Potted Delights – Oxalis perdicaria ‘Citrino’

Oxalis perdicaria 'Citrino'
Oxalis perdicaria ‘Citrino’

I have a bit of a thing about bulbs. I just love them.  I love the fact that you plant a small dry bulb and within 6 months you can have a stunningly beautiful plant. I love the anticipation of waiting for the first shoot to push through the soil. I love the ephemeral nature of the flowers and I love the variety from the tiny crocus and snowdrops to the large giant lily (Cardiocrinum giganteum).  So it’s hardly surprising that due to my recent dabbling in the vast and intriguing world of alpines that I have been expanding my bulb collection.  Added to this I have this year joined the Pacific Bulb Society so, as a friend said to me yesterday, all hope is lost.

For those who haven’t come across the PBS they generally produce a list of available seeds and bulbs one a month which you can apply to so recently small packages have been plopping through the letter box from California containing all sorts of delights.  These have been duly potted up in terracotta pots and added to the bulb collection in the greenhouse. Coming home from a weekend away the other day I was beside myself to discover Oxalis perdicaria ‘Citrino’ in flower.  Only a few leaves were present before I went away so to discover these dainty pale yellow flowers was a delight.  Oxalis perdicaria ‘Citrino’ is a bit of a rogue Oxalis.  It sends up leaves in spring but no flowers, then it dies back, only to reappear at this time of year with flowers.  The flowers only open when the light is good and apparently have a honey scent but I am yet to detect this.  I am becoming intrigued by Oxalis having been bewitched by Oxalis veriscolor when I visited the Alpine House at RHS Wisley back in February.

Oxalis veriscolor - RHS Wisley
Oxalis veriscolor – RHS Wisley

If you look carefully you can see that the flowers have a red and white twist of colouring.  When the flower bud is tight shut it is red and the petals are wrapped a bit like an umbrella would be. Then the flower opens out and it is white inside.  The Oxalis perdicaria ‘Citrino’ does the same except the flower is the same colour inside and out but when you look very closely at the buds you can see the same twisting of the petals. I think they are beautiful and intriguing

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So now you know why I get excited about bulbs and yes my friend is right – there is no hope for me

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. rusty duck says:

    Helen, I can see exactly how that would be addictive. What fun. And there are worse vices!

  2. bittster says:

    You are in trouble aren’t you? The oxalis are absolutely perfect and I can see plenty of other goodies coming along nearby.
    I’m not sure what it is about bulbs but I also twitch a bit when I see a new BX in my inbox. So far I have resisted joining the PBS….. it’s probably better that way.

  3. AnnetteM says:

    What a beautiful flower – I love the shape just before it opens. I am beginning to buy more bulbs too, but only for the garden as I don’t have a greenhouse. I am waiting for someone to discover a detector for bulbs in the ground, a bit like those electric cable detectors, so I don’t keep digging them up when I am planting new ones!

  4. messmelissa says:

    I love the Oxalis family!

  5. Diana Studer says:

    our tall yellow Oxalis carpet is fading now, as the sun begins to bite. Lots of Lachenalia, this year many colours have bloomed again for me.

  6. Anna says:

    Oh what a delicate and pretty flower Helen. Monthly seed lists sound absolutely fatal to me. Do you have to pay much in the way of postage for such treasures to come all that way?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      They are very short lists and I am trying to focus on a small group of plants that I can grow in my conditions. The postage isn’t cheap but ha ho, the packages make me happy. Think I have watsonia, oxalis and lachenalia arriving in a week or so, well that’s what I requested, will be interested to see how many I get

  7. I have been reading your posts for some time and I am always appreciative of the effort you put into your blog and posts. I love the conversation you have created and the photos are always special.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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