Gardening

How to plant oxalis

There are hundreds of species in the genus Oxalis , plants better known as false clovers or simply as clovers (the real clovers are plants of the genus Trifolium ). Many of these plants can be consumed or used for medicinal purposes. Its leaves have a pleasant and refreshing acid flavor, and can be eaten raw or cooked, although they should not be consumed in large quantities, as they contain a high concentration of oxalic acid (the name oxalic acid derives from the name of the genus of these plants). The entire plant can be eaten, including flowers and, in some species, bulbs or bulbils, which can be eaten raw or cooked. Many species of oxalis are also grown as ornamental plants.

Some of the species:

Oxalis acetosella – Common plant in Europe and parts of Asia, its flowers are usually white with fine pink stripes, but specimens with violet or red flowers can be found. It can reach about 10 cm in height, being a perennial plant even in regions of severe winter, where it sprouts in the spring. Its leaves and flowers close at dusk or when it rains.

Oxalis articulata – plant native to southeastern South America, can reach up to 20 cm in height and its flowers are pink.

Oxalis oregana – plant native to the west coast of North America, can reach up to 20 cm in height, its flowers may be white or pink and its leaves are whitish around the main veins. The leaves close in response to bright light.

Oxalis tetraphylla or Oxalis deppei – plant native to Mexico, is often called the lucky clover or four-leaf clover, as its leaves are divided into four parts (leaflets), but it is not a real clover. Its flowers are red and the plant produces bulbs or bulbils that can be used to propagate it or can be eaten cooked.

Oxalis triangularis – plant native to Brazil, can reach up to 20 cm in height and its flowers are white or pink. The leaves and flowers close at night or when it rains, opening again when the light becomes intense again. This plant produces bulbs that can be used to propagate it or can be eaten raw or cooked.

Oxalis violacea – plant native to North America, can reach up to 30 cm in height, its flowers are violet or pink. It also produces bulbs that can be used to propagate the plant or can be eaten raw or cooked.

Climate

Most species prefer a subtropical or tropical climate, but there are oxalis species growing in various climatic conditions, with some species having spread and are currently found growing spontaneously in various regions of the world.

Brightness

The ideal light conditions vary widely from species to species. Some species need or prefer to grow with some shade, without direct sunlight. Other species need direct sunlight for at least a few hours daily. Of the species mentioned above, only Oxalis tetraphylla requires direct sunlight for cultivation.

Ground

Cultivate preferably in light, well-drained soil and rich in organic matter.

Irrigation

Irrigate to keep the soil moist, but not soaked.

Planting

Although they can be grown from seeds, it is generally easier to divide well-developed plants or, if available, to plant bulbs or bulbils.

Often these plants grow spontaneously in vegetable gardens, plantations, orchards, gardens and even in pots, making it unnecessary to plant them.

Cultivation

Remove invasive plants that are competing for resources and nutrients.

Several species of the Oxalis genus are invasive plants, so great care is needed when introducing these plants, as once established they can be very difficult to eradicate from the site.

Harvest

Leaves and flowers can be harvested when necessary, as long as the plants are well developed.

Plants that have bulbs and are being uprooted may have these harvested for consumption.

The collection of uncultivated plants must be done with discretion, as plants that grow spontaneously in gardens and plantations may have been sprayed with herbicides and pesticides, thus being unsuitable for consumption.

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