How to Care for a Shamrock Plant

Every year at this time I buy a Shamrock Plant and every year it dies within 6 months. I love these plants! Please tell me how to keep them alive.

Hi Irene,

Shamrock Plants, or Oxalis, appear in flower shops around St. Patrick’s Day. These plants have the nickname Shamrock Plant because of their soft, thin, triangular leaves that are divided into three leaflets just like a lucky clover plant.

Shamrock Plant with purple leaves and pink flowers
Purple Shamrock Plant
Purple Cross shaped markings on Shamrock leaves
Iron Cross Shamrock Plant
Shamrock Plant with green leaves and white flowers
Green Shamrock Plant
Oxalis regnelli

Oxalis regnelli, the green leafed version of the Shamrock Plant, has small delicate white flowers while Oxalis triangularis, or False Shamrock Plant, has dark purple leaves and pinkish lavender flowers. The Shamrock Iron Cross has flowers that are rosy, some call it pink or red  with purple cross shaped markings on their leaves. Shamrock Plants are bulb plants and die back after they bloom. Don’t throw them out, they just need a little rest before starting to grow again.

Shamrock Plants need bright indirect light to grow well and produce flowers. They can often bloom all winter if kept in a sunny spot. Keep the soil of a Shamrock Plant barely moist but never soggy; allow the top 2” of soil to dry out before watering. It’s best to water a Shamrock Plant from the bottom so that the thin fragile stems of the plant don’t get water logged and the soil stays loose.

You can read all of my care tips for Shamrock Plants, especially what to do for them during their “resting period” in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.

These plants are considered slightly poisonous if eaten in large quantities and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.