How to Care for an Oxalis Iron Cross

Written by eulalia palomo
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Oxalis deppei "Iron Cross" originated in Mexico and South America. The plant grows 12 inches tall from perennial bulbous root stock. The oxalis leaf resembles a clover leaf with three heart-shaped leaflets. The name Iron Cross comes from the dark purple cross pattern in the centre of the leaves. The edible leaves and stalks provide a tangy taste for salads and soups. Dark pink oxalis flowers dress up desserts and summer salads. The warm climate oxalis variety grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 8 through 10.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Shovel
  • Fertiliser

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  1. 1

    Plant Iron Cross in a sunny spot. Most oxalis varieties prefer shade, but this one is an exception. Select an area where the soil drains well and has a light, loamy or sandy texture.

  2. 2

    Dig holes as deep and slightly wider than the root ball. Space the planting holes 6 to 12 inches apart.

  3. 3

    Push soil around the roots and pat down the soil gently with your hands. Apply water to the planting area to settle the roots and reduce transplant shock.

  4. 4

    Fertilise the plants once a month using a balanced fertiliser. The University of Oklahoma Department of Botany and Microbiology recommends diluting the fertiliser to half strength.

  5. 5

    Water Iron Cross when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil start to feel dry under your fingers. Soak the area to a depth of 4 to 6 inches, then allow the soil to dry out before you water again.

  6. 6

    Divide Iron Cross plants in the spring when new growth begins to appear. Dig up a section of a plant, and pull it or cut it into sections, each containing three or more growing shoots.

  7. 7

    Replant the divisions a new area in the garden or in pots. Use a mix of 2 parts peat to 1 part loam.

Tips and warnings

  • Oxalis "Iron Cross" grows poorly in wet, heavy clay soil and shade.

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