Both Oxalis species apart from having beautiful leaves and extremely charming flowers (Oxalis deppei produces coral pink blossoms and Oxalis triangularis has chosen light lavender blue ones) are very easy to grow. Iron Cross produces little bulbs, Love Plant scaly rhizomes. You can buy them in every good garden centre or online. And the time is now. In March or early April the bulbs and rhizomes should be planted in pots filled with good garden compost. They do not have any special requirements as long as the containers they are grown in have a drainage hole at the bottom. The delicate roots do not like to be soaked in water.
We cover the bulbs (rhizomes) with a 2-3 cm (1 in) layer of moist soil and keep the pots in a warm and well lit place. When the first leaves appear we should not let the compost become dry nor should we water it excessively. Moderation is the key to success. Soon the flowers are born and the plants continue their abundant blooming until early fall. After the last May frost we can keep the plants outdoors.
Oxalis flourishes in light but not too strong. At summer time its ornamental leaves require some shading on very hot and sunny days. It is a good idea to feed the fast growing and laboriously flowering plants with a standard fertiliser every two or three weeks. The last application should occur in the first week of August as the underground bulbs or rhizomes need to prepare for dormancy. The first sings of it are visible when the leaves turn yellow and orange and fewer and fewer flowers appear. Seeing that we should stop watering and put the pots in a cool place just before the first autumn frost. There they are going to wait for the following spring.
In the European forests we can easily find Oxalis acetosella - common wood sorrel, with three-segment leaves and charming white little flowers appearing in May. Its leaves and flowers - as well as the leaves of the heroes of today's post - are edible. Yes they are. But I do not recommend that you eat them as the luck they are supposed to bring can be lost in the process of digestion. Too much of any Oxalis leaves can actually result in indigestion, so do not risk your luck and well-being.
There is yet another species of the same genus, Oxalis stricta, which was brought to Europe from Northern America and this one does not bring any luck, I am sorry. Just the opposite is true for upon arriving it started to misbehave on the Old Continent and has become a nasty weed everywhere, and alas, this time nasty has nothing to do with the photonasty.