The Oxalis triangularis, also called little kamala, purple clovers or butterfly plant, this last name is particularly suitable, as it is a plant of unique beauty that is especially striking when it is kept in optimal conditions. However, it is a somewhat delicate plant in terms of climate and it is not always easy to take care of it, especially if its needs are not known.
In this Green Ecologist article we tell you everything you need to know about the Oxalis triangularis plant care so that your plant always looks healthy, strong and beautiful. Join us to learn more about the butterfly plant!
East false clover It has its origin in Brazil, particularly in cool areas of this huge South American country. It is a rhizomatous plant and its commonly called bulbs keep the underground part of the plant alive in the cold months, allowing the aerial part to dry out to sprout again when conditions are optimal again.
They are small in size, usually growing up to 20 cm in height, and their most striking and identifying characteristic are their pretty purple leaves, with stems so pale green that they appear almost white. These sheets they look like butterflies resting when they are folded, but they have the ability to open or fold according to the amount of light that reaches them, making this change in just a few hours, in order to adapt better and not receive more or less light than they need. Their pink or white flowers They are small and hanging in shape, and although they are pretty, they do not usually stand out more than the leaves.
Although the plant is not dangerous to contact, planted in very large quantities it could be harmful to very young children. In the same way, if you have pets at home, try not to eat it or touch it too much, as it could be toxic to them.
One of the most important things when growing this plant is the climate it needs. Since it comes from cool areas of Brazil, where the thermal variation is small, it is a species that does not tolerate extreme temperatures, neither heat nor cold, and will react quite badly to any case of very high or very low temperatures. Thus, the ideal is to always keep it between 10 ºC and 28 ºC, being able to withstand slightly higher or lower temperatures, but always on time. In winter, it will come to tolerate limit temperatures of 5 ° C, but lower exposures will most likely kill it.
With this in mind, it is normal for him to tend to cultivate as potted houseplant, where it is much easier to control the environment to which we expose it. If the climate is according to your needs, it is also common to grow it as potted outdoor plant, since planted in the ground it can act as invasive plant.
In summer it can be taken out to terraces if the temperature is cool, in the same way that in winter it can also be done if it is mild winters in which it does not drop below 5 ºC. In this way, the plant will go into vegetative rest and rest, to re-sprout in spring with the recovered energy. If you have your butterfly plant indoors and cannot give it vegetative rest, the plant is likely to weaken, although you can try to compensate with a small extra supply of fertilizer.
Purple clover does well in semi-shade conditions or in direct sun if it is not very intense, although ideally it should receive a lots of light, always sifted by some fine curtain or something similar. If it does not have enough light, the oxalis will have fewer leaves and its stems will be thinner, so it will be weaker and it will be easier for it to die from other deficiencies or from diseases or pests.
Except in its period of vegetative rest, like all plants that do, the butterfly plant needs a regular watering throughout the year.
The ideal frequency is given by letting the upper layer of the substrate dry between waterings, so that the plant does not become thirsty but also does not get flooded due to excessive watering, which would rot its rhizomes. In the cold months, starting in the autumn, irrigation is completely suspended until spring, if rainwater falls, although it is necessary to avoid being too much.
Oxalis is not demanding in terms of its substrate, being the only thing necessary that it has a good drainage. You can use a universal mix with equal parts peat, coconut fiber and worm humus, to which then add vermiculite and perlite. This substrate is light, has ideal drainage and water retention properties, and is also very rich in nutrients and beneficial microorganisms for plants, so your Oxialis triangularis will develop perfectly.
Regarding the fertilizer, it is enough to provide a little fertilizer monthly during the warm months, or a little organic matter like compost or worm castings.
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