The stems of my Oxalis (false shamrock) plant are collapsing and the leaves are turning pale.

What is wrong?


Leaves gradually fading to a bleached color and stems collapsing, particularly in the summer, may indicate that your plant is becoming dormant. This unusual timing for dormancy can be a shock to plant owners. Some Oxalis houseplants enter dormancy and rest for a period of time. The leaves will get pale, then brown and fall off. This is natural and not a worry.

The same fading color and drooping  can occur, however, as a sign of distress for other reasons. Is your plant getting the recommended amount of light? Has the soil become too dry or the temperature too high? Those conditions can be easy to correct and a plant may recover quickly.

When a plant is over-watered or the soil is compacted or is not draining well, the drooping leaves may be harder to recover from.  Check whether the soil is staying wet (Oxalis likes soil to dry between waterings), the drain hole is blocked and re-pot the plant if the soil is no longer loose and free-draining. Check that the roots are firm, not mushy, when you un-pot the plant.

For more information on looking after for your Oxalis houseplant during dormancy and correct care, see our Guide to False Shamrock (Oxalis triangularis) Houseplants.

Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service

  • Last Updated Nov 30, 2021
  • Views 1018
  • Answered By Leslie Coleman

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 1 0

Ask a plant expert

Send us an email or use the question form below.

Submit a question

Before submitting your question, try searching our Plant and Gardening FAQ page and Help Guides. Still need help? Fill out the form below and a plant expert will answer your individual plant and gardening questions. We will respond to questions in the order we receive them.

Your Question
Your Info
Fields marked with * are required.