How to Grow Shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day
Growing Shamrocks isn't All It's Cracked Up to Be!
Shamrocks, sometimes also referred to as "clover", aren't always easy to grow in the home. A quick scan of Amazon's product reviews for Shamrock seeds will show that many people become frustrated when their seeds won't grow the way they expect them to, even when they follow the instructions on the packaging.
Surely growing house plants should be a pleasure and not a hassle! The purpose of this guide is to help you to grow your shamrocks and to get the best results, including instructing you in which shamrocks you should purchase in order to ensure the highest likelihood that your plants will actually "take" and grow the way that you want them to.
Be prepared for a little bit of a struggle, depending on the type of shamrock you choose to plant. Alternatively, this page provides you with opportunities to purchase shamrock plants so that you won't have to fight as hard with making your plants grow!
Tip: It's Easier to Buy a Plant and Cultivate it than it is to Plant Your Shamrocks
While I will do my best, in this guide, to help you to cultivate your shamrocks from planting (seed or bulb) to growth, I cannot make any guarantees that you'll get good results. Shamrocks can be particularly difficult, and most species aren't suited to indoor growth. If you're looking to put seeds or bulbs into a pot and grow them, I'll tell you how to do that, but you'll find it a good deal more difficult.
For easiest and best results, purchase a plant like the one below (on Amazon) and follow the instructions further down this page for how to take care of your shamrock plant once it's growing.
What is a Shamrock?
Shamrocks are a type of wood sorrel, belonging to the Oxalis genus. Oxalis is the largest genus in this family, with over 300 different species of plants.
Some people, when differentiating between clovers and shamrocks, have attempted to say that shamrocks always have three leaves, while clovers may have four. This isn't necessarily the truth, as some species of wood sorrel have four leaves to their plants. The three-leaved version was used by St. Patrick of Ireland to illustrate the holy trinity to the celtic pagans of Ireland.
Which of these types of shamrocks do you prefer?
Planting Shamrocks from Seed or From Tubers: Which is Better?
Tubers are generally hardier and are easier to grow. However, the key here is that you're going to produce two different plants depending on whether you choose to grow from seeds or from tubers. The seeds you'll be planting will produce shamrocks similar to the clover that you'll see in your yard during the summer months -- the clover you'll most likely be removing! What you despise in your yard, however, may be something you love in your home, a little bit of Irish brought indoors. If you opt for tubers, you will be producing a plant with triangular leaves and yellow or white flowers (as depicted in the first image on this page).
If you want to grow shamrock seeds, do not be discouraged! I've recommended a product with a very high rating and solid instructions for growth. This product should grow if handled properly and according to the instructions. The company has a whole website to help you if you get lost, and the product itself is officially Irish.
For those looking to grow from seed, buy this product!
How to Plant Shamrock Seeds
This is where you're likely to make or break your shamrock experience. Do follow all of the instructions on your seed packet carefully, but also make sure to do some additional research into how to plant shamrock seeds, as some instructions suggest soaking the soil, and this will kill your seeds!
If you follow these instructions, your shamrock seeds should germinate.
- Cool your seed packets in the refrigerator at least overnight, but preferably for 24 hours.
- Fill a pot (one with drainage holes is preferred!) with a high quality potting soil and dampen the soil. This is perhaps best accomplished by allowing a pot with drainage holes to wick moisture from a bowl of lukewarm water.
- Sprinkle seeds onto the surface of the soil and then press them gently into the soil. You don't want to cover them completely with soil.
- Place the pot in a warm place with indirect sunlight. Do not place your pot in direct sunlight!
Seeds should germinate and sprout within two weeks of planting, but may take up to two months depending on the time of year and the climate.
Don't over-water your shamrocks! They want to be moist, not wet. Misting should do the trick, but check to make sure that the soil is consistently damp.
Caring for Your Clover Plant Indoors
Once your clover have germinated and sprouted, their care is relatively simple. You want to do what you can to imitate the climate in Ireland, where these particular clover are most common. This means you'll want to start by providing them a spot to grow in where the temperature is warm (but not hot!) and where they receive indirect sunlight. Too bright and you'll kill your shamrocks!
Additionally, you'll want to mist, rather than watering, your shamrocks, as this will simulate the rain that they would get in the wilds of Ireland.
Growing Shamrocks from Bulbs
The easiest way to grow a shamrock plant is to purchase a plant which has already been developed. These plants come from bulbs, and are available on Amazon or at Garden Shows. The rhizomes may be purchased online and can be planted (a few inches deep in the pot and planted either horizontally or vertically to the root. This should be done in the late winter.
If you think your shamrock has died, it's only dormant! Prune it back as described in the video and give it a couple of weeks to come back to you!
© 2014 Becki Rizzuti