Rhizomatous oxalis experiences

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Mon, 09 Jun 2008 15:55:13 PDT
I agree with Roger that the Patagonian and Falkland rhizomatous Oxalis 
species don't tolerate winter wet very well. My best results with them have 
been in a part of the bulb frame that gets occasional summer watering, and 
in plunged pots under a roof kept along with my small alpines. In nature 
I've seen them growing in very peaty, sandy soil near the edge of high 
banks and seaside cliffs. One thing I know about them is that they resent 
disturbance and have to be left alone for several years before they make a 
good show.

Oxalis adenophylla is an easy, permanent garden plant here in the 
Northwest. Mostly I have it in crevices in the rock garden. In nature it 
grows in scree, especially in low spots where I suppose the snow lies late, 
much like where one would see deciduous Lewisias in our part of the world, 
or Crocus sieberi in the Mediterranean. I wish we had the color variation 
in our garden stock that appears in nature! Many wild forms have much 
darker flowers.

I don't know how viable Oxalis seeds remain in storage, but it would 
certainly be worth our while to get more of the Andean species into 
cultivation. Rose-pink O. squamata, which is fibrous-rooted rather than 
having a storage organ, was a delight in my rock garden for some years but 
failed to return after one cold winter. It seeds readily and probably 
shouldn't be turned loose in a very warm garden. There is one called, I 
think, O. compacta, that is very tiny and fuzzy, at high elevations. And 
there are a number of attractive very small species in Chile's northern 
coastal desert areas, with rather succulent leaves.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

More information about the pbs mailing list