Oxalis purple cultivate

Oxalis purple: the false clover

What should I know about Oxalis Purple?

The Oxalis purple, or Oxalis triangularis, is a perennial tuberous plant of the Oxalidaceae family. It is native to South America, and grows especially near streams in Argentina or Brazil.

Its three-lobed leaves have given it its nickname of «false clover», even if oxalis is not from the same family as the famous lucky plant. Triangular and in shades of purple and purple, these leaves offer a very graphic visual, which contrasts pleasantly with the green plants of your home.

And that’s not all: the most original ornamental plant will offer you a beautiful show when its foliage opens every morning and closes on itself every evening. A delight for the eyes of the whole family!

At the time of flowering, from May to August, Oxalis purple forms a 20-30 cm high rounded tuft with small, funnel-shaped, pale pink or white flowers.

Another advantage: Oxalis triangularis is edible in addition to being aesthetic. Its tangy leaves can be eaten raw in a salad, which will brighten with their bright colors. As a condiment, they will pleasantly raise your dish, for example to replace a lemon zest or a few drops of vinegar. It should be noted that the flowers also taste good. However, be careful not to consume too much of this plant: it contains oxalic acid, which can cause calcium deficiencies.

How to grow Oxalis?

Oxalis is a very simple plant to grow indoors, but quite chilly. In a region with a really mild climate, it can be planted outdoors, especially since the triangularis variety is not invasive in our regions. It will be the most beautiful effect on the edge of an alley, or within a massive green that will bring out its purple hues. However, it does not tolerate temperatures below 5 to 10°C: we will therefore prefer a potted crop in order to be able to return it when the climate cools.

If you want to start growing shamrock, you will easily find plants in the garden. Oxalis bulbs are less common, but they are available online. Another interesting aspect of this plant is that it can easily be multiplied by tuberous root division in February.

Oxalis purple in pot

Plant the Oxalis bulbs about 5 cm deep in a fairly large pot, filled with a draining substrate, such as a sandy soil, or two-thirds potting soil mixed with a third of perlite. It should be noted that this plant appreciates a soil with a neutral or slightly acidic pH.

Place your pot preferably in mid-shade: Oxalis purple needs good sunlight, but without being directly exposed to the mid-day rays. For example, a windowsill facing west or east will be an excellent option. You can also protect your oxalis behind a veil at the hottest hours of the day.

In autumn, once the deciduous foliage has fallen, cut the stems to the ground. You can then choose to place the pot in a cool place, away from radiators, or even put it back in the darkness of a cellar or garage. Indeed, this period of wintering is necessary for the plant, which will leave more beautiful the following spring. The cold season is also the best time to divide the rhizomes of the plant. The tubers were stored cool and out of the sunlight, until they were potted when the temperatures returned.

Maintenance of oxalis purple

Indoors, the purple Oxalis is easy to maintain and very resistant. We give you some keys to succeed in its cultivation, even if you are a novice gardener!


It is important to water the Oxalis triangularis indoors regularly, while taking care to avoid excess moisture, to which it is particularly sensitive. It is therefore better to let the soil dry between watering. If the plant lacks water, it will lose its leaves and go into dormancy, but don’t worry: it will leave when you water it again!


Although the maintenance of Oxalis triangularis is fairly easy, it can nevertheless be the victim of a fungus called «rust». This fungal attack will be recognized by a thin layer of yellow dust on the foliage. Other leaf spots can also affect the plant. It will then be necessary to cut all the affected parts, but the flowers that grow afterwards will not necessarily be affected.

You can also apply as prevention a natural antifungal treatment, such as horsetail decoction or nettle purin. Even if the spicy taste of Oxalis Purple Edible is very tempting, wait a little before enjoying it!