L’pink sorrel It is a ground cover plant cultivated for ornamental purposes in pots and especially in rock gardens.
General characteristics of the pink sorrel – Oxalis acetosella
The pink sorrel, scientific name Oxalis articulata or rhizomatous, is a perennial herbaceous plant of the Oxalidaceae family. In Italy it grows spontaneously in the humiferous and acid soils of uncultivated lands, along the paths and shaded slopes of the northern and central regions, from the plains to the mountains.
Oxalis acetosella is a herbaceous, perennial, evergreen plant with a scaly, bulbous – rhizomatous root with 15 cm long adventitious roots. In full vegetative development it forms thick cushions 30-35 cm high and 50 -60 cm wide, rich in bright green leaves which in areas with a mild climate can persist even the winter months.
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The leaves they are trefoil, divided into three heart-shaped leaves with slightly indented edges. They are carried on the apexes of long cylindrical, thin, reddish green petioles. The leaves of the pink sorrel fold and close in the evening and even during the day if the weather portends a thunderstorm.
THE flowers they are very decorative bells, with a 5-petalled corolla whose deep pink color contrasts with the yellow in the center. They self-pollinate and like leaves close after the sun sets.
THE fruits they are small elongated capsules containing very small seeds.
THE seeds, 1 0 2 per capsule, are immersed in a mucilaginous mass, and are pushed through a slit and projected at a distance.
Oxalis articulata or pink sorrel blooms from May to August, sometimes until October if the climate is mild.
Cultivation of the pink sorrel
Pink Shamrock like the common Clover is a plant that grows almost everywhere, without problems in sunny and semi-shaded places. It bears the heat but does not withstand the cold well.
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This spontaneous plant adapts to any type of soil, as long as it is well drained even if it prefers those with a medium texture, fresh and not very calcareous, with a pH that varies between 5 and 7.5.
Even if the plant resists well to long periods of drought, it must be irrigated in moderation especially in the summer months, paying attention to water stagnation that could cause death from root rot. When the plant enters vegetative rest, from November to February, watering must be suspended completely.
To favor the germination of the seeds and the growth of the seedlings, the cultivation soil must be enriched with nutrients with the administration of fertilizers poor in nitrogen (N).
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Pink sorrel: growing in pots
This herbaceous plant is also easy to grow in pots or long rectangular planters with well-drained specific soil. It will be sufficient to sow directly into the pot and keep the soil just moist until the seedlings appear. Afterwards, it is enough to wet the ground from time to time to enjoy a mini flowery meadow.
It is done at the end of winter when the roots come out of the drainage holes of the pot and the aerial part of the plant has no more space available.
Multiplication of pink sorrel – Oxalis
It is a plant that reproduces by seed and vegetatively can be easily propagated by dividing the tufts.
The sowing of the field clover is carried out in spring in regions characterized by a harsh winter climate, between September-October in those where the minimum temperatures do not drop below 4 ° C and all year round in those with mild winters.
The seeds, small and light, must first be mixed with sand or soil and spread over the well-worked soil, free of weeds and then covered with a light layer of soil kept moist.
The seeds germinate after only 2 days. After 48 hours from the ground sprouts composed of 2 lobes and 2 lobes, a third after 5-6 days and vigorous seedlings after 15 days.
Propagation by division of the tufts
New specimens identical to the original plant can be obtained by dividing the tufts. In spring, the pink sorrel plant is extracted from the ground and the healthy and vigorous lateral rhizomes are gently separated with the hands. The new tubers are immediately replanted at home.
Planting or planting
To obtain a very spectacular ground cover effect, pink sorrel plants should be planted at a close distance of 30-40 cm, generally 15-20 seedlings per square meter. The planting soil must be worked thoroughly and then leveled. As soon as flowering begins, a little mature manure should be added to the growing medium.
Pink sorrel plants can be perfectly matched perfectly with other herbaceous plants with lively bright flowers such as Ajuga reptans commonly called Bugola, Periwinkle, Hemerocallis nana Stella de Oro, Corydalis, Anaphalis, Oenothera, Salvia, etc.
The plants must be freed from the dry parts immediately after flowering, removing the withered stems and damaged leaves. To favor the thickening and renewal in summer it is also advisable to carry out a drastic pruning by cutting the plants down to the base of the soil.
Pests and diseases of Oxalis – Pink sorrel
Even if it is a rustic plant, the leaves are often ruined by powdery mildew or bad white and by Rust.
Cures and treatments
In areas where winter temperatures are very low it is advisable to protect the tubers of Oxalis plants with a mulch at ground level.
Plants affected by powdery mildew must be treated with specific sulfur-based products.
Variety of Oxalis
It is an evergreen perennial variety characterized by a profuse flowering of a deep pink color from spring to autumn. It forms thick and elegant cushions about 25 cm high composed of pale green leaves. It is a vigorous ground cover that loves sandy soil and prefers exposure to the sun or partial shade as an exposure. It is suitable for growing in the rock garden, survives temperatures of -10 ° C and is resistant to drought.
Rhizomatous perennial herbaceous plant that reaches a height of 15-20 cm. It has dark purple velvety leaves similar to a butterfly and photosensitive. The leaves of this species in fact, during the day move continuously in search of light and for this reason it is commonly called plant ballerinto. Throughout the summer it produces white-lilac bell-shaped flowers. It is reblooming but not frost resistant.
Also known as scurvy grass, it is a herbaceous that does not exceed 10-15 cm. The leaves, deciduous and fleshy, are composed of about 9 deeply lobed leaflets, which contract with the rainy weather, bending downwards, taking on the appearance of a small umbrella. From late spring to early summer it produces funnel-shaped and lightly scented flowers with pinkish petals with lavender or purple veins. It is a species suitable for cultivation in pots, in the rock garden and in flower beds. It reproduces by seed and by division of the bulbs.
Oxalis enneaphylla rosea
It is a deciduous variety, similar to the previous one, about 20 cm tall, with pink flowers with purple veins. It blooms in spring, from April to July. It pollinates itself and produces a good amount of seeds for the reproduction of subsequent plants. It grows well in any type of soil exposed to the sun or partial shade. Withstands the heat and winter temperatures of -10 ° C. It is also suitable for growing in pots.
The pink sorrel or Oxalis articulata seedlings are very popular in gardening for covering rock gardens, cracks and crevices in stone walls and stone walls, for creating flower borders and also as ornamental pots on balconies and terraces.
In the past, shamrock was widely used for food purposes, to flavor salads and soups.
The oxalic acid extracted from the leaves was used for cleaning bronze and leather objects, and as a natural stain remover for linen, very useful for removing rust or ink stains.
The Latin name Oxalis of sorrel comes from the ancient Greek oxys which means, sharp or pungent, and refers to the sour taste of its leaves, very similar to that of vinegar.