Just the mention of Oxalis conjours up visions of invasive weed problems. Oxalis tetraphylla is different. For a start is has the attractive common names of the "Good Luck Plant' or "Lucky Clover. If they aren't good selling points, then read on for the description of this attractive foliage plant - which will neither invade garden or house.
The first thing it will give you is attractive foliage, and the elusive four-leaved clover for those who believe in such things. And why not?
The foliage of this particular variety have the deep purple markings resembling the 'Iron Cross'.
The Iron Cross Clover is a frost hardy perennial, which is clump forming from a tuberous root. It has the added attraction that it can be grown outdoors - as long as good cover for the winter cold - or even digging up and over-wintering the small tubers.
The plant: As a container-grown houseplants the Oxalis can make pretty foliage plants with their four clover-like leaves which can be pale green or golden with deep red markings. Small pinky-red-purple flowers are produced in spring. The outdoor perennial weed form of this Oxalis has tiny deep red leaves and produces small yellow flowers, not an unattractive plant but for its amazing capacity to spread and almost invincibility against most methods of removal or destruction!
Its needs: Although some Oxalis spp. are frost tolerant it is suggested that those grown as houseplants have a winter minimum above 7C , but avoid excessive heat. Provide a situation with good light but avoid direct sun.
Care: Water regularly through the growing season. Feeding should be with weak solution of gneral houseplant feed, which is necessary to build up the tuber for continuance.
Good for: The lime green foliage makes a bright cheerful show and the small flowers are a bonus. A very easy maintenance houseplant.
After flowering the Oxalis can be planted outside and generally restrains itself to its planted position. It may cause problems if planted outdoors - but only if allowed to spread. Not normally a problem. Very attractive as a rockery plant between light coloured rocks.
Sometimes affected with leaf rust, and if planted outside can be attractive for slugs and snails - especially as it forms a dense mound of foliage under which to hide.
This variety can be grown from seed, but if just a few plants are required, much easier to divide the tuberous root in early spring and plant up individual sections.