Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Iron Cross Oxalis, Good Luck Plant
Oxalis tetraphylla 'Iron Cross'

Family: Oxalidaceae
Genus: Oxalis (oks-AL-iss) (Info)
Species: tetraphylla (tet-ruh-FIL-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Iron Cross

Synonym:Oxalis deppei

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

49 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 41 photos.
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16 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive docknee On Sep 26, 2014, docknee from Murphy, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

A lovely addition to hanging pots with caladiums, tuberous begonia and other partial shade loving plants. I use to add color and variety to containers, hanging pots and woodland borders. Dainty pink blooms wave in the breeze all summer long. I am in 6a or b due to elevation so I lift and store for the winter.

Neutral EdwinR On Aug 16, 2014, EdwinR from Stockholm
Sweden wrote:

Oxalis is one of my favourite houseplants but I am not succeeding with any of them this year. I planted Iron Cross corms in the spring. 2 came up. One died. The surviving one has 2 crooked leaves, nothing else, It is now on my glazed balcony. I hope it will grow more, less crooked leaves and flower there.

Neutral TM3 On Mar 10, 2012, TM3 from Irving, TX wrote:

I got 6 iron cross bulbs in August as a gift and planted them 2 weeks ago indoors in a pot all their own near the glass sliding glass door so they can get sun. (New potting soil). I watered them at first, and have been watering them once a week. They have not sprouted. Any advice?

Thank you for your help.

Positive jacoy78 On Jun 12, 2010, jacoy78 from Salt Lake City, UT (Zone 5a) wrote:

I LOVE this plant. I purchased a single plant about 6 weeks ago. It sits in a location where it gets mostly full sun/borderline part sun. I water it frequently, and it get's watered by accident when I spray down the walk way to my house. It doesn't seem to mind, it is flourishing. When I leave for work in the morning the stems and leaves are all perked up as if to say, "Hello, have a happy lucky day!" Every morning I approach my car with a huge smile on my face. I am definitely going to buy more. I've never had a plant that I enjoy more than this little guy. Periodically, I remove the older leaves. This seems to have added some benefit. This particular plant of mine keeps a nice rounded shape. I really can't say enough about how much I LOVE this plant. I want MORE!!!

Positive ms_greenjeans On Jun 11, 2010, ms_greenjeans from Hopkins, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I planted 5 little bulbs/tubers/or whatever they are, and in one summer had enough for myself and 3 other people. When I dug them up in the fall to store for the winter, they were huge! I shared them with several friends this spring. I am going to experiment with leaving one or two in the ground over the winter (I'm in zone 4a). Whether they make it or not, I'll still have plenty. This is a very attractive plant and it's interesting that the flowers open in the morning and fold up by mid-afternoon or so. They bloom all summer long. Mine perform best in part shade and do need watering every couple of days if it doesn't rain.

Positive DracoVolans On Aug 18, 2009, DracoVolans from Crestline, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I bought this plant a couple of years ago on a whim, one of my few "impulse buys". It's colour and four-leafed clover appearance were what caught my eye and it has been a favourite of mine ever since. It was difficult to keep in my dim old house. We didn't get much light in any of the windows, and winter can be especially dreary in Winnipeg.

Yet I was determined to grow this one, and so placed it in the sunniest window we had and hoped. It wilted, it drooped, I'd water it and it would perk up. Then within the next day or two, it would be flagging again. Seems it's a water-hungry thing, and the desert dry humidity in my house was sucking it of any moisture, but with careful attention, it thrived, even bloomed, and I was happy.

Later, I was beginning a long-distance relationship, and I was now travelling regularly between Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada, and Valley Village, California, and I'd have to leave the watering and care of my plants up to my room-mate. When I came back, it was a horror: many of my plants were dry and withered-looking, several were completely dead. I thought the Oxalis was one of them- dried out, no leaves left, the bulbs just sitting there with no life seemingly left. But I looked closer and saw that they still had a bit of green in them, and I wondered if Oxalis had a dormancy period during winter.

So I just kept watering it a little every other day or so and hoped. Eventually, with water, light and my crossed digits, it started coming back: a few straggly stalks were enough to convince me that I could save it. So I resolved to take it with me to California, where I was moving to be with my now-fiancee, even sacrificing space for other belongings to bring it with me.

Once in Southern California, it exploded in growth, putting out shoot after shoot after shoot, blooming it's lovely little pink flowers every couple of weeks.

In short, it's a tough little plant, not the most drought-resistant, but able to bounce back from near-death. I'd suggest to anyone who wants to try growing it in a Southern Californian climate to keep it in pots either indoors or in light, sun-dappled shade (the near-Equatorial sun can burn it) and water regularly. You'll be rewarded with a handsome plant with great-looking foliage and delicate pink flowers. And who can resist having an entire plant that's made up of four-leaf clovers? It sits in my container-garden at the apartment block where my husband and I (we were married this june) make our home, and it's one of the prides of my collection.

Positive art_n_garden On Jul 9, 2009, art_n_garden from Colorado Springs, CO (Zone 6a) wrote:

I was really weary that an Oxalis could really be hardy for me. I was sure I was right when I hadn't seen it through May or June...but sure enough it started to pop up in late June. I'm in Zone 6 - and I'm glad to have found this one!

