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October 17, 2006

The first bulbous Oxalis of the season


Oxalis zeekoviensis
Over the next month, the collection of Oxalis species that are native to South Africa and which grow from various tiny bulbs, will be reaching peak bloom in the cold greenhouse. OXALIA you may say! Theyare just weeds. Sure, some of the worlds most knoxous weeds are Oxalis, but it is a large family, and I assure you that the rare bulbous oxalis are not weedy, and perfect collectable for the cold greenhouse or medeteranian climate like southern California. Again, winter growers, they love moisture but require a hot dry dormant rest in the summer.

I am just plain addicted to these jewels, and don't understand why others don't grow them, although this may be due to thier scarcity, and that only one or two rare bulb company's carry them, on and off, and that they cannot be grown from seed.


If you cringe at the thought of Oxalis as a collectable, don't confuse these bulbous species with the weedy pests that make oxalis a dirty word. (I have that one too!) If only we codl e so lucky that these we're weedy. Some bulbs barely increase, while a couple bulbous species do increase enough that one can pot up a second pot.
generally, these South African bulb Oxalis are slow to increase since they rarely if ever can produce seed.

Oxalis lobata with finger for scale

Here is abother photo of an Oxalis lobata, a new speices for me this year. I wanted to show you how small it actually is in this shot. Not only is it brilliant in the sun, it has the nice habit of sending up it's blossoms before the foliage, and it is fragrant too.



Oxalis virginea

I recieved these bulbs last year and they increased nicely, something which is nice since I started with six bulbs last year, and they divided into about 15.

1 comment :

  1. Thank you Matt for showing some beautiful Oxalis. As you note there are many, many different species and some of the best remain very uncommon in the US. I think once people realize how extraordinary some of them are in foliage alone (mottling, pulvinus features, blood red undersides, etc.), combined with fall-winter flowering, they will begin to get more attention.

    One of my favorites is O. massoniana, like a tiny O. hirta but smothered in satiny orange flowers with yellow throats. Some of the more tropical, non-geophytic Oxalis are well worth growing and these might make good houseplants (see Logee's catalogue for a silver-dusted beauty; also O. rusciformis). Various shrubby/succulent species are also noteworthy.

    Just wanted to add two plants to the 'teal green flowers' list: jade vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) and Ecbollium viride. Very weird color(s).

    Looking forward to your future postings.

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