Go plant shamrocks and get the luck of the Irish! Pots of gold, leprechauns and those lucky clovers are legendary. The shamrocks we know are actually wood sorrels in the Oxalis family that includes more than 300 species. The most common for household use are Oxalis acetosella and the good luck plant, Oxalis deppei, both flowering bulbs. They bloom small pink or white flowers during spring to mid-summer and contrast beautifully with the bright green leaves clustered in three. The true Irish shamrock, Trifolium dubium, is unfortunately hard to grow indoors.
Throughout Ireland, the shamrock is not just a plant, but a symbol of the Holy Trinity. It was St. Patrick, back in the days of the Druids, who taught the word of God through the example of the union in the shamrock’s three-in-one leaf. Plucking a leaf he showed skeptics the living example of the Holy Father, the Son and Holy Spirit through the three leaf clover in his hand. A four-leaf clover is the symbol of good luck in Irish culture. Legend has it it represents hope, faith, love and for luck, God added another leaf.
On the 17th of March, St. Patrick’s Day, the shamrock is worn in the hats of the Irish people to signify the mystery of the Holy Trinity, according to the 18th century botanist Caleb Threlkeld. Threlkeld acknowledges tradition has it that after mass on St. Patrick’s Day, the men are allowed to lift the usual fasting restrictions of Lent and head to the nearest tavern to feast and drink heavily in honor of St. Patrick, known as the “drowning of the shamrock.”
Hybrid shamrocks are grown and sold as house plants during early spring. Easy to care for, these plants do have a few requirements. They grow best in in cool temperatures and bright light, but no direct sunlight along with plenty of fresh air. Shamrocks need evenly moist soil when they are actively growing. And since they are bulbs, they require some time off to rest before shooting up more leaves.
LOTS OF LIGHT
They love lots of light. Place in the brightest window with no direct sunlight, best is one facing south. Or you can place under a a grow light for 12 hours.
They love cool temperatures under 75 degrees F with night temps between 50 and 65 degrees F.
Water shamrocks sparingly, just keeping the soil slightly damp. Allow to dry between watering, but do not let them get bone dry.
Shamrocks require feeding once every month during its growing period. This will add vigor and increase the number of blooms. A 10-10-10 general purpose water-soluble fertilizer is good. Mix 1 teaspoon to 1 gallon of water.
It needs to drain well and be evenly moist. Shamrocks do not like to be water logged. And in dry or drought conditions, they will go dormant. Add perlite to the potting soil for good drainage. They can be grown in acidic, neutral, or alkaline soil.
When the leaves die back during the summer, place in a cool, dark room with no water or fertilizer for two to three months. When new grow appears, bring the plant back into the sunlight and resume the proper care.
Pruning is really not necessary. Just cut off the stems as they die back and turn brown.