How to plant oxalis bulbs

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With their shamrock-style leaves and delicate blooms, oxalis plants offer indoor and outdoor style to all gardens. Leaves react to the light, closing like delicate fans at night and on overcast days. Whether you're Irish or not, growing a shamrock or two does not require any luck and may bring you some instead. Plant oxalis bulbs properly to enjoy a full season of the renowned three-lobed leaves and intricate blossoms.

Choose a location with full sun. A low-lying area or raised bed works best. The best site provides full sun and consistently moist, but not waterlogged, soil.

Remove enough dirt to cover the area where the oxalis bulbs will be planted. Mix equal parts compost and peat moss and place in the garden bed. A raised bed makes the work of removing the dirt easier. Moisten the soil slightly and add more as required to fill the bed.

Plant oxalis after the last frost of spring. Dig holes 2.5 cm (1 inch) deep. Place the bulbs pointed side up. Bulbs can be spaced as close as 15 cm (6 inches) apart or farther, depending on the effect desired. Planting further apart will give more room for the plants to spread; closer planting makes for a large clumping effect.

Cover the bulbs and tap the soil down gently. Do not push down or compact the soil. Water thoroughly. Once shoots start to emerge from the ground, feed the shamrocks with a general plant fertiliser according to package directions.

Monitor daily the moisture needs of your oxalis plants. Provide enough water to keep the soil slightly moist. The addition of peat moss helps hold moisture. Optionally, add mulch once plants emerge to keep soil moisture from evaporating on sunny days.

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