By: Liz Baessler
Oxalis palmifrons is a fascinating and very attractive blooming perennial. Oxalis is the genus name of a plant from southern Africa that is made up of over 200 species. Oxalis palmifrons is one such species that gets its name from its leaves – tiny, symmetrical fronds radiating from the top of each stem, making it look for all the world like a tiny cluster of miniature palm trees.
It also sometimes goes by the name palm leaf false shamrock plant, or simply false shamrock. But how do you go about growing Oxalis palmifrons? Keep reading to learn more about how to grow a palm leaf oxalis and palm leaf oxalis care.
Palm Leaf Oxalis Plants
Palm leaf oxalis plants are native to the Western Karoo region of South Africa, and they need similarly warm weather to survive. They can be grown outside in USDA zones 7b through 11. In cooler climates they work well as container plants on a bright windowsill.
They grow very low to the ground, never getting more than a few inches (7.5 cm.) tall. They also spread extremely slowly, reaching a width of two feet (60 cm.) in about ten years. This compact size makes them ideal for container growing.
How to Grow a Palm Leaf Oxalis
Palm leaf oxalis plants are winter growers, meaning they go dormant during the summer. In late autumn, the leaves will emerge as bright green tiny palm trees. The flowers bloom light pink to white on stalks that reach just above the foliage. The leaves remain green through the winter, before the plant goes dormant again.
Palm leaf oxalis care is relatively easy – water regularly but not too much, and give it full to partial sun. Bring it inside if your winters get chilly, and don’t give up on it when it fades with the summer. It will come back!
This article was last updated on
how much water do they need?
Yellow leaves usually indicates overwatering or underwatering. They need water two or three times a month. In the case of shamrocks, they may be going into a period of dormancy when the leaves will die back. During that time of rest it needs darkness and little water. It will resume growth when the dormancy periods ends. Depending on the cultivar, this could be a few weeks to a few months, most often in summer. When I had one, it died back off and on during the year then came back with new growth and flowers.
Most Popular Topics
- Plant Recommendations
- Hibiscus Plants
- Tomato Plants
- Fig Tree
- Gardenia Plants
- Crape Myrtle Trees
- Peach Trees
- Lemon Trees
- Hydrangea Plants
- Sago Palm Trees
- Insect Pest Control
- Wisteria Vines
- Holly Bushes
- Calla Lily Plants
- Yucca Plants
- Zucchini Plants
- Lilac Bushes
- Lawn Problems
How to identify Palm-leaf False Shamrock or Oxalis palmifrons?
Palm-leaf false shamrock leaves are small, symmetrical fronds radiating from the top of every other stem, making it look like a tiny cluster of tiny palm trees for the entire world. The color of the Oxalis palmifrons leaves is green and the edges of the rosette are shading with pink and dark purple color. They grow very close to the ground, never growing higher than 7.5 cm. They have spread incredibly steadily in around ten years, reaching a range of 2 feet (60 cm).
Palm-leaf false shamrock is a winter plant and going dormant in hot summer. In the fall this plant starts to emerge and has small light pink flowers, which is a very cute sight to the eye.
Areca Palm Care
|Temperature:||Average room temperatures of 65°F (16°C) --- 75°F (24°C) are suitable and no lower than 55°F (12.7°C). Sudden cold temperature drops and cold drafts can cause the leaves to display brown spots.|
|Light:||A fairly bright room without direct sunlight is advised. Not enough light will slow growth and too much sun can scorch leaves.|
|Watering:||Allow the top soil to become dry between watering and do not overwater. Overwatering is the quickest way to kill an areca palm, especially if the soil does not drain too well.|
|Soil:||To prevent roots from becoming water logged use a well draining aerated potting soil mix. A mixture of 1 part peat, 1 part pine bark and 1 part coarse sand is one possible good mix.|
|Fertilizer:||During spring and summer feed with a palm fertilizer or just a standard diluted feed. After re-potting with new potting mix do not use fertilizer for 2 months.|
|Re-Potting:||When re-potting - take care not to disturb the plant too much and only sit it as deep as it was previously in the soil (see marks on the cane from the soil to measure the previous level). This plant prefers being pot bound to a certain degree, so re-pot every three years.|
|Humidity:||Normal room humidity is usually fine however, dry air turns leaf tips brown (this is common).|
|Propagation:||Propagation is done with seeds, but it's time consuming and quite difficult. You'll need to be able to keep temperatures at around 80В°F (26В°C) and provide above average humidity conditions. Using a heated propagator is best used to maintain the correct temperate and humidity levels.|
Popular Plants & Guides
Vriesea Splendens, Tillandsia, Billbergia, Guzmania, Aechmea Fasciata and others.
