How To Care For A Shamrock Plant

Last St. Patrick's Day I treated my kids to some shamrock plants from our local grocery. The kids were thrilled, put them in their rooms and probably weren't the best at watering them. Fast forward to summer break and the once beautiful shamrocks weren't looking so great; they were turning brown and wilting. So, I watered the plants and put them outside on our back deck where they would receive filtered, not-too-harsh sun. I was hoping to revive the plants or let them die quietly.

Amazingly, they didn't die. Instead they revived and turned into lush houseplants that have bloomed ever since. What I didn't know at the time is that shamrock plants are actually bulbs and not shamrocks at all but a member of the Oxalis or wood sorrel family. The original lack of water sent the bulbs into a dormant stage. And once a little TLC resumed, the plants were back in business.

Here are a few tips if you do buy a shamrock plant to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
  • Don't give your plant too much water. Let the top few inches of soil dry out and then water carefully so you don't harm the delicate stems. I water my plants from the bottom.
  • At night, shamrock plants will close their leaves. Don't worry, your plant will perk up in the morning.
  • I keep my shamrock plants in bright filtered light. They sit in an east-facing window through the winter and on the deck just outside that window in the summer.
  • If your plants start to turn brown and look horrible, give the bulbs some time to rest and rejuvenate. This is usually done in the summer by stopping water and letting the plants die back for a few weeks.
  • Don't stress over giving your plants a rest. They will let you know what they need. Some people grow these plants for years and never give them a rest.
  • Shamrock plants do well in basic household humidity. 
  • From time to time, shamrock plants can be repotted in a high quality potting soil.
  • You can remove spent flowers by snipping them. However, I never remove my flowers and my plants just keep flowering over and over.

This is now one of my favorite houseplants. It's easy and it re-blooms constantly. So, grab a shamrock plant for St. Patrick's Day. It just may bring you a little luck o' the Irish!

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