Oxalis Palmifrons Care – Palm Leaf Oxalis Complete Care Guide
This is a complete guide on the oxalis palmifrons plant including identification, caring, growing, and propagation.
Oxalis plants are generally considered to be weeds across the world.
But, there are a couple of oxalis varieties that look so beautiful and unique which in turn gave them a place in the ornamental plant spaces.
And, one such oxalis variety is oxalis palmifrons, also known as palm leaf oxalis.
This beautiful plant has unique foliage that looks like a cluster of miniature palm leaves. And, that’s the reason for their name.
Excited to know more about this plant? Well, I’ve got all the information you need to grow this beauty in your indoor or outdoor garden.
Here are the topics that we are going to cover today.
- What is Oxalis Palmifrons?
- Oxalis Palmifrons Appearance
- Oxalis Palmifrons Care
- Best Place To Grow Oxalis Palmifrons
- Pruning Oxalis Palmifrons
- Oxalis Palmifrons Propagation
- Oxalis Palmifrons Toxicity
- Lot’s more.
So, let’s get started.
What is Oxalis Palmifrons?
Oxalis Palmifrons is scientifically referred to as Oxalis Palmifrons Sector. Other common names it is known with are palm-Leaf shamrock, false Shamrock, and palm leaf oxalis.
The plant is scientifically classified under the family and genus of Oxalidaceae and oxalis respectively. The name Oxalis Palmifron was derived from the plant’s leaves; this is because of their tiny fronds that are symmetrical as can be noticed from the stem tops.
Oxalis Palmifrons is originally from the deserts of the western Karoo in South Africa. Palm leaf oxalis is described and falls under the plant categories referred to as ‘Succulent’.
Unlike other Oxalis species, the palm leaf oxalis is a perennial low growing plant with foliage that is stunning. The plant does not emerge until late fall, it is a winter grower.
Palm leaf oxalis plant can go stagnant during the summer heat but comes back to its evergreen color during winter.
Oxalis Palmifrons Appearance
Oxalis palmifrons is a stunning plant with unique patterns of leaves, stems, and flowers. It is a low-growing plant that spreads rapidly. Unlike other Oxalis, this species has deep green leaves that fade at the edges to pink and then purple.
The leaves are also very tiny and symmetrical, resembling tiny clumps of little palm trees. They have about 3-12 leaflets that are best described as palmate and are mostly clover-like.
The plant also has thin, fragile stems that could easily be waterlogged if care is not taken.
Oxalis palmifrons goes dormant in the heat of summer, so its flowers emerge in fall. You’ll find some with pink flowers and others with white ones.
Oxalis Palmifrons Care
Oxalis palmifrons is an excellent houseplant, it can grow in various conditions. But to properly care for this versatile plant, you will need to provide it with loose or sandy soil, expose it to bright filtered light and apply fertilizer at least once a month.
If your palm leaf oxalis must grow healthily, one of the things you must not joke with is providing it with the right potting mix. Oxalis palmifrons require loose, slightly acidic, sandy, well-draining soil.
Before you plant palm leaf oxalis, make sure to enhance the soil quality; you can do this easily by adding a little quantity of compost manure to the soil.
You can choose to prepare your potting mix or just buy it from a local gardening store near you. To prepare it yourself, add pumice and perlite to your soil (This will make the soil more porous, sandy, and well-draining).
Once you have provided Oxalis palmifrons with the right potting mix, ensure that you do not keep it in a place that accumulates water to avoid waterlogging the soil.
Light is another essential care requirement for your palm leaf shamrock. It loves light and it would be a very huge risk to grow it under the shade.
Oxalis palmifrons will grow faster if you plant them in bright shades outdoors because they will be able to receive bright sunlight. But you must ensure that the sunlight is not too harsh on the plant to avoid causing root rot and other problems.
You can also plant palm leaf oxalis indoors. In any case, make sure that you provide it with sufficient sunlight. Oxalis palmifrons require bright indirect sunlight to grow well and even produce flowers. As much as the plant requires bright sunlight, you must ensure that you filter the light to avoid discoloration of the leaves.
If you’re growing Oxalis palmifrons indoors, you can provide the ideal light for your plant by placing a sheer curtain over the preferred window. Also, make sure to move your plant away from the window glass, or simply apply a window film that blocks UV rays.
Temperature & Humidity
Palm leaf shamrock doesn’t like to be in extremely cold environments. It also thrives in warm, sunny conditions. If you are growing your Oxalis palmifrons outdoors, make sure you keep them in your greenhouse during cold winter.
The ideal temperature for this plant to thrive is 60-70° Fahrenheit (15ºC to 21ºC) during the day and 55-65° Fahrenheit (13ºC to 18ºC) at night. Never keep the plant in an environment that has a temperature level lower than 50° Fahrenheit.
Palm leaf Oxalis can survive in most humidity levels. If you are growing it indoors, a moderate humidity level is enough for it. But you’ll need to keep your plant away from drafty areas and space heaters and air conditioners in order to maintain a favorable humidity and temperature level.
Water palm leaf shamrock properly to keep the soil moist, especially during the growing seasons of this plant. You should water your Oxalis Palmifrons at least once every week.
Before watering the plant, always make sure to check the topsoil and water it thoroughly only when it is dry. Ideally, you should allow the top of the soil dry in-between waterings.
It’s also very important to avoid overwatering your plants. Oxalis palmifrons stems are delicate and can easily get waterlogged, so you want to water this plant carefully.
The Oxalis palmifrons can survive without fertilization but if you wish it to grow more healthily, you should feed it with well-rotted compost manure.
If you are feeding your Palm leaf Oxalis with fertilizer, you should do it once a month in the spring and summer (This is when it is actively growing)
You should be careful not to feed your palm leaf shamrock with fertilizer when it is dormant and when the bulbs are resting.
