Oxalis adenophylla

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:21:53 PST
Jim McKenney asked

>Are any of you growing Oxalis adenophylla successfully as a garden plant?
>The other day i was reading an early twentieth century source in 
>which comments from the Tubergen company about the culture of this 
>plant were given: keep it dry during the winter or dig it and store it.

Oxalis adenophylla in nature, in the southern Andes, grows in scree 
situations where it has some winter snow cover. I usually have seen 
it in low-lying areas such as near the bottom of a slope, where the 
snow probably lies a little later and there is more moisture in 
spring. It dries out during the summer to some extent, but tolerates 
some summer moisture. I have always grown it outdoors in western 
Oregon in sites that are raised and well drained but not otherwise 
specially prepared, such as between the stones of a dry-laid 
retaining wall. I never lifted them.

There would seem to be no reason to lift and store it in winter, and 
because of the nature of the storage organ (I'm not sure whether it 
is considered a rhizome or a caudex), this would seem more likely to 
harm it. Dutch growers often handle "bulbs" very differently from 
what the gardener is prepared to do, since they have specialized 
facilities for storing dormant plants.

Its failure in Jim's Atlantic coastal garden could result from 
various causes, including purchased stock in poor condition, poor 
drainage, and (especially) summer heat. He could try putting it in a 
raised bed with a deep stone (not limestone) mulch to help keep its 
root run cool.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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