Candycane wood sorrel clover / Oxalis versicolorThis is a stunningly bright and unnaturally colourful clover which we love and use as an edging around our garden. It is uncommon and turns heads, so that a few in the neighborhood have started copying our use of the clover. The leaves of the Oxalis versicolor are different from other kinds of sorrel clover, too: instead of the typical shamrock shape, they look more like grass blades. Plants grow to about 5 inches tall. The flowers close on cloudy days so that the unopened white blooms with their red candy-cane stripes on the petals’ undersides, are especially decorative – giving rise to its common name Candycane Sorrel.
Source: 19th century periodical
We opted for an unusual clover for groundcover and lawn for our garden – O. versicolor. Its
It is a most adaptable plant which forms lovely mounds of clover-like leaves with 5-petaled flowers that open wide in the sun; non-invasive, excellent bedding and border plant as well as pot plant and an all season plant in greenhouse; sun to shade. It is a long blooming South African species found on flats and slopes in the northwest and southwest Cape.
It will bloom through winter to spring.
When to plant; how to plant:
Each stem originates from a separate bulb but additional bulbs will form during the growing period. It increases well and can easily become crowded in a pot. Plant in fast-draining soil in light shade or full sun. Divide and repot when dormant in mid-late summer. Oxalis need regular moisture but get leggy and less floriferous if soil is too soggy. You can put out bulbs now if you live in a mild climate or later in the fall when planting nursery grown seedlings. (Other attractive oxalis include O. hirta, with rose-pink blooms and grass-like foliage, and O. regnellii, grown more for its four-leaf-clover foliage than for its small red or white blooms. O. bowiei features clusters of pink blossoms on short stalks.) Where winters are cold, plant only in the spring.
The common name – candycane sorrel refers to the red and white stripes when the flower is closed. South Africa has over 200 species and 270 varieties of oxalis and Oxalis versicolor is the longest blooming and most hardy species.