colour and the lower the light levels the fewer flowers will be produced. Keep the soil moist but well drained.

Repot the plant whenever it becomes crowded or if you notice soil salt buils up. When you repot the plant you will notice that Oxalis grows from bulbils. Unlike other bulbous plants such as tulips or daffodils, Oxalis does not require a dormancy period. If however the plant does go dormant due to poor living conditions such as lack of water or too low temperature and everything above the surface wilts simply cut of all above ground leaves and as soon as good conditions are restored the plant will come back to life incredibly quickly.