Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

How to Grow a Shamrock!

How to Grow a Shamrock!

In the spirit of the month of March and one of the Old Town Crier’s favorite celebration days – St. Patrick’s Day – we bring you our annual column on growing shamrocks. We are sure you wnat to know the secret to growing these lucky plants!

Stories have it that shamrocks won’t grow any place other than in Irish dirt. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. The word, “shamrock” is the English form of the Irish word “seamrog,” which means “little clover” and clover is something that grows just about everywhere. If you’d like to grow shamrock, also known as “white clover,” you’ll find it to be a fun and flowering, low maintenance plant. Read on to learn how to grow shamrock:

1. Select a good plant by looking for one with new growth, a few flower buds just opening and more ready to bloom. You can grow shamrock from seed, but starting with a plant is much more reliable.

2. While it can be grown outside, it does best indoors. Shamrock needs bright light (not full sun) and moist, well drained soil until its two- or three-month dormancy period in the winter. That’s when you’ll need to keep the plant in a cool, dry area and the soil barely moist until spring when watering should resume.

3. Place plants in trays or flower boxes for best results. Shamrock grows from the tip by sending out runners that take root. Being in containers allow the tips to make contact with the soil to produce the runners.

4. Keep your plants cool at night, about 50 to 65 F and don’t let them get any warmer than 70 to 75 F during the day. Plants habitually exposed to warmer environments will go dormant quicker.

5. Fertilize your shamrock once a month during the winter and spring growing periods. A liquid or water soluble fertilizer works best. When the plant stops growing, fertilize every other month until it goes dormant.

6. Protect your shamrock against the occasional attack of aphids or whitefly. A natural and safe insecticidal spray can be made at home by chopping up onions and chilies, simmering them together. Shamrock is fairly disease free, susceptible only to root rot if you keep them too wet.

WARNING: Be careful where you place your shamrock plant because if it is ingested by pets, it can cause them to suffer kidney failure or worse.

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