One of the most attractive foliage plants to have equally beautiful flowers is the Purple Oxalis. Also called Love Plant, Purple Wood Sorrel, and False Purple Shamrock, the scientific name of Purple Oxalis is Oxalis triangularis. Er, False, did we say? Well, that is because the trifoliate leaves of Purple Oxalis resemble shamrock, but they are not shamrock, the plants that belong to the genus Trifolium.
Well, true or false, we love the three-leaved, clover-like oxalis that is so easy to grow and so lovely to look at.
The beauty of Purple Oxalis lies in its triangle-shaped deep purple leaves that look like dainty butterflies from a distance! That is why some people also call it the Butterfly Plant. In the evenings, when these leaves collapse against each other and seemingly go to sleep, they still look classy. Those who are new parents to this plant can get worried if they see the leaves drooping after daylight goes - please do not worry, the plant does this every night and then emerges strong and fresh the next morning! The flowers of Purple Oxalis are no less beautiful - tiny and a gorgeous shade of pinkish-purplish, they are perfectly set off by the deeply hued leaves.
Purple Oxalis care is easy - just keep them away from full sun or shade. They will do well in bright indirect light or a few hours of the early sun. So place them in your east-facing balconies or the living room that gets indirect sunlight, though growing Purple Oxalis indoor is difficult. As far as Purple Oxalis watering is concerned, take care not to overwater them - so keep the soil well-drained and if it feels wet, do not irrigate. Manuring once a month is sufficient. An improper amount of sunlight, water, or nutrients can cause purple oxalis turning green.
The name Oxalis has been attributed to this plant is because its leaves are rich in oxalic acid. While some consider oxalis edible, over-consumption of Purple Oxalis is not recommended as it may cause drooling, vomiting or diarrhea, or even kidney damage in the long run.
It is an extremely easy plant to grow. They have bulb-like roots, from which they can grow back even after their leaves have been damaged. Several times it sprouts on its own - purple oxalis spreads through detachable ‘bulbils’ that grow into new plants. It is a vigorous grower, taking over other plants like mint and coriander in a pot! Purple oxalis seeds are also available in the market.
Point to be noted
Purple Oxalis can easily get a re-potting shock - do ensure to give a re-potted Purple Shamrock a few days to recover, and take the utmost care not to physically damage the roots when transferring it from one pot to the other.