Positive mjab17 On Feb 4, 2009, mjab17 from North Billerica, MA wrote:

i grew this when i was really only starting to get into gardening, i really liked them and was sad that when i kepted them in the ground over winter they never returned ... i know better now .. i was even more sad when i couldn't find them anywhere for a few years ..... now i've found them once again and although theres still snow on the ground ( and theres a lot of it ) they are potted up and there foilige is just as pretty as ever -- but i've yet to see them bloom, can't wait till they do. And can't wait to get them back out in the yard again -- but they are deffently coming back inside this year

Positive vossner On Aug 4, 2008, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I agree that this cultivar seems to prefer more sun than the shady spot I've given it. Mine is in a pot in the shade and it is kinda leggy, searching for sunlight.

Positive Gigglesann On Jul 6, 2008, Gigglesann from Lacey, WA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Iron Cross is easily my favorite plant in the front of my garden with it's interesting leaves and dainty salmon pink flowers. It does fine in full sun. The leaves and flowers close up at night and open with the sun. These plants were here when we moved in two years ago. They disappear in the fall and reappear in the spring.

Positive dalmatian_fan87 On May 12, 2008, dalmatian_fan87 from Cascade, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

a WONDERFUL oxalis species...the first time i tried it, it bloomed before any of the leaves even opened! but the leaves werent far behind! such a lovely color combo on the leaves!

Positive Malus2006 On Feb 18, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I grow them into pots - they thrive in shade so make good accesoories with other shade annuals and then you can storage the bulbs inside for the winter.

Positive Astramorgaine On Sep 28, 2007, Astramorgaine from Columbus, IN (Zone 5b) wrote:

I live in zone 5b, and the iron cross oxalis makes a fabulous addition to my garden! I received the bulbs as a gift in July (clearance bulbs) and decided to just plant them then. I'm glad I didn't wait, for now they are sprouting and blooming!

Positive ademink On Jul 18, 2006, ademink from Indianapolis, IN wrote:

I'm in Indianapolis in Zone 5 and I'm on my 3rd year of this plant coming back for me! It's planted about 2-3' from the house, southern exposure. I thought I had lifted all of the bulbs the first Fall but the next Spring realized I hadn't. Now I just leave them and they have spread like crazy and are doing beautifully. Looks like the zone can go further than thought! :)

Neutral MotherNature4 On Jun 9, 2006, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I don't have any experience growing this cultivar, but look forward to it. The center of the leaves is marked with purple, thus the name Iron Cross.
They prefer a fairly sunny location.

Positive Sarahskeeper On Nov 2, 2005, Sarahskeeper from Brockton, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I really like this one. Super easy to grow in almost any location.
It multiplies fast, I initially got 5 bulbs as a promotional mail order gift. Within a few years I had enough to give extras away.
They are 'tender' bulbs, so treat them like Dahlias, lift them in the fall and store them in a cool not freezing location in a paper bag.
Divide in spring and plant after danger of frost has past.
It can bloom in as little as 2 weeks after planting, in warm conditions.
Nice in pots or as ground cover.
Andy P

Positive mkjones On May 30, 2005, mkjones from Aurora, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

A delightfully different oxalis--and fast growing! I planted bulbs just two weeks ago, and already have two little beds going. The blooms are such a beautiful coral pink, with a spiralling effect in opening, leaving the blossom fan-like. I really like this plant.

Positive kooger On Aug 22, 2004, kooger from Oostburg, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:

I planted 20 bulbs in a pot. These bulbs were ones I had forgotten about and were all dried up. I thought maybe a few would grow but it looks like they all did. I really enjoy them but next year will spread them out over a few pots. They need twice daily watering to not droop.

Positive dubhloaich On Dec 6, 2002, dubhloaich from Scappoose, OR wrote:

This is a wonderful companion plant to Geranium phaeum 'Samobar', with each enhancing the variegation of the other. Both of look wonderful under Cercis Canadensis 'Forest Pansy'.

It has been slow to emerge in the spring, so don't assume it was lost over the winter. It should be putting up leaves by mid-May.

It should be noted that all Oxalis foliage contains oxalic acid, which puts the sour in sourgrass. Although chewing on a leaf or two is harmless, it is possible to ingest enough leaves to get a toxic dose of oxalic acid.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Auburn, Alabama
Mesa, Arizona
Calistoga, California
Menlo Park, California
Oceanside, California
Reseda, California
San Leandro, California
Temecula, California
Valley Village, California
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Meriden, Connecticut
Keystone Heights, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Canton, Illinois
Columbus, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Inwood, Iowa
London, Kentucky
Mount Sterling, Kentucky
Deridder, Louisiana
Metairie, Louisiana
North Billerica, Massachusetts
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Owosso, Michigan
Maben, Mississippi
Mathiston, Mississippi
Perryville, Missouri
Albuquerque, New Mexico
La Luz, New Mexico
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Greenville, North Carolina
Murphy, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Hamilton, Ohio
Painesville, Ohio
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Brookhaven, Pennsylvania
Royersford, Pennsylvania
Warren Center, Pennsylvania
Bluffton, South Carolina
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Roanoke, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Winnsboro, Texas
Magna, Utah
Cascade, Virginia
Verona, Virginia
Bellevue, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Lacey, Washington
Port Townsend, Washington
Spanaway, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Hartland, Wisconsin

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