Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Sun, 06 Jul 2003 10:38:54 PDT
Dear Katy,

First welcome to the PBS list!

You will find a number of us here who are very fond of Oxalis in spite of 
its weedy tendencies. I have 3 species in bloom right now all courtesy of 
Uli in Germany (sent in the past when you could do that without a 

My experience with Oxalis has been that like many other bulbs I grow that 
some of them choose not to come up some years. When I dump the pots, they 
are there and look fine. I once asked about Moraeas, what are they doing 
down there and Rachel Saunders speculated, "absolutely nothing." Since then 
I have dumped pots out where there was no activity and found that quite 
often that was true. Other times however (not usually) bulbs had roots and 
were growing but never broke the surface. Could they be too deep? I don't 
know but remain curious. I am afraid I grow too many things to have kept 
track of what has happened to all of those who are sulking or waiting for 
conditions more to their liking. Some Oxalis that hasn't come up one year 
has the next, but others when examined closely have a hard shell that 
encloses nothing.

Do the acorn-like things in your soil look like what you brought back? 
Oxalis is very variable in the forms of its under ground storage organ. If 
this looks like the same thing you remember you could try to mimic its 
natural cycle. Lee Poulsen has plotted some rainfall graphs and I think 
there is at least one Mediterranean one here and the link to another source 
where you might find the islands:

It might come up in the fall as I'd assume it would be winter growing. It 
wouldn't hurt to try if it was something you really wanted.

Which ones do you grow successfully inside? I'd think a lot of the South 
African species wouldn't get enough light indoors. I know ones I donated to 
the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens where some large trees from adjacent 
properties are beginning to shade the area where the bulbs are displayed 
got very leggy. I am sure that many of our members would be interested in 
knowing what works.

I will be sharing more of my extras with the BX soon and people from colder 
climates could try them inside if it would work. One I have a whole lot of 
is Oxalis glabra that is blooming in Australia right now. Lyn Edwards just 
added her picture to the wiki:
One of the nice things about her picture is that you can see both leaves 
and flowers. So often getting both in focus is tricky and since the leaves 
are much more variable than the flowers it is nice to see both (and in one 

This one produces a lot of very tiny bulbs or are they corms? I think 
they'd be too tiny to slice through to find out. You'd think they wouldn't 
be big enough to bloom, but they do. We've concluded with as many offsets 
as it makes that growing it in a container is the way to go. They might be 
weedy in warm climates and wouldn't survive the cold in cold ones.

Mary Sue

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers

More information about the pbs mailing list