Oxalis triangularis cultivation and care guide

This is an indoor plant to say the least, because of its color and shape. It is not difficult to imagine some of the common names of this plant given the shape of its leaves. It is called clover (misnamed) or butterfly plant, a very successful common name by the way.

Its purple color and its pale green almost white stems make it an unusual indoor plant. Let’s see how to care for Oxalis triangularis.


Looking at a couple of images of this plant we immediately realize the rarity of the shape of its leaves and its color. It is of Brazilian origin and we might think that it comes from tropical environments. Brazil is very large and contains many climatic zones and specifically Oxalis triangularis is not a plant that supports too high temperatures as we will see later.

One of the most curious things about this plant is its response to light stimuli . Depending on the light intensity it receives, the 3 segments of the sheet are folded or extended. It is a variation that can occur daily when the light conditions change from day to night.

By capturing photo sequences for many hours (known as time-lapse mode), you can easily see how the leaves react to light. Here we leave you a spectacular example in which they really look like butterflies folding their wings. Worth.





As mentioned before, it is a plant that does not support too hot temperatures (27-28ºC is its limit), but neither does frost, so the interiors of a house are sufficient thermal ranges. It is considered zone 11 on the hardiness scale. This means that its limit thermal range is between 4 and 11 ºC .

Specifically, 5 ºC is the minimum temperature that it can withstand without serious consequences.

It is a rhizomatous plant and in winter it is necessary to lower the ambient temperature to 10 ºC for winter rest . Keep it on a covered veranda or terrace where you think the temperature in winter can be between 5 and 15 ºC. Do not stop heating only per floor!

The lighting should be high but not directly. The semi-shade tolerates it well but where it develops best is with filtered light.


Oxalis triangularis needs regular watering throughout the year except winter. The most appropriate watering frequency reference is the one we give you in many other plants. Let the substrate dry slightly between waterings .

When the autumn ends, the waterings are completely interrupted. Now we will see why. Regarding the subscriber, it is advisable to apply a low nitrogen fertilizer once a month during the irrigation period.


The plant needs winter rest. Hence, irrigation is completely interrupted. It is necessary to let the plant wither completely and leave the rhizomes in the pot itself to rest during the winter at the aforementioned temperatures (5-15 ºC).

When spring begins, they should be transplanted and waterings resumed until it sprouts again.

The multiplication is done by division of rhizomes in early spring. So at the moment when it is going to be transplanted, it is the most suitable moment to perform this operation.

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