How to plant Oxalis bulbs in autumn

Oxalis (autumn)

The Oxalis candy cane varieties are half hardy, tolerating temperatures down to -5°C, so they may need some winter protection in colder areas. They need cool temperatures to sprout and flower at the correct time (autumn/winter) but do not want to be exposed to prolonged, freezing conditions. They should be potted and grown in a sunny, outdoor spot and can be moved under cover if needed. They can also grow in a cool greenhouse. Avoid bringing them indoors into the warm as this will cause them to die back.

— Oxalis varieties are fresh at the time they are supplied. Whilst they can be planted in spring or autumn, they should be planted in the season that they were supplied to you, whilst still fresh.

— The bulbs are naturally small. Plant them into pots with multipurpose compost between September and December. They start to grow in autumn, so they should be planted as soon as possible on arrival.

— Plant the bulbs 5-10cm deep into pots and position in a sunny, outdoor spot. Any shoots which have already emerged should be kept intact and facing upwards. If they are long enough they will be a little exposed, if not yet long enough the shoots should be below the soil surface when planting.

— It's best to plant them in pots in most areas, so they can be moved to a frost-free location in colder weather. If planting direct outdoors in a milder area, choose a sheltered position in full sun, with free-draining soil. Space the bulbs around 10-15cm apart from each other in borders or containers.

— Water-in after planting and continue to water regularly once you see the leaves appear or if the soil becomes very dry. Don't allow the bulbs to sit in wet conditions for long periods of time.

— During a cold snap below -5°C, move the pot with Oxalis versicolor to a sheltered but cool location. This can be a cool greenhouse or a covered area, such as a porch. Don't bring them indoors into the warm or they will start to become dormant and die back.

Plant calendar

  • Planting
  • Flowering

Gracy knows: Oxalis

"One for a mild, coastal, rockery or gravel garden, Oxalis versicolor loves to be in a free-draining, sandy or gritty soil and can tolerate temperatures down to around -5°C."

Planting instructions