Rhizomatous oxalis experiences

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Sun, 08 Jun 2008 14:09:44 PDT
Until recently the only rhizomatous Oxalis growing in this garden was the
familiar Oxalis triangularis. Last fall I ordered plants offered under the
name Oxalis enneaphylla 'Rosea'; when they arrived, I was surprised to see
that rhizomes much like those of O. triangularis had been sent. 

The rhizomes were planted in a pot and the pot spent the winter in a cold
frame. When other plants in the same frame surged into growth with the
arrival of good growing weather, the Oxalis in the pot were not moved to

Eventually, a few tentative leaves pushed up. I was happy to see that they
looked very much like the leaves of Oxalis adenophylla: that confirmed the
identity for me. 

I don't think they are happy here. I think six rhizomes were planted. So
far, six leaves might have emerged. There have been no flowers.

If I want to grow this one, am I going to have to move to another state? 

The bulbous Oxalis are another story. Some at least of these have made
themselves very much at home here. 

Little Oxalis depressa, a south African, has started into growth; this one
does well here but it is not rhizomatous. 

The Mexican bulbous Oxalis thrive in our summer weather. Some new bulbs of
Oxalis lasiandra popped into bloom almost as fast as new corms of Crocus
speciosus will. Oxalis lasiandra and O. tetraphylla in its several forms
make handsome pot plants for patio decoration. I have others but if they
have names I don't know them. All of these bloom, and some have startlingly
bright colors, but they are most esteemed as foliage plants here. 

Oxalis purpurea 'Garnet'  and O. Ken Aslett seem to be having second
thoughts about life in Maryland. Neither bloomed during the 2007-2008
winter, and by now they are dormant again with no signs of life above
ground. Both of these grow in the ground of the cold frame, not in pots -
and they are free to wander, which they do.  

That's pretty much the Oxalis story here. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7, where I've spent part of the day escaping the heat sorting bulbs in the
My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/
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