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Shamrock Plant (Oxalis): White Spots On Leaves Treatment

Gardening can be fun. But things go south when one of your treasured plants gets infected, and you have no idea what pest or disease is causing poor health.

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 amongst gardeners. It’s also known as the love plant or purple Shamrock.

The plant owes the name purple shamrock 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 then getting back to their original shape in the morning light.

Some of the other names of the plant are lesser clover and white clover. Other plants such as Medicago lupulina, Trifolium pratense, and Oxalis acetosella are also sometimes called shamrocks.

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

This article helps you identify the disease(s) and pests that cause white spots on the shamrock plant and whether there is a remedy to them or not. 


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Growing and Nurturing The Shamrock Plant 

The shamrock plant actively grows and flowers during fall towards spring. The plant goes dormant in summer; however, this isn’t a common 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, ensuring to space them apart. Three bulbs can fit in a single spot. 
  • Cover the shamrock bulbs with soil and add water. 
  • Place the potted plant in bright 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. 


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Caring for Shamrock

Whether you choose to grow 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. It also leads to many diseases, namely: 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; this is the ideal temperature for indoor planting. The plant can withstand nighttime temperatures of up to 10 degrees celsius.
  • Humidity should be moderate.
  • To ensure your plant is growing healthy, you want to put it in a sunny location with enough sunlight for hours. Plenty of light is necessary to ensure your Shamrock maintains its dark purple foliage.
  • Avoid direct light and low light conditions; Shamrock becomes leggy under low light conditions by stretching to get enough light.

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Watering Requirements

Also, make sure you are meeting the water requirements of purple Shamrock. The 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. Ideally, 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 fertilizer to use is liquid fertilizer.

If this isn’t possible, use a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season and subsequently after three months. A precaution we would like to front is to avoid mineral salts building up in your soil due to fertilizer application.

If this happens, run water through your potting mix to drain out the excessive minerals. 

White Spots on Oxalis Leaves


Occasionally, gardeners growing Shamrock notice the presence of white spots on the plant. This leaves them with more questions than answers on what exactly the problem could be.

Luckily, we have answers to your problem. To start with, two fungal diseases are common in shamrock plants and exhibit symptoms of white spots on leaves.

These are Powdery Mildew and Rust diseases. The underlying reason Shamrock is a darling to these diseases is because of its fondness to grow in shady and humid areas.

Let’s dive deep into each of these diseases. 

Powdery Mildew 


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Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that affects many plants, Shamrock being no exception. You will easily identify powdery mildew by the layer of spots it forms on top of your Shamrock leaves.

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

A clear symptom of powdery mildew infection in Shamrock is its leaves turning yellow and drying out. Young stems of Shamrock are more susceptible to the infection.

In severe infection, the entire leaves get coated with fungi. The disease is best controlled by treating your plant with a fungicide.

Other treatment methods include spraying neem water on the plant. 

Rust Disease


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Rust 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; under severe infections, the white spots spread to most parts of the plant.

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

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

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 growing conditions, gardeners have also cited the presence of pests in their Shamrock plants that give the appearance of white spots on leaves.

Here is a list of common shamrock pests.

Spider Mites 


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Spider 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 rid them of the plant.

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 potted indoors. They secrete a powdery, waxy substance that has a white cottony appearance.

It acts as a protective coating to the mealy bugs. 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 mealybugs in your shamrock plants. 


Diseased plants can be an absolute nightmare for gardeners and plant lovers. Thankfully, we have got you covered 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.


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