Best Place To Grow Oxalis Palmifrons
The palm leaf Oxalis naturally is habituated in the western Karoo Region of South Africa and thrives in USDA Zones of 7b-11.
What this means is that naturally, the plant grows best in a warm-weather environment which is an imitated version of their natural habitat.
The plant is best grown in a place where it can be able to grow very low to the ground, not up to 7.5cm tall. The Palm leaf Shamrock can be grown in a container as the plant is a slow grower that can take about ten years to reach a width of 60cm.
You can grow your Oxalis palmifrons indoors or outdoors in the garden or greenhouse, but you must make sure to provide it with all the care requirements discussed above.
Pruning Oxalis Palmifrons
Pruning is not an essential requirement of this plant. Oxalis palmifrons is a small-sized slow-growing plant. So you’ll barely need to control its growth.
However, it may become necessary to cut off dead flowers and leaves just before the flowering season. And you can do this using simple gardening pruning tools like a pair of gardening scissors or any other sharp cutting tool.
While cutting, you must be careful so that you don’t mistakenly cut the stems of this beautiful plant as they are very tiny and fragile.
Oxalis Palmifrons Propagation
Propagating palm leaf oxalis is not very difficult; Oxalis palmifrons is one of the easiest plants to propagate. It produces a lot of offshoots from the main stems.
And there are various methods you can use for propagation. One effective method is by separating the offshoots and replanting them in new containers.
After the propagation and replanting, always ensure that you keep the new offshoots away from sunlight till they start growing fresh leaves.
Another method you can use to propagate your Palm leaf Shamrock is the seed method. You can purchase Oxalis palmifrons seeds, and encourage seeds germination.
To propagate palm leaf Oxalis using the Bulbous offsets separation method, follow the steps below:
Try digging up the clumps of the plant in summer. Do this by keeping the shovel on the base about 4 inches away (This helps to drill the root down to the bottom)
Remove excess soil from roots and dust off excess dirt from the plant in other to expose the bulbous stems
Cut open the bulbous tips and replant each of the cut oxalis palmifrons in a larger pot of about 1½ -2 inches in diameter
Fill the container with loose, sandy soil that is slightly acidic and well-draining.
Place the plants in a way that the bulbous roots and the stem’s white base are not exposed but well protected with soil. Ideally, you shouldn’t cover up the green parts of the stems in the soil.
Now, water the plants properly as discussed above.
To propagate palm leaf Oxalis using the division method, follow the steps below:
First, make sure your Oxalis palmifrons is at least 6 inches long before using this method. Divide Oxalis palmifrons four inches from the base of the stalk. The divisions for propagation should be at least eight inches below the stems.
The next step is to create several divisions or sections of the already cut plant. Each division can be large or small, but make sure they contain rhizome roots and fresh, green stalks
Now that you’ve prepared the divisions, ensure you select appropriately-sized containers with good drainage holes. Following the soil requirement above, prepare your potting soil and fill your container halfway with the soil.
To transplant the divisions into the new containers, try making a hole of the same depth as the oxalis palmifrons divisions you have. Then you can replant the divisions into the new containers, making sure the rhizome roots are covered and the green stems are above the soil.
The final step to take is to immediately water your newly transplanted oxalis palmifrons divisions. Water thoroughly until excess water drains from the container. Always keep the soil moist so your plant grows well.
Oxalis Palmifrons Toxicity
Oxalis palmifrons is only toxic to pets and humans when ingested. So you’ll need to keep your children and pets away from this plant as it contains Oxalic acid. Hence, consuming large amounts of this plant has adverse health effects on humans such as kidney damage.
On the other hand, if you notice that your pets have developed ill-health symptoms like drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite, watch out as the problem may be Oxalis poisoning.
Common Problems Of Oxalis Palmifrons
Oxalis palmifrons is an easy-going plant, you’ll have very few problems to deal with. However, some of the most common problems that affect this plant include root rot, discoloration in leaves, and pest attack.
This oxalis species is attacked by a variety of plant pests. Most pest attacks occur due to overwatering and eventually, root rot. These attacks often turn the leaves and stems of this plant yellow.
Quick fix: when it comes to pests like spider mites, you’ll need to handle the problem as soon as possible. Thoroughly wash Oxalis palmifrons plant with ideal detergents or soapy water. Detergent water can kill most of these pests but some might survive.
So if detergents do not deal with your pest problem completely, use organic pesticides like neem oil to wipe your plant.
Root rot and leaf discoloration
The above-mentioned conditions are caused by overwatering the Oxalis plant or exposing it to cold winter, or harsh sunlight. In this case, you can take a few steps to deal with this problem.
Quick fix: Always check the moisture level of the soil before watering. Oxalis palmifrons is a small plant and it can be overwatered easily if care is not taken. Also, make sure to take the plant indoors and increase the temperature level to about 55-60° Fahrenheit to create a warm environment for it.
Other Oxalis Varieties
Oxalis palmifrons is an outstanding plant not just for of its dramatic appearance, but also because of its special features. Here, we’ve successfully discussed how you can properly care for Oxalis palmifrons.
If you follow the care requirements carefully, you are surely going to maintain a beautiful, thriving Palm leaf shamrock that’ll catch the eye of many.
To back up the information we provide in our articles, the Plantials team only uses high-quality sources published in peer-reviewed university or scientific research journals.
- Two New Species Of Oxalis (Oxalidaceae) From The Greater Cape Floristic Region.
- A Palynological Review Of Oxalis (Oxalidaceae) In Southern Africa, University Of Pretoria.
- Oxalis Saltusbelli: A New Oxalis (Oxalidaceae) Species From The Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve, Nieuwoudtville, South Africa, South African Journal Of Botany.