How To Plant Oxalis Bulbs [ Full Guide ]

Oxalis, commonly known as wood sorrel or shamrock, is a delightful and charming flowering plant that adds a touch of elegance to gardens and indoor spaces. The plant is admired for its delicate foliage and vibrant flowers, making it a popular choice among gardeners. Planting oxalis bulbs is a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but it requires specific knowledge and care to ensure the successful growth of these beautiful plants. This comprehensive guide will provide you with the necessary information and step-by-step instructions on how to plant oxalis bulbs effectively, ensuring that you can enjoy the beauty of these enchanting plants in your garden or indoor space.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Oxalis Bulbs

To plant oxalis bulbs, select a suitable site with well-draining soil and partial shade. Choose high-quality bulbs and plant them 2-3 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart in the prepared soil. Ensure the soil remains consistently moist, but not waterlogged, and provide adequate sunlight for the plants to thrive.

Choosing The Right Site For Planting Oxalis Bulbs

Selecting the ideal location for planting oxalis bulbs is crucial for their successful growth and development. Oxalis plants thrive in environments with well-draining soil, partial shade, and protection from harsh, direct sunlight. When choosing a site for planting oxalis bulbs, consider the following factors:


Oxalis plants prefer partial shade, especially in regions with hot, intense sunlight. Look for an area in your garden that receives dappled sunlight or partial shade throughout the day. Avoid locations that are exposed to prolonged periods of direct sunlight, as this can lead to the foliage becoming scorched or the plants wilting.

Soil Drainage

Well-draining soil is essential for the healthy growth of oxalis plants. Ensure that the planting site has soil that allows excess water to drain away quickly, preventing waterlogging and root rot. If the soil in your chosen area has poor drainage, consider amending it with organic matter such as compost or peat moss to improve its structure and drainage capabilities.

Environmental Conditions

Consider the environmental conditions of the planting site, such as the average temperature and humidity levels. While oxalis plants thrive in moderate temperatures, they may require additional care during periods of extreme heat or cold. Choose a location that provides a stable and favorable climate for the plants to grow and flourish.

Selecting The Suitable Oxalis Bulbs For Planting

Choosing high-quality oxalis bulbs is essential for successful planting and the subsequent growth of healthy, vibrant plants. When selecting oxalis bulbs for planting, consider the following factors:

Bulb Size And Firmness

Opt for oxalis bulbs that are firm, plump, and free from any signs of mold or damage. Bulbs that feel spongy or soft to the touch may be compromised and less likely to produce vigorous, healthy plants. Additionally, larger bulbs often indicate a higher energy reserve, which can contribute to stronger growth and abundant flowering.

Disease-Free Bulbs

Inspect the bulbs for any signs of disease or pest damage. Look for bulbs that are free from blemishes, rot, or visible signs of infestation. Healthy bulbs are more likely to establish robust root systems and exhibit vigorous growth once planted.

Variety Selection

Oxalis plants are available in different varieties, each offering unique foliage and flower colors. Choose a variety that aligns with your aesthetic preferences and complements the overall design of your garden or indoor space. Popular oxalis varieties include Oxalis triangularis (Purple Shamrock), Oxalis deppei (Iron Cross), and Oxalis adenophylla (Silver Shamrock).

Preparing The Soil Prior To Planting

Proper soil preparation is essential to create a favorable environment for oxalis bulbs to establish strong roots and thrive. Follow these steps to prepare the soil effectively:

Soil Testing

Conduct a soil test to assess the pH and nutrient levels of the planting area. Oxalis plants prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range between 6.0 and 7.0. If the soil pH is outside of this range, consider amending it with the appropriate materials to adjust the pH level accordingly.

Soil Amendment

Incorporate organic matter, such as compost, well-rotted manure, or peat moss, into the soil to improve its texture, drainage, and nutrient content. Mix the organic matter thoroughly with the existing soil to create a nutrient-rich and well-aerated planting bed for the oxalis bulbs.

Planting Depth And Spacing

When planting oxalis bulbs, ensure they are placed at the appropriate depth and spacing. Dig holes that are 2-3 inches deep and spaced 4-6 inches apart to accommodate the bulbs. Planting at the proper depth and spacing allows the bulbs to establish strong root systems without competing for space or resources.

