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Shamrock Plant (Oxalis): White Spots On Leaves Treatment

Gardening can be fun. But things can turn ugly when one of your treasured plants gets infected, and you have no idea what pest or disease is causing that.

Today, we will have an in-depth look at the shamrock plant, its planting requirements, growing conditions, and understand what causes the white spots on its leaves.

All About Shamrock

The Shamrock plant is one of the unusual plants among gardeners.

It’s also known as the love plant or purple shamrock due to its dark purple foliage.

Shamrock leaves are triangular-shaped and show up in groupings of three. They have the unusual behavior of folding up at night and returning to their original shape around dawn.

Other names associated with the plant are lesser clover and white clover. Interestingly, other plants such as Medicago lupulina, Trifolium pratense, and Oxalis acetosella are also sometimes confused with shamrock.

Typical of any plant, the plant is susceptible to diseases. One of these diseases causes white spots on its leaves.

This article helps you identify the diseases and pests that cause white spots on the shamrock plant and the corresponding remedies.

shamrock-plantGrowing and Nurturing The Shamrock Plant 

The shamrock plant actively grows and flowers during fall towards spring. The plant goes dormant in summer– an uncommon occurrence in house plants.

Reduce usual routine caring once you spot dormancy in the plant— its foliage degrades during dormancy.

The growing back of foliage marks the end of dormancy, which means you can resume standard care like watering and feeding.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to grow shamrock in a container through division. 

  • Fill the pot with a well-draining mix leaving ⅓ of the container empty. 
  • Pour some water to let the soil settle down. 
  • Place shamrock bulbs 1.5 inches deep in the soil and space them apart. Three bulbs can fit in a single pot. 
  • Cover the shamrock bulbs with soil and add water. 
  • Place the potted plant in ample indirect light. 

You could also follow the same procedure when growing them through seeds. Ensure the seed depth is at ½ inch deep and cover the top of the container with plastic to keep the soil moist. 

shamrock-plant-with-leavesCaring For Shamrock

Whether growing it indoors or as a border plant, ensure the soil or the potting mix is well-draining.

  • Soil that retains too much moisture causes root rot and other diseases: white mold, fungus, fuzzy, and gnats. The best medium to use is sandy or loamy soil.
  • Shamrock plant thrives in a temperature range of 15-23 degrees celsius. The plant can withstand nighttime temperatures of up to 10 degrees celsius.
  • Humidity should be moderate.
  • To ensure your plant grows healthy, you want to put it in a sunny location with enough sunlight for hours. Plenty of light is necessary to maintain your shamrock’s dark purple foliage.
  • Avoid direct light and low light conditions; Shamrock becomes leggy under low light conditions by stretching to get enough light.

shamrock-in-small-potWatering Requirements

Also, make sure you are meeting the water requirements.

Young plants thrive best in soils with even amounts of moisture. That means watering often. On the flip side, the maturing types can withstand drought.

Ensure you get the best results by watering shamrock until you see water draining out of the container. Water the plant when it needs water and not regularly.

You will know shamrock needs water by feeling the topsoil. Any sign of dryness means that it’s time to water the plant.

Deep watering nourishes the roots— use filtered or rainwater. Avoid overwatering the plant at all costs.

Fertilizer Application

Regarding fertilizer application, it’s best if you do it during the growing season. The best option is to use a liquid fertilizer.

If this isn’t possible, use a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season and subsequently after three months.

Avoid mineral salts building up in your soil due to excessive fertilizer application. If this happens, run your potting mix with water to drain the excessive minerals. 

White Spots On Oxalis Leaves


Occasionally, you may notice the presence of white spots on the shamrock plant. There could be multiple reasons behind this.

To start with, two fungal diseases are common in shamrock plants that cause white spots on leaves.

These are Powdery Mildew and Rust diseases. Shamrock is prone to these diseases because of its fondness to grow in shady and humid areas.

Powdery Mildew 

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that affects many plants, shamrock being no exception. You will quickly identify the disease as it forms a layer of white spots on top of the leaves. In some instances, the entire leaves may get coated with fungi.

The powdery spots are circular and white. Apart from appearing on leaves, they also appear on the plant’s stems, flowers, and fruits.

Subsequently, the leaves turn yellow and dry out. Young stems of the shamrock are more susceptible to the condition.

The disease is best controlled by treating your plant with a fungicide.

Other treatment methods include spraying neem water on the plant. 

Rust Disease

rust-disease-on-leaveRust is the other fungal disease you want to check out. The condition forms flecks on shamrock’s leaves and exhibits white powdery fungus on the leaves and buds. The white spots may spread to most plant parts under severe infections.

The best treatment is the application of fungicides. However, most of the infections are always mild and require no treatment.

You can also uproot the plant and discard it to protect other plants in case of severe infection.

Pests That Look Like White Spots On Shamrock Leaves

While it’s true that purple shamrock is more susceptible to fungal diseases because of its moisture requirements, gardeners have also cited the presence of pests that give the appearance of white spots on leaves.

Here is a list of common shamrock pests.

Spider Mites 

spider-mitesSpider Mites are small and appear like white spots on leaves. They form webs under the leaves, mainly at the intersection of the stem and the plant.

Spider mites cause the leaves of the shamrock plant to wilt. Use a targeted pesticide to get rid of them.

Other control methods include washing them off or using a mix of garlic and dish soap. 



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Whiteflies are tiny insects covered in powdery white wax. They suck sap causing the leaves to drop and weaken the plant.

Whiteflies leave tiny, light flecks that leave damaged parts with a speckled appearance. Use appropriate insecticides or yellow sticky traps to control them. 



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Mealybugs also affect shamrock plants, especially if planted indoors. They secrete a powdery, waxy substance that has a white cottony appearance. It acts as a protective coating for them.

Gardeners can easily spot mealybugs on the leaves and stems of shamrock owing to the white layer.

Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to get rid of them.


Diseased plants can be an absolute nightmare for gardeners and plant lovers. Thankfully, we have covered you as far as the White Spots on Shamrock Plants are concerned.

By identifying the real cause and using the solutions suggested, you can ensure that your plants remain disease-free forever.

Shamrock Plant (Oxalis): White Spots On Leaves Treatment

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