University of Florida

The Shamrock

Shamrocks are a symbol of St. Patrick's Day and their soft green color often heralds spring.

The shamrocks plants found in nurseries and stores around this time of year are most likely oxalis. Oxalis leaves are clover-shaped and can be shades of green, red, or purple, and their blooms come in many different colors. The leaflets fold up at night and during overcast days.

In many parts of the US, oxalis is a houseplant. Plants usually bloom all winter if placed in a bright sunny window. They prefer soil that is kept barely moist and like cooler temperatures, especially when in bloom.

However, in Florida’s zones 8 or 9, it can be found outdoors as a perennial.  It’s dormant in the winter, but can be seen beginning to sprout in spring.

For many, it’s a terrible lawn and landscape weed, so it’s recommended that you look for sterile varieties, like Charmed® Wine, or enjoy them safely indoors as a houseplant.  

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