Top o’ the Morning! A Guide to Caring for Your Shamrock

One of the easiest-to-care-for plants I have in the garden window is the Shamrock (Oxalis).  My dad gave me the original plant over 20 years ago.  My shamrock is actually part of that original plant.

My garden window provides the perfect conditions for the Shamrock – she prefers a cooler location (between 50F and 75F) and indirect light.  Truly all she needs is water when she’s dry.  I pinch out the spent flowers at the base of the stem.  Simple care.

A few weeks ago, I was trying to make some room in the window for my first set of seedling pansies, and noticed my Shamrock was looking a bit scant.  I hadn’t repotted her in a few years, so I decided to take a look at her roots and see what she might be trying to tell me.

The Shamrock plant grows from small bulbs.  I knocked the soil away from the bulbs, kept the ones that were healthy (pink) and tossed the old dead ones.  I freshened the soil and dressed her roots in a new ceramic pot.

Shamrocks tend to like cramped living conditions, so I did not increase the size of the pot.  Add some water, replace her in the garden window.

shamrock

And look who decided to make a grand appearance – just in time for St. Patrick’s Day!

My garden window

A few years ago, I had a garden window installed in our family room.  It’s eastern exposure is less than ideal, as the morning sun is pretty intense there.  I applied a UV film, which really cut back on the scorching of the plants that were in the window, but it still gets too much direct light.

I’ve decided that my next winter garden project will be to get the right kind of plants in there that can thrive.  I want that window to be a showcase in the family room, not just a toss off pile of former dish gardens!

Garden Window - Before

The window currently contains a mother-in-law’s tongue (that is actually doing very well there), an African violet (that truly does not belong there), a shamrock plant that struggles, numerous peace lilies, a hanging spider plant, a Christmas cactus that refuses to bloom, and a cyclamen that looks like it’s on its last leg.  I’m sure these plants would do so much better in indirect light.

So I’m wondering if it’s possible to create more shade in that window.  I need to find some sort of plant that loves direct light and can grow tall enough to produce an umbrella affect for the tender plants it will protect.  I’m thinking of a vining plant, preferably a flowering one.  Maybe a clematis?  Never thought of trying one indoors.  Hmmm.  Any suggestions?

Another problem in that window (especially in the winter), is the temperature.  The windows aren’t drafty, but it still gets pretty chilly in there.  I think the nature of the window, jutting out from the room into the outdoors, is just going to be chilly.  And now I’m thinking I should probably get some heating pads in there.  And a tray of pebbles with water for moisture wouldn’t hurt either!

OK – I’ve got some homework to do!