Watering And Mulching

After planting the oxalis bulbs, water the soil thoroughly to settle it around the bulbs and initiate the growth process. Apply a layer of mulch, such as shredded bark or straw, to conserve soil moisture, regulate temperature, and suppress weed growth. However, ensure that the mulch layer is not too thick, as this can hinder the emergence of the delicate oxalis shoots.

Maintenance And Care

Once the oxalis bulbs are planted, provide them with consistent care and maintenance to support their growth and development. Water the bulbs regularly to keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged, particularly during dry periods. Monitor the plants for signs of pests or diseases, and address any issues promptly to prevent them from impacting the plants’ health.


During the growing season, consider applying a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to the oxalis plants to provide them with essential nutrients for healthy growth and flowering. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the application rate and frequency to avoid over-fertilization, which can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowering.

Planting oxalis bulbs is an enjoyable and rewarding endeavor that allows you to experience the beauty of these captivating plants firsthand. By selecting the right planting site, choosing high-quality bulbs, and preparing the soil effectively, you can create an optimal environment for the successful growth of oxalis plants. With proper care and maintenance, your planted oxalis bulbs will develop into vibrant, flourishing plants, adding charm and allure to your garden or indoor space. Follow the guidelines outlined in this comprehensive guide to ensure that your oxalis bulbs thrive and delight you with their exquisite foliage and blossoms.

Best Season For Planting Oxalis Bulbs

Oxalis bulbs, also known as shamrocks or wood sorrels, are popular plants known for their vibrant and delicate flowers. These bulbs are easy to grow, making them a great choice for both experienced and amateur gardeners.

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Oxalis bulbs can be planted both indoors and outdoors, but the best time for planting them outdoors is in the spring or early summer when the soil has warmed up. These bulbs prefer a temperature range of 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit (15-21 degrees Celsius) and thrive in mild climates.

If you are planning to start your oxalis bulbs indoors before transferring them outside, start the process about 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost date in your region. This will give the bulbs enough time to sprout and grow indoors.

How To Plant Oxalis Bulbs

  1. Choose a suitable location: Oxalis bulbs prefer a well-drained, slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 5.5-6.5. They thrive in partial shade to full sun, so choose a location in your garden that receives at least 4-6 hours of sunlight each day. If your soil is heavy clay or poorly drained, consider amending it with organic matter, such as compost, to improve drainage.

  2. Prepare the soil: Before planting the bulbs, prepare the soil by removing any weeds or debris. Loosen the soil to a depth of about 6-8 inches using a garden fork or tiller. This will improve the soil’s texture and allow the bulbs to establish their roots easily.

  3. Planting depth: The planting depth for oxalis bulbs depends on their size. Generally, they should be planted about 2-3 inches deep, with the pointed end facing upwards. If you are planting multiple bulbs, space them about 4-6 inches apart to allow enough room for growth.

  4. Planting technique: Dig a hole that is wide and deep enough to accommodate the bulb comfortably. Gently place the bulb in the hole, ensuring that the pointed end is facing upwards. Backfill the hole with soil and lightly firm it around the bulb, but avoid compacting the soil too much to allow for proper drainage.

  5. Watering after planting: After planting, water the bulbs thoroughly to ensure good soil contact and to settle the soil around the bulbs. Avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to rotting. It is important to keep the soil moderately moist, but not waterlogged, during the initial stages of growth.

  6. Mark the planted area: To remember where you have planted the oxalis bulbs, mark the area with plant stakes or tags. This will help prevent accidental disturbances when undertaking other gardening activities.

Watering And Fertilizing Oxalis Bulbs

Once the oxalis bulbs have been planted, it is essential to provide them with adequate water and nutrients to support their growth and blooming. Here are some guidelines for watering and fertilizing oxalis bulbs:

  1. Watering: Oxalis bulbs require regular watering, especially during dry periods. However, it is crucial to strike a balance and avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. Water the plants deeply once a week or whenever the top inch of soil feels dry. Ensure that the water penetrates the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches to encourage deep root growth.

  2. Mulching: Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the oxalis plants can help conserve moisture and suppress weed growth. Use materials like wood chips, straw, or shredded leaves as mulch. Apply a layer about 2-3 inches thick, taking care not to cover the bulbs themselves.

  3. Fertilizing: Oxalis bulbs benefit from regular fertilization to promote healthy growth and abundant blooms. Before planting the bulbs, it is advisable to incorporate a slow-release organic fertilizer into the soil. This will provide a steady source of nutrients over time.

