Purple oxalis, Oxalis triangularis ‘Atropurpurea’: plant, cultivate, multiply

The purple oxalis is an excellent little houseplant, since it is particularly tolerant and very colorful. She also likes outdoors, if only during the summer months.

Oxalis triangularis ‘atropurpurea’, Triangular Oxalis purple foliage


Scientific N. Oxalis triangularis ssp papilionaris ‘Atropurpurea’

Synonyms Oxalis regnellii ‘Brazilian Butterfly’

Family Oxalidaces

Origin South America

Flowering may september

Flowers very pale pink white

Typehouseplant, mediterranean plant, cold greenhouse plant, bulb plant


Foliage obsolete or persistent depending on the culture conditions


Plant and cultivate

Hardiness somewhat rustic, to -6C

Exposition partial shade light shade


Acidity slightly alkaline neutral

Humidity draining, wet or dry depending on the season

Useinterior, vranda, jardin

Plantationspring t

Multiplicationsemis, division

Oxalis triangularis 'atropurpurea', Oxalis triangularires

Purple oxalis, Oxalis triangularis ssp papillionaceae “Atropurpurea” is a small plant lively, known as bulbous, belonging to the family Oxalidae. Oxalis triangularis grows in humid areas, marshes or river banks in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.

Description d’Oxalis triangularis

Oxalis triangularis has reserve organs:

  • on the one hand rhizomes (underground stems) half a centimeter thick and 2 to 10 cm long, greenish. It is these rhizomes that persist when the triangular oxalis comes to rest.
  • on the other hand, during the vegetative period, Oxalis triangularis develops roots which thicken into tubers a few centimeters thick.

The leaves develop in a rosette from the rhizome. They are long stalked, so that all the leaves reach the same height to form a ball of foliage; the limbus is made up of 3 large triangular petioles, often marked with a paler crescent spot. These petioles fold up more or less depending on the time of day or the temperature in order to limit evapotranspiration or to avoid burns, heavy rains, etc.

The sub-species papilionacea is characterized by wider leaves that ssp. triangularis, and ‘Atropurpurea’ shows the dark purple petioles, marbled lighter pink, it is the false clover or purple oxalis, the most popular form in culture.

The flowers of the oxalis rise in a small umbel a few inches above the foliage. They are pretty white trumpet flowers or sometimes very slightly pinkish. They usually do not produce seeds because purple oxalis is not self-pollinating, and is reproduced most often vegetatively.

Other varieties :

  • Oxalis triangularis ssp triangularis, has smaller green leaves, note that this variety is considered more rustic.
  • Oxalis triangularis ‘Irish Mist’, shows green leaves irregularly spotted with gray.

How to grow purple oxalis?

In his country of origin Oxalis triangularis se with resting during dry seasons, but in cultivation, if it is neither too dry nor too cold, the purple oxalis can live in leaves for several years in a row, and this is what happens when grown as a houseplant .

As a houseplant, it is very easy to maintain in a bright room, but not excessively heated in winter. It requires a draining soil, a little sandy and a large pot to contain all its reserve organs. It is watered regularly, leaving the soil to dry partly between each watering. An oversight and a small transient drought? It loses its foliage and goes to rest. We will then take advantage of this moment for the repot or divide it.

Outdoors it is considered hardy in a mild oceanic climate or Mediterranean climate, but only if the soil is sufficiently draining : either sandy, or between the roots of trees. Purple oxalis goes to rest when it is cold, but starts again in the spring if it has not frozen. However, you can everywhere else by treating it like a summer bulb; that is to say, put it outside in the spring, then return it frost-free in a pot for the winter. In the garden, it will be installed in a shaded situation.

How to multiply purple oxalis?

The easily reproduced by rhizome cutting, which it is preferable to do during a vegetative rest.

Species and varieties of Oxalis

Over 500 species

  • Oxalis megalorrhiza, l’oxalis bonsaï
  • Oxalis deppei, the false 4-leaf clover
  • Oxalis crenata, oka from Peru
  • Oxalis laciniata, bluish flowers and laciniated leaves
  • Oxalis acetosella, the delicate wood oxalis, native
  • Oxalis obtusa, a little gem of culture
  • Oxalis corniculata, a weed plant
Plants of the same genus

Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by www.aujardin.info.

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