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Oxalis 'Iron cross'

I acquired a few bulbs of Oxalis 'Iron cross' from a garden center a few weeks ago and sort of laughed at myself for buying what is a weed for a lot of gardeners. But I wanted to add something new to my tender bulb collection and they seemed the right size for a small pot I had laying around.
  Oxalis Iron cross

One week after planting them the first flowers started to emerge while they sat in a sunny windowsill. From my readings on this bulb I've discovered that they can tolerate moisture but like it a dry and sunny summer. On one gardening website I came across a gardener said the bulbs were winter hardy in zone 5 but instead of planting them in the ground and risk loosing them I'll keep them potted up.

The leaves have yet to emerge but the burgundy center is what attracts gardeners to this plant. It grows to about 6-12 inches tall and 12-15 inches wide. Oxalis is propagated by division but I've been experimenting with pollinating the flowers and will see how successful I am at producing seeds.


  1. I plant a pot of this every summer and get so many comments on it! I love it.

  2. Hi Kylee,

    After having these bulbs and seeing the reaction they get I can totally understand why they get so much attention in the garden.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. misti7:16 PM

    Nice Oxalis! I'd love to grow some!

  4. Hi Misti thanks for stopping by. These I got from a big box store and you can probably find some.

  5. I grow the purple and green ones as houseplants and put them outdoors in the summer.

    My neighbor across the road has the same plant pictured here in a half barrel on her porch. She says its come back for 3 years now after winter and we're zone 4b. I'm shocked but I have no reason to think she's lying...

    I'm trying to grow these things indoors as houseplants. I tried last year but they didn't do well.

  6. Richard,

    It would be awesome if they survived in your area. Your houseplant ones probably would do better if you have them a bit of rest or maybe tried the "black" or green varieties you see around St. Patrick's Day.

  7. Anonymous5:55 AM

    Hello ererybody, you can harvest the Iron cross right now. Let them dry at +/- 15-17 degree celcius and after 2 weeks you can keep them at 5 degree celcius until planting this spring. Remove the water root before cooling the bulbs! Most interessting: plant in big pots and try different times so you have them flowering all summer long. For example; plant every month a new pot. Starting around 1 march. With kind regards a bulb grower from The Netherlands.

  8. Hello,
    I live in AK am getting married in mid September and would like to give guests each an iron cross oxalis as a wedding favor/gift which they can then keep as a house plant. Do you have any suggestions? How long before the wedding do I need to start them to have a nice little plant to give away?

  9. Bulb grower from the Netherlands, Thanks for the tip.

    Sue, I'd say about two weeks if you really warm weather. Congrats on the wedding.

  10. How weird that yours flowered before sending up any leaves. Mine had two or three leaves before sending up a flower spike.

  11. I have also purchased this plant, but it was already in full leaf mode, but no flowers. I is in plastic 4" pot and when I purchased it, it was very thick and mounded in the pot. My problem is that since I have had it inside (I plan to keep this as an indoor houseplant) it seems to have become VERY straggly looking. Do I prune it back? Will this thicken the plant up? My stems are at least 7" long with leaves at end. It has become very thin looking. Do I keep it in a clay or plastic pot? I have it in a south facing window or I can keep it in an east facing window. Can anyone help me out? Thanks so much!

  12. I have a purple oxalis plant that does very well in my east facing bathroom window , but I have been noticing something eating the edges of the leaves , can any one tell me how to solve this problem ? The edgesu have irregular bites taken out of them



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