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Need help sorting out clovers from shamrocks? You’re in luck

I’m looking over a four-leaf clover that I over looked before.

Most of us have heard the song by that name, which also happens to be its first line. But you’re in rare company if you’ve actually come across a four-leaf clover in the wild.

Your odds of finding one? One in 10,000, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. They’re so rare because they are an unusual mutation of a three-leaf clover.

Of course, we commonly associate the three-leaf clover with St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland. It’s also known as a shamrock, which comes from an Irish word that means “little clover.”

St. Patrick is said to have explained the holy trinity – father, son and holy spirit – by using a shamrock.

Here’s a way to keep things straight: All shamrocks are clovers, but not all clovers are shamrocks. That is, if a clover is a shamrock with three leaves, by definition it can’t have four leaves.

A shamrock is not associated with any specific clover species, of which there are hundreds. One of the plants that is called shamrock is oxalis, also known as wood sorrel or “love plant.” Royer’s obtains its oxalis plants from Canada.

Oxalis also is called a “false shamrock” because it’s not actually in the shamrock family but is better suited to the indoor environment than clover species are.

The oxalis plant is photophilic, meaning that its leaves and flowers close at night and open in the morning. Oxalis likes bright light, including full afternoon sun in the winter.

HOW TO LOVE YOUR LOVE PLANT (OXALIS)

  • Keep the soil barely damp, allowing it to dry slightly between waterings.
  • Cool temperatures are best, especially during blooming: 50 to 65 degrees at night, 70 to 75 degrees during day.
  • When the plant is actively growing in the winter/spring, feed it liquid fertilizer once per month. When it stops blooming, fertilize every other month until it goes dormant.
  • In the summer, oxalis will go dormant. When it starts to fade, stop watering and store the plant for two to three months in a cool, dark place. for a few weeks to three months. After this period, bring the plant back out and resume watering.
  • The plant can be repotted and/or divided, although it can remain in the same soil and pot for several years. To divide while the plant is dormant, look for small, bulb-like structures just below the soil surface. Gently pull these apart and pot in small groups.