St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock: Myth, Legend, Symbol…Your Very Own Houseplant
Join with us in celebrating one of the best holidays of the year, St. Patrick’s Day (of course)! We love any holiday where the main objective is to wear green, our favorite color (of course)! So, here’s a little lore about the Shamrock, the official St. Patty’s day plant.
Why shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Day?
The Irish shamrock or four leaf clover has become a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day. Wearing a shamrock or the color green is a tradition rooted in celebrating March 17. According to legend, the shamrock is related to St. Patrick’s day because the missionary Saint Patrick used the structure of the three leaf clover as a metaphor for the holy trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Despite the mythology and lore surrounding the the celebration of March 17, many scholars consider St. Patricks Day as an American made holiday.
For more on St. Patrick’s Day myths and history, check out this National Geographic article.
What exactly is a shamrock?
Identifying the actual shamrock plant is somewhat difficult, there are multiple contenders and an unclear consensus. For a more in-depth discussion, peruse this article and let us know which plant you think should earn the title of “St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock”.
How can I grow my own shamrock?
For the sake of ease we will consider Oaxis acetosella a viable St. Patrick’s Day shamrock plant. This plant is the one most commonly available and used in grocery stores, nurseries, and florist shops in March. The best way to grow a shamrock is in a pot surrounded by other shamrock plants. The simple root system of this plant lends to its preference for being crowded in a pot. While the plant is actively growing or flowering, you should fertilize every two to three weeks. Plants grown from bulbs, like this shamrock plant, experience a dormant period two to three times a year. You can tell your plant is experiencing dormancy because it will begin to lose its leaves and appear sick. These outward appearances should signal to you that it is time to put your plant in “hibernation”, stop watering, remove dead leaves, and move the plant to a cool, dark spot. After three months or so, when new shoots begin to sprout up, move the plant back into the light and resume watering.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We hope you will wear green on March 17 and continue to grow green all year!