Many people know lucky clover from the time around New Year’s Eve, when it is given away as a decorative lucky charm in small pots. Unfortunately, it ends up in the trash far too often later, although with a little proper care it can easily serve as a beautiful eye-catcher all year round. The lucky clover even rewards patience with care with beautiful flowers.
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Pot or garden?
Lucky clover or four-leaved wood sorrel, as it is also called, can be cultivated in a pot and then stand in the room or on the balcony. However, it can also be freely planted or sown in the garden.
In the case of an outdoor location, however, it must be ensured that the plant is not frost-hardy. Freezing temperatures are only withstood down to -10 ° C and only for a short time. If the winter is very long or hard, the lucky clover will not survive it. In this case, it is necessary to dig it up for wintering and bring it inside. Of course, it has to be planted again in the spring.
If you do not want to make this effort year after year, you should choose the culture in pots or use planters that can be removed more easily from the bed in autumn.
Location and substrate
When it comes to location, the lucky clover is by no means picky. In fact, he only puts one control at the planting point, and that is related to the light. The four-leaved wood sorrel needs several hours of sun a day to properly thrive.
A window or balcony with southern sun is ideal. Alternatively, locations in the east or west can also be suitable if they receive sufficient sunlight.
When it comes to the choice of substrate, the lucky clover is even more undemanding. Acid, calcareous or neutral – really any substrate can be used here. In the long term, high-quality, commercially available potting soil or a mixture of garden soil and compost is optimal.
But the main thing is that the soil does not contain any pests or germs. Cheap soil that already smells musty should be avoided. Although this is initially inexpensive, it will damage the plant in the long term and often requires early repotting.
Just like the choice of the location and substrate for the lucky clover, care is also possible with little effort. The four-leaved wood sorrel is satisfied with regular watering and light fertilization.
Blending and repotting is only necessary when necessary. You only need to invest a little time in caring for the lucky clover before winter. Even here, however, the plant is very frugal.
Since the lucky clover is frugal and quite resilient, hardly anything needs to be considered when it comes to the quality of the irrigation water. If the wood sorrel stands free in the garden or without a roof on the balcony, it normally does not have to be watered at all.
Occasional rain is enough here.
The situation is different, of course, when it is cultivated as a houseplant or when the plant is covered. It has to be poured here. If the room air is very dry, water should be given regularly. If the lucky clover is too dry, it becomes more susceptible to pests and diseases.
If the flow is sufficient, the lucky clover can be poured floating, but persistent waterlogging should not develop. The substrate is allowed to dry off a little between the individual waterings. However, it shouldn’t dry out completely.
Whether additional fertilization of the lucky clover is necessary depends on the substrate chosen. Pre-fertilized, fresh potting soil or garden soil already mixed with compost does not require fertilization, at least initially.
If the earth is already a bit used up or if it is a simple, non-fertilized substrate, the lucky clover should be supplied with additional nutrients. A liquid complete fertilizer for flowering plants that is added to the irrigation water is ideal for this.
The amount and frequency should be decided depending on the condition of the plant. It is more advisable to fertilize the lucky clover lightly but evenly. This means that the chosen agent should be used in a strong dilution.
It is only necessary to cut the lucky clover if the leaves dry up, wither or are attacked by pests. It is the same with the flowers, which, however, only appear for the first time after about two years. A shaping or other radical cut is not necessary.
The exception is preparation for hibernation, when the lucky clover is grown outdoors. If the bulbs are dug up in autumn, all green parts of the plant must be removed.
Repotting and repotting
If the lucky clover was bought on New Year’s Eve, it should be repotted as soon as possible in the new year. Usually the pot is too small to give the plant a lush appearance.
In addition, it is not uncommon for the plant to be heavily fertilized during pre-cultivation or for it to have been in the flower pot for a very long time. The result are roots that are clearly too long and twist into one another. Just as often it happens that the plant dies soon due to the excessive concentration of nutrients.
If you sow your own seeds or cultivate in the garden, however, regular repotting or repotting is not necessary. Provided that the lucky clover thrives. Only when the pot becomes too small, the plant restricts surrounding vegetation or a pest infestation is present, a change of soil, container or location is necessary. Of course, such measures are also useful if the four-leaved wood sorrel does not thrive.
The lucky clover can multiply in several ways.
