What Is Redwood Sorrel – Growing Redwood Sorrel In The Garden

What Is Redwood Sorrel – Growing Redwood Sorrel In The Garden

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By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)

Restoring and creating native habitats is an exciting way to create lush green spaces, as well asattract wildlife to urban and rural homes. The addition of native perennialplants is a great way to add year-round interest to the garden. One such plant,Oxalis redwood sorrel, is an excellent choice for shaded growing spaces in coolseason gardens. Read on for more redwood sorrel plant info.

What is Redwood Sorrel?

Redwood sorrel (Oxalisoregana) is a low-growing flowering plant that is native to western coastalregions of the United States. Hardy to USDA growing zone 7, this perennialplant is ideal for use as a groundcover and in wild plantings like woodland gardens.

While the plant is quite small, the unique clover-shapedfoliage and white-pink flowers are an excellent way to add visual interest andtexture to landscape plantings. Note ofcaution: Though conflicting information exists online, this ornamentalplant should not be consumed, as it contains toxic oxalic acid. Don’t plantanywhere you expect children or pets to play.

Growing Redwood Sorrel

Success with Oxalis redwood sorrel is largely dependent uponthe growing zone. Gardeners living in hot and humid climates may have greatdifficulty growing this plant, as it thrives in cool temperatures.

In addition to its sensitivity to temperature, redwoodsorrel plants require conditions that are consistently moist. Native to redwoodand evergreen forests, these plants thrive in low light conditions and maysuffer when too many hours of sun are received.

Introducing redwood sorrel into native plantings is easythough. For most growers, the best option is to locate transplants fromspecialty native plant garden centers, as it may not be found elsewhere. Seedsfor the plant may also be found online.

When purchasing redwood sorrel plants or seeds, always makecertain to buy from a reputable source to ensure that plants are correctlylabeled and disease free. As with many native plants, those wishing to grow redwood sorrel should never collector disturb established plantings in the wild.

This article was last updated on

Oxalis oregana range map. USDA PLANTS Database.

Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana). Photo by Dr. Gerry Carr.

Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana). Photo by Dr. Gerry Carr.

Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana). Photo by Dr. Gerry Carr.

Outdoor Wood Sorrel

Select a sunny or partially shady outdoor planting site. Mix a 3- to 6-inch layer of organic matter such as compost, well-aged cow manure and sphagnum peat moss into the planting site. Mix it in thoroughly to a depth of 10 to 12 inches with a rototiller or shovel.

Plant wood sorrel bulbs or rhizomes in the prepared soil in fall. Dig planting holes ½ to 1 inch deep and 4 to 6 inches wide with a hand trowel. Space holes for multiple plantings 6 inches apart.

Place three or four wood sorrel bulbs or rhizomes into each hole. Push loose, prepared soil over the bulbs or rhizomes until the top of the soil is level with the surrounding garden soil. Water the placed you planted bulbs or rhizomes to settle the soil.

Water the planting site when its soil begins to dry. After the plants grow and have healthy stems and leaves, give them an application of 20-10-20 or 15-15-15 fertilizer once per week. Allow the soil to dry, and do not fertilize the wood sorrel plants if they become dormant. Some wood sorrel species become dormant and appear dead for as long as three months up to four times per year. Resume watering and fertilizing after new stems and leaves appear on the wood sorrel plants.

Divide the plants while they are dormant when they outgrow their planting area. Use a shovel to lift each wood sorrel clump. Work the bulbs or rhizomes apart by hand. Replant the bulbs in another area.

Check the wood sorrel leaves each week for spider mites, which are indicated by small, brown or yellow speckles on the leaf surfaces and a fine webbing between the leaf stems. Spray the leaves thoroughly with water from a garden hose if spider mites are found. Keep the soil around the wood sorrel plants moist. Use a miticide if increased moisture does not clear up the spider mite problem after one or two weeks. Treat interveinal chlorosis or yellowing of leaf tissue between the leaf veins with a diluted micornutrient foliar spray. Wrinkled leaves and burned or brown leaf edges can be caused by excessive exposure to salt or too much direct sunlight.

Garden Plants

For a shade garden, redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregana) is a useful ground cover. Native to the western United States, the three-parted leaves resemble clover. Flowers are white to pink, appearing primarily in spring. It spreads through creeping roots. It grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9. Violet wood sorrel (Oxalis violacea) comes from bulbs in USDA zones 5 through 9. White, pink, lavender or purple flowers bloom in spring, with repeat bloom possible in fall. Pink wood sorrel (Oxalis crassipes "Rosea") produces pink flowers from spring to fall if kept irrigated. Preferring shade, pink wood sorrel grows 8 to 12 inches tall and is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9.

Watch the video: Get to Know Your Redwood Forest: Redwood Sorrel