    Once the bulbs have sprouted, you can supplement their nutrient requirements by feeding them with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks throughout the growing season. Follow the package instructions for the appropriate dilution and application method.

  4. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers: While oxalis plants require a well-balanced diet of essential nutrients, it is important to avoid high nitrogen fertilizers. High nitrogen levels can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flower production. Look for a fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio that is more balanced, such as a 5-10-10 or 10-10-10.

Mulching Your Oxalis Bulb Garden

Mulching your oxalis bulb garden offers several benefits for plant health and maintenance. It helps retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, regulate soil temperature, and improve overall soil quality. Here’s how to mulch your oxalis bulb garden effectively:

  1. Timing: Apply mulch in early spring, after the soil has warmed up, and the bulbs have begun to sprout. This will provide an extra layer of protection for the young shoots and help conserve moisture during the growing season.

  2. Prepare the area: Before applying mulch, remove any weeds or debris from the garden bed. Ensure that the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Mulching on wet soil can lead to excessive moisture retention, promoting fungal diseases.

  3. Choose the right mulch: Organic mulch, such as wood chips, straw, or shredded leaves, is ideal for mulching oxalis bulbs. These types of mulch gradually break down, adding organic matter to the soil and improving its structure.

  4. Mulch depth: Apply a layer of mulch about 2-3 inches thick, taking care not to cover the bulbs themselves. Mulching too close to the bulbs can lead to rotting and hinder their growth. Leave a small gap around the base of each plant to allow air circulation.

  5. Mulch maintenance: Regularly check the mulch layer to ensure it remains intact and hasn’t washed away due to heavy rains or strong winds. If necessary, apply additional mulch to maintain the desired depth.

Planting oxalis bulbs can be a rewarding experience, as these delicate plants add vibrant color and beauty to any garden. By choosing the right season, preparing the soil properly, and providing adequate water and nutrients, you can ensure the successful growth and blooming of your oxalis bulbs. Remember to mulch your garden to conserve moisture and suppress weeds, and enjoy the sight of these lovely plants gracing your outdoor space.

Planting Oxalis Bulbs

Oxalis bulbs are a popular choice for gardeners due to their vibrant and colorful blooms. These bulbs, also known as shamrocks or wood sorrels, are easy to plant and require minimal care. Whether you are a novice gardener or an experienced one, planting oxalis bulbs can add a burst of color to your garden beds, containers, or indoor spaces.

Choosing The Right Bulbs

When selecting oxalis bulbs, it’s essential to choose healthy bulbs that are firm and free of any signs of decay or damage. The bulbs should be large and plump, as this indicates that they are mature and have a higher chance of successful establishment.

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Selecting The Planting Location

Oxalis bulbs thrive in partial shade to full sun, depending on the specific variety. It’s crucial to choose a location that offers the right amount of sunlight for the type of oxalis you are planting. Ensure that the soil in the chosen area is well-draining, as oxalis bulbs are prone to rot if the soil becomes waterlogged.

Preparing The Soil

Before planting oxalis bulbs, it’s recommended to prepare the soil to enhance their growth and development. Start by removing any weeds or grass from the planting area. Loosen the soil using a garden fork or tiller to a depth of 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm). This process will help create a loose and aerated soil structure, which is crucial for bulb development.

Planting Depth And Spacing

Oxalis bulbs should be planted approximately 2 to 3 inches (5-7.5 cm) deep. Ensure that you space the bulbs at least 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) apart to provide enough room for the plants to spread. Keep in mind that different varieties of oxalis may require slightly different planting depths and spacing, so it’s advisable to refer to the specific instructions provided with the bulbs.

Planting Technique

To plant oxalis bulbs, dig a hole that is wide and deep enough to accommodate the bulb. Place the bulb in the hole with the pointed end up and the rounded end down. Gently backfill the hole with soil, ensuring that the bulb is covered with the recommended planting depth. Lightly tamp down the soil to remove any air pockets and stabilize the bulb.


After planting the bulbs, water the area thoroughly to help settle the soil and initiate bulb growth. Ensure that the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged during the growing season. Avoid overwatering, as it may lead to bulb rot. Keep an eye on rainfall levels and supplement with watering as needed to maintain adequate moisture.

