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'TIS THE SEASON OF THE SHAMROCK

Being of Irish descent, I still purchase a shamrock each year for St. Patrick’s Day.  Granted, it is not the true shamrock of legend.  That plant was probably a Trifolium dubium or T. repens, two clovers native to Ireland.  The Irish for shamrock is seanr√≥g meaning little clover.  It is said that St. Patrick used a clover to illustrate the teaching of the Christian Trinity in the 5th century.  The shamrock is associated with Ireland in art, song, and folklore.

The shamrock we use to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here in the United States is actually Oxalis regnellii, not an Irish native, but rather from South America.  This pretty little plant grows from bulbs and makes a great houseplant for a bright window.  Direct morning sun will produce more flowers and a more compact plant.  Keep the soil moist, but make sure to provide good drainage, as standing water may rot the tiny bulbs.

Oxalis prefers a dormant period, and when the plant begins to lose vigor, gradually allow the soil to dry out.  Cut off the yellowing or dead foliage, and store the pot in a cool, dry location for two to three months.  Then bring the plant back to its bright windowsill and begin watering and fertilizing again.  This shamrock flowers best when pot-bound, but if you need to repot or divide, the best time is during the dormant period.

So if you purchased or received a shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day, I hope it brings you  the “luck of the Irish!”  Erin go bragh!

Posted: 3/19/2014 by Margot | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: MargotGunn, TheGreatIndoors
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