Let it grow: Come, spring, come! Come, spring, come!

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 7, 2006

So, we&8217;ve survived Groundhog Day. Now it&8217;s time to focus on things that are St. Patrick&8217;s Day-oriented.

Green stuff. Green&8217;s my favorite color.

How about the shamrock (Oxalis regnellii)?

I grow three different types. The classic green, the purple or bronze and the iron cross which is sort of a combo of both colors.

The green and the purple have bulb-like pips (as author, Barbara Pleasant describes them).

They actually look like small shrimps prepared in the ceviche (seviche) way.

However, the iron cross grows from a bulb much like a crocus. I have even (embarrassingly) mistaken the bulbs for crocus.

The plants are easy to grow as long as you pay attention to their needs. I say that these plants require 50 percent neglect.

With proper care, you can easily keep shamrocks as houseplants.

I like to grow them in my garden as a pleasant early accent. But, if you want them by Saint Patty&8217;s Day, you should plant them now.

Any good quality potting medium will suffice.

To avoid overcrowding, divide your plants as necessary. Always remove waning or dead stems and leaves.

They will only attract pathogens and other pests to your plants.

Speaking of pests … watch out for those pesky spider mites.

Like indoor ivys, they will jump on your shamrocks and attack your other houseplants while you aren&8217;t watching.

Make sure to not over-water your oxalis.

You should, however, watch the watering to prevent complete drying out.

Example: When you allow a Spathiphylum to dry out, it lays all over the pot.

If an Oxalis lays all over the pot, those stems won&8217;t recover and pop up. Watch the water