Oxalis | Butterfly Plant | False Shamrock
A native preferrer of the Southern Hemisphere, Oxalis goes by many names including false shamrock (due to her 3 part leaves) and butterfly plant and is a glorious burst of deep purple on the green dominated houseplant scene.
The nickname 'butterfly plant' comes from the fact that she is nyctinastic - as in, her leaves close at night. So be prepared for Margaret to open her petals once you pull apart the curtains in the morning and begin to close up again as the sun sets - I love to watch mine change through the day and it never ceases to amaze me. She also offers the occasional reward of the daintiest little flowers in pale pink or white, a gorgeous contrast to her dark, plum leaves.
Oxalis plants are very easy to care for and make a fantastic gift and each plant comes with it's own beautiful care card. Her plastic growing pot is 12cm and so would fit perfectly in one of our 13cm or 15cm pots.
As with all our houseplants, Margaret is named after an inspiring woman. This time, Margaret Atwood - incredible novelist and author of The Handmaids Tale, a truly gripping read.
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As her native southern hemisphere roots, she loves a good bit of sunshine, but, along with most coloured plants - not too much direct sunlight. You'll find that the leaves turn to face the sun throough the day so as long as there's some - she'll be fine.
As for watering, save that for when the soil has fully dried up. She's great at letting you know when she needs a top up as her leaves start to droop. Catch it in time and she'll perk right up.
Oxalis plants do have a 'dormant' or hibernation-like period every year so if she's stopped flowering and/or growing and everything else seems OK (no root rot or pests) just leave her! She'll come back in a few weeks, with a reward of beautiful dainty flowers.
Oxalis can be toxic to pets if eaten in large quantities so I'd recommend keeping her out of reach of any nibbling fluffy friends.