Oxalis plants are notorious for taking the spotlight in gardens and hogging all the attention as houseplants. And while they’re great plants to have, grow, and care for, you might notice a few oxalis plants growing where you didn’t plant them. So, do oxalis plants multiply independently, or do you have gnomes in your garden?
Oxalis bulbs multiply on their own as long as you care for them correctly and keep them healthy. They form corms that can grow to become new oxalis plants after you plant them. However, some oxalis species may not multiply or require you to divide the bulbs if you want them to multiply.
The corms from oxalis plants look like little funny pine cones but can spread the same way seeds do–and they’re responsible for the random oxalis you have growing in a corner you didn’t plant. The rest of this article discusses how you can multiply oxalis plants, how to plant them, and the best practices you need to observe to keep them healthy. Let’s get into it.
How to Multiply Oxalis Bulbs
Most oxalis plants multiply independently without needing help, much like orange trees produce fruits and seeds. However, you might be interested in getting the oxalis bulb to multiply by yourself. Fortunately, it’s possible to do this, even if you have an oxalis species that does not multiply.
You can multiply oxalis bulbs by removing healthy corms from mature oxalis plants or dividing one bulb into several pieces. Afterward, plant the corms or bulb pieces as you normally would, and you’ll end up with new oxalis plants.
It typically takes 2 to 7 years for oxalis plants to mature and develop healthy corms. So, you’ll need to take out the corms when repotting the plant or transplanting and plant them afterward.
The latter part of this article discusses the correct way to grow oxalis plants from corms.
You’ll need a slightly different approach if you want to multiply your oxalis by dividing the bulb into several pieces. You can get a viable bulb and cut it into small pieces or take a bulb from an existing oxalis plant. An older, fully mature plant is best, so ensure you pick one that’s healthy.
Simply wait until the plant becomes dormant, remove the bulb from the soil, and cut it into equal and smaller pieces. You can plant these pieces as you would a whole bulb or corm, and you’re done.
However, ensure the plant is fully dormant before you remove the bulb, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of clearing the shoots. Remember to examine the bulb for damage so you don’t use a sick bulb. Damaged bulbs might not multiply and may spread pests and diseases in your garden.
Inducing dormancy is a great way to get the bulbs if you want to get the oxalis bulbs sooner. You can induce dormancy if you dry out the plant a little and expose it to temperatures lower than 60 °F (15.6 °C).
Transplanting your oxalis plants is also another way to multiply oxalis bulbs. All you need to do is move a mature plant from one part of the garden or pot to another and ensure you leave a corm behind. However, this method is not as efficient since you aren’t directly controlling where the corms will grow.
I recommend using healthy corms or bulb pieces if you want to multiply your oxalis. You can also wait for the bulbs to multiply on their own if you have a suitable species and you’re not in a hurry.
How to Plant Oxalis Bulbs
My favorite thing about oxalis plants is how they make such perfect houseplants thanks to their hardiness, moderate needs, bright leaves, and beautiful flowers. They’re also pretty easy to grow, although you’ll need to be careful with the bulbs so you don’t hurt the plant before it even has a chance.
So, how do you plant oxalis bulbs?
Planting Bulbs: Step-by-Step Guide
Here’s how to plant oxalis bulbs:
Choose an Ideal Location
Select a patch of land in your garden or get a suitable pot. You can use ceramic planter pots if you want to keep the oxalis as a houseplant. I recommend pots with drainage holes and saucers, which are perfect for oxalis as they do not like overwatering.
Get Compatible Soil
Next, get appropriate soil and make small holes for the oxalis bulbs. While sandy or loamy soil will do, you may also pick from other quickly draining alternatives. However, oxalis plants need lower pH soil to thrive, so ensure you choose one that’s somewhat acidic.
Add Liquid Fertilizer or Compost
Mix a bit of liquid fertilizer or compost in the soil so the oxalis bulb starts in good condition. You can skip this step, but ensure you use a high-quality liquid fertilizer.
Place the Bulb Into the Hole
Plant the oxalis bulbs in the hole with the broader end at the bottom. The hole should be about 2 inches (5 cm) deep so your oxalis plant thrives. Deeper holes might make it hard for the plant’s shoots to get to the surface.
Provide Adequate Spacing
Space the bulbs as much as possible so the pot doesn’t become overcrowded when the plants mature. Overcrowding can severely affect the quality and growth of oxalis plants, so I recommend at least 3 inches (7.6 cm) between bulbs. Additionally, you may utilize various pots for every bulb.
Cover the Bulbs
Cover the oxalis bulbs with soil and water. Add enough water to make the soil moist, but ensure you don’t overwater so as not to damage the bulbs. Oxalis bulbs, like oxalis plants, do not do well in soggy soil.
Provide Enough Sunlight
Move the pot to an area where it can get great early morning and late evening sunshine. Oxalis need light to grow from bulbs as much as they do when they grow foliage, but the mid-afternoon can damage them. So, I advise choosing a location with sufficient shade or a window that gets both morning and evening light.
Don’t Let the Soil Dry Out
Add more water as often as possible so the soil doesn’t dry out. You can use a moisture meter while watering so you don’t overwater or underwater the soil.
Wait for New Growth
Start caring for the plants immediately after you notice the first signs of new growth. Oxalis typically emerge after 6 weeks, but it’s not uncommon to have young shoots in 3 or 4 weeks. Ensure you check in on the oxalis bulbs as often as possible so it flourishes.
Considerations for Corms & Divided Bulbs
You can follow the same steps above if you’re planting corms or divided bulbs, but ensure you keep them safe and clean if you’re not growing them immediately. I recommend you use a net or regular paper bag to store them. Then, keep the bag in a box or drawer with some wood shaving so it doesn’t dehydrate.
The bulbs can last for up to 3 months in the bags if you store them correctly. However, some species might not make it for more than a few weeks.
I recommend you keep the storage area dry and at room temperature, so the bulbs and corms survive for as long as possible. Fortunately, it shouldn’t be challenging, thanks to the wood shavings. However, you can also use vermiculite or peat moss to keep the corm, divided, or whole bulbs in optimal conditions.
If you plant oxalis plants appropriately, they may thrive practically everywhere in the United States. They often flower in the spring, fall, and winter, producing lovely flowers that give your house more personality.
Remember to give them proper care so the plants will be bushy and lovely when completely grown.
You can check out this excellent article I wrote to know how to make your oxalis plants even more beautiful: How To Make An Oxalis Plant More Bushy
As long as you take proper care of them and maintain them healthy, oxalis bulbs multiply on their own. When you plant them, the corms they produce can develop into new oxalis plants without any external influence. And that’s why you’ll notice more oxalis plants than you started with after a few years.
You can also multiply oxalis bulbs by cutting the bulbs into even pieces or planting the corms, but you’ll need to follow a few steps to ensure you end up with healthy plants.