Oxalis is a plant with all the color and beauty of a flower but lasts much longer! This easy-to-care-for indoor and outdoor plant has leaves that range from green to dark purple. Their unique triangular shape resembles a shamrock. Its common name is “false shamrock.”
Part of this plant’s charm is its clusters of leaves, so it can be unsightly when those leaves begin to droop. Before you can fix this issue, you need to figure out what’s causing your Oxalis to be so unhappy.
Oxalis drooping can be caused by transplant shock from repotting, under or overwatering, improper lighting, or the plant entering dormancy, and each requires a different solution. To revive your drooping Oxalis, don’t damage roots while repotting, only water when the top 2 inches (5 cm) of soil are dry, place your plant near bright, indirect sunlight, and allow your plant to rest during its dormancy in the summer months.
Let’s take a closer look at these symptoms and get closer to reviving your Oxalis!
Why is My Purple Oxalis Drooping?
A droopy plant is letting you know that something is wrong. Oxalis are particularly prone to drooping because their stems are so thin and delicate. As long as the leaves are still healthy, it’s possible to revive a droopy Oxalis.
A drooping Oxalis is commonly due to one of these four reasons:
- Transplant shock from repotting
- Under or overwatering
- Improper lighting
- Oxalis is going dormant
We’ll explain why these events cause drooping and how you can make your plant perky again.
Why is My Oxalis Drooping After Repotting?
If you’ve recently repotted your healthy Oxalis and now see droopy leaves, the issue is likely transplant shock. Transplant shock happens when your plant is stressed due to improper handling during repotting or a sudden environmental change.
Sometimes during repotting, the roots become damaged. Damaged roots have trouble absorbing water and nutrients, which causes the plant to weaken. Always coax roots gently from the old pot when transplanting to avoid tearing and damaging them.
Repotting your plant also means giving it new soil. If this new soil has a different pH or consistency, the Oxalis roots can struggle to adapt. If your plant was healthy in the old soil medium, try to use the same type of soil when repotting to avoid stressing the plant.
And lastly, transplant shock can also occur if you repot your plant at the wrong time of year. Common advice says to repot plants in the spring when they have the energy to regrow.
However, Oxalis naturally grows in the winter and its growing season winds down in spring. So repotting in spring will stress and shock the plant. The best time to repot Oxalis is in the middle of its dormancy, which occurs in summer.
How Often Do You Water Oxalis?
It’s common for Oxalis planted outdoors in gardens to struggle with underwatering. Exposure to sun and wind outdoors can dry out the soil much faster than indoor plants. An underwatered Oxalis will droop, and the leaves will begin to turn crispy.
Unfortunately, overwatering can also cause the leaves to droop. If leaves are drooping and soft or mushy to the touch, your plant is stressed from too much water.
In general, you can water Oxalis plants once a week. Keep in mind that indoor Oxalis plants will be more shaded and, therefore, may need less water. Let the top 1-2 inches (2-5 cm) of soil dry out before you water your Oxalis.
Does Oxalis Need Sun or Shade?
Oxalis are generally easy to care for but are particular about their light. This plant is not tolerant to shade and will droop in the dark due to a response called nyctinasty.
Nyctinasty is a plant reaction to darkness and light. Oxalis has receptors that can tell when the quality of light is low, like at night or in the shade. These receptors send a message to the pulvini at the base of joints which causes them to release potassium ions and sugars. This makes the leaves droop.
Oxalis leaves droop at night, then perk up during the day. If shady conditions persist, the plant will droop indefinitely.
Keep in mind that Oxalis also cannot handle direct sunlight. The best lighting situation for an indoor Oxalis is an east-facing window with access to indirect light. If you’re planting Oxalis outdoors, ensure they are in an area with afternoon shade so they aren’t exposed to harsh sunlight.
When Do Oxalis Go Dormant?
Many first-time Oxalis owners don’t know that this plant regularly enters and exits dormancy. The first time you notice the leaves droop, you might fear that you’ve killed your plant. But your plant’s bulbs are resting, so the foliage can eventually regrow and bloom again.
Oxalis reach their peak blooming season in spring, so dormancy usually occurs in summer. Once the leaves droop and turn brown, stop watering the plant altogether. If you have a purple Oxalis, you can place the entire plant in a dark space for a month to keep the bulbs dormant. Other species of Oxalis may need 3-4 months of darkness before they’re ready to grow again.
Check on your dormant Oxalis periodically. When you see new growth appear, bring the plant back into the light and watch it grow!
Does Oxalis Like To Be Misted?
Unlike ferns which are fussy about humidity, Oxalis can thrive in almost any humidity level. Regular house humidity is perfect for Oxalis plants.
That being said, Oxalis likes moist soil and will benefit from regular misting. Try misting your plant 3-4 times a week to keep moisture levels satisfactory.
How Do You Make Oxalis Bushy?
A common issue with Oxalis plants is that the stems become leggy. Legginess is a term used to describe when the stems get longer, and the leaves grow further apart. This gives off a scrawny look that can make your plant appear unhealthy.
Legginess often happens when a plant doesn’t receive enough light. The stems grow longer to reach the light. The first step to solving this issue is to move your plant to a brighter spot in your home. You can then selectively prune the plant to eliminate the leggy growth and encourage new leaves to grow.
To prune, snip stems as close to the base of the plant as possible. Make sure you use clean, sanitized pruning shears to avoid transferring any potential bacteria.
Do Oxalis Triangularis Bulbs Multiply?
Oxalis is known as a voracious grower, and because of this is sometimes considered invasive outdoors. If you’re not careful, some species of Oxalis can take over your entire garden. This is because the bulbs, or corms as they’re called, multiply quickly!
If you want to propagate your Oxalis houseplant, the easiest way is to dig up the corms and divide them. You can then replant the corms in their own pots, and they’ll produce an entirely new plant.
How Do I Get My Oxalis to Bloom?
Oxalis triangularis typically bloom in fall, winter, and spring and go dormant in summer. When in bloom, this plant produces dainty light pink flowers complementing the deep purple foliage.
Oxalis blooms easily if it receives the correct light, temperature, and water. You can give your plant fertilizer to encourage more blooms. A regular balanced houseplant fertilizer is sufficient and should be applied during the plant’s growing seasons.
There’s no need to deadhead the blooms to encourage more growth, but you can trim the dead flowers away to make the plant look nicer.
A fun fact is that, like the leaves, the Oxalis blooms open and close depending on the lighting!
Adding the unique Oxalis plant can bring a little color and mystique into your home. Oxalis has basic watering and humidity needs, so it’s the perfect low-maintenance indoor or outdoor plant.
Oxalis leaves can droop for many different reasons, some good and some bad! Leaves may droop from the stress of repotting or over or underwatering. A lack of light will also cause leaves to droop due to a unique response called nyctinasty. But these plants will also naturally droop when their growing season is over. Drooping is a sign that your Oxalis will go dormant, which is normal and healthy.
To revive your drooping Oxalis, ensure you don’t damage roots while repotting, only water when the top 2 inches (5 cm) are dry, place your plant near bright, indirect sunlight, and allow your plant to rest during its dormancy in the summer months.