Calathea. Roseopicta, C. Zebrina, C. Crocata, C. Makoyana, C Lancifolia and others.
Dracaena Fragrans, D Braunii, D Marginata and D. Reflexa.
Ficus Pumila, F. Lyrata, F. Elastica and F. Benjamina.
Cattleya, Lycaste, Phalaenopsis and Paphiopedilum.
See house plants that not only spruce up the home but remove harmful toxins.
Temperature is an important factor for growth and varies from species to species.
Submit your house plant to the new forum and ask others for identification.
See the guide for repotting house plants with useful tips.
Oh La La Oxalis
Native Oxalis oregano thrives in my garden. I love the lushness it provides my woodland garden setting however, left unchecked, it will creep well beyond its boundaries. Then there’s the nasty oxalis weed—Oxalis stricta—that manages to reproduce every way imaginable: underground rhizomes, growing from any remaining roots, stolons, and spraying seeds every which way at the slightest touch if seed pods are left to ripen. That’s two familiar species out of the approximately 800 in the Oxalis family.
Lucky for us, many Oxalis aren’t weedy and offer charming ornamental value. I fell in love with Oxalis adenophylla, the silver shamrock. I haven’t tried planting it in the ground, but do have it in a trough and another container where it keeps two dwarf conifers and a sedum company. It was perhaps the most asked about plant in the garden designed by Alyse Lansing on the ANLD garden tour.
Alyse also used what looks like the marginally hardy Oxalis Charmed® Wine accompanied by a hosta and delicate pink and green variegated Japanese maple. She effectively repeated the combination in three containers along a narrow path at the side of the house. In Adriana Berry’s garden, also on the ANLD tour, I was introduced to Oxalis magellanica ‘Nelson’ for the first time with its sweet double white flowers and tiny shamrock ground-hugging leaves. Adriana sang its praises.
I don’t know how I’ve missed the wide variety of garden-worthy Oxalis available to us. I’ll now be on the lookout for O. oregano ‘Klamath Ruby’ (source: Joy Creek Nursery). Its dark green leaves with burgundy reverses and stems set it apart from the standard species. The three-inch, triangular purple leaves of Oxalis regnellii ‘Triangularis’ make it a stand out (source: Dancing Oaks Nursery). In need of light shade to protect the leaf color, I think it would be lovely growing at the feet of my giant sequoias. Oxalis tetraphylla ‘Iron Cross’ with its dark splotch in the center of the leaf and non-spreading habit would be a good addition to the garden (source: Dancing Oaks Nursery). And then there’s Oxalis palmifrons, also known as Palm-leaf False Shamrock. Swooning after seeing this adorable plant would be understandable (Source: Plant Delights Nursery).
To see more Oxalis with ornamental value, check out Plant Lust and Plant Delights Nursery. What Oxalis species are you growing in your garden?
Proper Watering Techniques
if you're worried that your plants don't receive enough water, avoid the impulse to douse them with water every day. Frequent, shallow watering encourages roots to grow near the soil's surface, where evaporation is easier. Instead, water your plants infrequently but thoroughly. Depending on the plant, this can mean anywhere from every five days to once a month during the growing season. Let the soil dry out slightly between waterings, so oxygen can reach the roots.