Maintenance Of Oxalis Bulbs


Providing the right amount of water is crucial for maintaining healthy oxalis bulbs. During the growing season, water the plants consistently to keep the soil evenly moist. However, once the plants go dormant, reduce the watering frequency to prevent overwatering. Overwatering can cause the bulbs to rot and lead to the decline of the plants. It’s important to strike a balance and monitor the moisture levels regularly.


Oxalis bulbs do not require excessive fertilization. A balanced, slow-release fertilizer applied at the beginning of the growing season is usually sufficient to provide the necessary nutrients. Avoid overfertilization, as it can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of blooms. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the application rate and frequency of the fertilizer.


Mulching is beneficial for oxalis bulbs, as it helps conserve moisture and suppress weed growth. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, around the plants, but ensure that it does not touch the stems or bulb itself. The mulch will help regulate soil temperature, prevent moisture evaporation, and provide a protective layer during colder months.

Stake Support

Some varieties of oxalis can grow tall and may require support to prevent flopping or bending. Use stakes or bamboo sticks to provide support to the stems when they reach a significant height. Tie the stems gently to the stakes using soft twine or plant ties. This support will help maintain a more upright appearance and prevent damage to the plants.


Deadheading, or removing faded blooms, is beneficial for the overall health and appearance of the oxalis plant. As the flowers fade, use clean garden scissors or pruners to trim off the spent blooms just above the foliage. Deadheading promotes continuous blooming, prevents seed production, and directs the plant’s energy towards bulb development.

Winter Care

In colder regions, oxalis bulbs may not survive the winter if left outdoors. If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, it’s advisable to dig up the bulbs before the first frost. Carefully lift the bulbs from the ground using a garden fork or hand trowel, taking care not to damage the fragile bulbs. Shake off excess soil and allow the bulbs to dry for a few days in a cool, well-ventilated location. Once dry, store the bulbs in a cool, dry place such as an unheated basement or garage until the following spring.

Harvesting Oxalis Bulbs

Determining Harvest Time

The time to harvest oxalis bulbs depends on the specific variety you are growing and your intended use. If you are growing oxalis primarily for its decorative flowers, you may choose to leave the bulbs in the ground until the foliage dies back naturally. This allows the bulbs to store energy for the following year’s growth and flowering. On the other hand, if you are growing oxalis for culinary purposes, you can harvest the bulbs when they reach the desired size.

Harvesting Technique

To harvest oxalis bulbs, start by gently loosening the soil around the bulbs using a garden fork or hand trowel. Take care not to damage the bulbs during this process. Once the soil is loose, carefully lift the bulbs from the ground, keeping the foliage intact if possible. Shake off excess soil, but avoid washing the bulbs directly after harvest, as excessive moisture can promote rot. Instead, allow them to dry for a few days in a well-ventilated area.

Curing And Storage

After harvesting, it’s essential to cure the bulbs before storing them. Curing involves allowing them to dry further in a cool, dry location with good air circulation. This process helps toughen the outer layer of the bulbs and extends their storage life. Place the bulbs in a single layer on a tray or mesh surface, ensuring they are not touching. Allow them to cure for two to three weeks, periodically checking for any signs of decay or disease.

Once the bulbs are fully cured, store them in a cool, dry place with moderate humidity. Ideal storage conditions for oxalis bulbs include temperatures between 40-50°F (4-10°C) and a relative humidity of around 60%. You can store the bulbs in containers or mesh bags, ensuring good airflow to prevent molding. Regularly check the stored bulbs throughout the storage period and promptly remove any bulbs showing signs of decay to prevent the spread of disease.

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Control Of Pests And Diseases In Oxalis Bulbs

Common Pests

Although oxalis bulbs are relatively pest-resistant, they can occasionally attract pests. Here are some common pests that may affect oxalis plants:


Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects that can infest the foliage of oxalis plants, causing damage by sucking out the sap. To control aphids, you can use various methods, including handpicking, using a strong stream of water to dislodge them, or applying insecticidal soaps or neem oil. Repeat treatments may be necessary as aphids are known for their rapid reproductive abilities.

Slugs And Snails

Slugs and snails feed on the foliage and can cause significant damage to oxalis plants. To deter these pests, keep the garden area clean and remove any debris that can provide shelter. You can also use organic slug and snail baits or create barriers, such as copper tape or crushed eggshells, around vulnerable plants to prevent their entry.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny pests that can infest the leaves of oxalis, causing yellowing and stippling. To control spider mites, regularly spray the plants with a forceful stream of water to dislodge them, increase the humidity around the plants, or use insecticidal soap or a neem oil-based spray. Increasing plant vigor through proper watering and fertilization practices can also help prevent spider mite infestations.