On the one hand, it can be sown by seeds, which can easily be obtained after flowering. This variant is particularly easy. But it is also possible to propagate it by cuttings, or subsidence, and by division.
For the division, the lucky clover must be dug up and the roots divided as evenly and gently as possible. Then the halves of the plant created in this way are planted separately from each other.
In the variant with cuttings, individual leaves are cut off with the longest possible stems and either placed in water or placed directly in potting soil.
The sowing of the lucky clover
All that is needed to sow the lucky clover is a few seeds, which can be obtained from the flowers of an existing plant or, of course, purchased in stores.
Due to the undemanding nature of the lucky clover, no special features need to be taken into account here. The seeds can be applied to special potting soil at a short distance or placed directly on commercially available potting soil. Be covered with a thin layer of the chosen substrate.
Then they are poured on abundantly. To accelerate the growth, a transparent film can be applied.
Helpful hints for sowing lucky clover:
- The ideal time to sow indoors is autumn
- If possible, place seeds in pots
- Keep the pots very light and warm
- keep moist
- If foil is used as a planting aid, lift it briefly every day and ventilate the seedlings
- The young plants can be moved outside in the following spring or summer
Typical diseases and pests
As already mentioned, the lucky clover is extremely easy to care for and resilient. These properties also apply to diseases and pests. The four-leaved wood sorrel shows parasites such as aphids and spider mites only very rarely .
Viruses and bacteria are just as rare. Only mold and rot can occur. These infestations are in any case due to excessive watering, waterlogging, lack of ventilation or poor substrate. If these mistakes are not made in care, a disease caused by fungi is not to be expected.
However, should it ever happen, the substrate must be completely replaced. Roots and bulbs should also be rinsed and then dried before they get into fresh soil.
However, if the bulbs and roots are heavily infested, show deposits or are already decomposing, the lucky clover can no longer be saved. It is then only possible to cut off healthy shoots and grow a new lucky clover from them.
Winter in a pot
If the lucky clover is cultivated in a pot, there are two options to choose from for wintering.
On the one hand, it can remain in the room as normal. This is especially useful if the leaves remain green. This is usually the case when the lucky clover was only bought in winter – i.e. grown under artificial light. If the lucky clover has already lived through a normal annual cycle with sunlight, however, it will show brown leaves in autumn. The plant visibly prepares itself for the following winter dormancy.
In this case, watering should first be significantly reduced, and fertilizing should even be stopped completely. If the leaves are dry or withered, they are cut off completely. The lucky clover is now moved to dark winter quarters. This should be cool but completely frost-free. Here the four-leaved wood sorrel is undemanding. He can even spend the winter in a storage room or a largely unheated room.
Watering should be carried out extremely sparingly during this time, if at all necessary. In the room culture, the pots can be lighted up again from February and watered as usual.
Wintering with open planting in the garden
If the lucky clover is free in the garden or in a pot or bucket on the balcony, it should be moved indoors in autumn. Although it survives mild winters, in which the temperatures do not fall permanently below -10 ° C – with these conditions, however, a new problem emerges.
Because if the lucky clover is not damaged by frost, it will spread furiously. As a single plant in a pot or tub, this only means that it has to be repotted more often. However, free in the garden, this growth quickly turns it into a weed that negatively affects other plants.
In any case, it is advisable to move the four-leaved wood sorrel to winter quarters. To do this, the onions are dug up. The green that has already dried up in autumn is completely removed. Then the onions can be stored in a dark and dry place.
They can be replanted after the last frost in spring, usually at the end of May.
Is the lucky clover poisonous?
The lucky clover looks pretty and is symbolically intended to ensure more happiness, but the four-leaved wood sorrel appears less happy when it comes into direct contact with the sap of the plant or even when it is consumed. Because the leaves are poisonous and already have an irritating effect on the skin. Accidental ingestion can result in diarrhea, vomiting and other symptoms of intoxication. This can even lead to life-threatening conditions, especially in small and sensitive people and animals. Therefore, children and pets should be kept away.
It is also advisable to wear gloves when directly treating or digging up the onions. This prevents the irritating sap from getting onto the skin.
Garden, balcony or room – as long as the lucky clover receives sufficient sunlight, it is a decorative plant in any place. In addition, it is so undemanding, easy to care for and robust that even newcomers to the field of plant care can easily cope with the four-leaved wood sorrel. The lucky clover even rewards patience with care with beautiful flowers.