Common Diseases

Oxalis bulbs are generally less prone to diseases, but certain conditions can lead to the development of fungal and bacterial infections. Here are some common diseases that may affect oxalis plants:

Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium wilt is a fungal disease that causes yellowing and wilting of the foliage. Infected plants may eventually collapse and die. To prevent the spread of fusarium wilt, remove and destroy infected plants immediately. Practice good sanitation by cleaning gardening tools and avoiding overhead watering, as the disease can spread through splashing water.

Rhizoctonia Root Rot

Rhizoctonia root rot is a fungal disease that affects the roots of oxalis plants. Infected plants may exhibit stunted growth, yellowing, or wilting foliage. To control rhizoctonia root rot, ensure proper soil drainage and avoid overwatering. Remove and destroy infected plants to prevent the spread of the disease. Applying a fungicide labeled for this specific disease may also help control the infection.

Bacterial Soft Rot

Bacterial soft rot is a bacterial disease that causes soft, watery decay in the bulbs and stems of oxalis plants. Infected bulbs may develop a foul smell and show signs of mushiness or discoloration. To prevent bacterial soft rot, avoid overwatering and provide proper ventilation around the plants. Remove and destroy any infected plants to prevent the spread of the bacteria.

Propagating Oxalis Bulbs

Oxalis bulbs can be easily propagated through several methods, including division, bulbils, and seeds. Here are the different propagation techniques you can use:


Division is the most common and straightforward method of propagating oxalis bulbs. As the plants mature and the bulbs multiply, they form clumps that can be divided and replanted. To divide oxalis bulbs, gently dig up the clump using a garden fork or hand trowel. Carefully separate the bulbs, ensuring that each division has adequate roots attached. Replant the divisions at the recommended spacing, following the same planting instructions provided earlier in this article.


Some species of oxalis produce small bulbils at the base of the plant or in the flower clusters. To propagate using bulbils, carefully separate them from the parent plant, taking care not to damage them. Plant the bulbils directly in the soil at a shallow depth, ensuring they have adequate moisture and light. With time and proper care, the bulbils will develop into fully mature plants.


Although less commonly used, oxalis can also be propagated from seeds. Collect the seeds from mature seed pods and sow them directly into a well-prepared seed-starting mix. Press the seeds gently into the soil surface without covering them, as they require light for germination. Keep the soil consistently moist and maintain a warm temperature of around 65-75°F (18-24°C). With patience, the seeds will germinate and develop into seedlings that can be transplanted into individual pots or outdoor locations.


Planting and caring for oxalis bulbs can be a rewarding experience, as these plants bring vibrant colors and a touch of elegance to any garden or indoor space. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully plant oxalis bulbs, maintain them properly, harvest bulbs for various purposes, control pests and diseases, and even propagate new plants. With their resilient nature and stunning blooms, oxalis bulbs are a delightful addition to any gardener’s collection.


What Is The Best Time To Plant Oxalis Bulbs?

The best time to plant oxalis bulbs is in the fall, between September and October, before the first frost of the season. This allows the bulbs to establish their root systems before going dormant in the winter.

How Should I Prepare The Soil Before Planting My Oxalis Bulbs?

Oxalis bulbs prefer well-draining soil, so it is important to amend heavy or clay-based soil with compost or organic matter before planting. The soil should also be loosened to a depth of 6-8 inches to allow for proper root growth.

How Deep Should I Plant My Oxalis Bulbs?

Oxalis bulbs should be planted 3-4 inches deep, with the pointed end facing up. Plant the bulbs with a spacing of 2-3 inches between each bulb to allow for proper airflow and prevent overcrowding.

Should I Fertilize My Oxalis Bulbs After Planting?

It is not necessary to fertilize oxalis bulbs immediately after planting. Wait until the plants have begun to sprout in the spring before applying a balanced fertilizer. Overfertilization can cause the bulbs to produce fewer flowers.

How Often Should I Water My Oxalis Bulbs?

Oxalis bulbs require moderate watering, about 1-2 inches per week, to keep the soil slightly moist. During periods of active growth in the spring and summer, the soil may need to be watered more frequently. However, be careful not to overwater as this can cause the bulbs to rot.