Candy Cane Oxalis Flowers Add Holiday Cheer to Summer Gardens

It will add a little holiday cheer to your summer garden.

Fall is the best time for planting most spring-blooming bulbs, so if you want to have tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths brightening up your garden after a long winter, now is the time to start thinking about what you want to plant. While these popular bulbs are beautiful, all sorts of less common bulbs are fun to grow, too. For example, you may not have heard of candy cane oxalis flowers before, but this cute plant produces beautiful white- and red-striped flowers that may remind you of a stick of peppermint candy. And unlike tulips and daffodils, this plant blooms in mid-to-late summer, so it's the perfect way to add a touch of Christmas in July to your garden.

How to Grow Candy Cane Oxalis Flowers

Most companies that sell candy cane oxalis (One bag for $23, K Van Bourgondien) will ship the bulbs in the fall. Plant the bulbs 1 to 2 inches deep in the soil and at least 2 or 3 inches apart from each other. Pick a spot with well-drained soil and full sun to part shade. One of the best things about candy cane oxalis is its versatility; it can thrive in sandy, acidic, loamy, or clay soil. It also stays relatively small and compact: Typically, it'll only reach about 6 to 12 inches tall, which makes it a good choice for planting in container gardens or as a border.

Buy It: Candy Cane Oxalis Bulbs ($13, Michigan Bulb Co.)

Candy cane oxalis is hardy in Zones 7-9, but you can still enjoy them if you live in a colder area. Instead of planting them in the ground, plant the bulbs in containers, then store over the winter in your garage or shed, so the plants are a little more protected from the cold, watering when the soil is dry. Then, move them back outside when the weather heats up again in spring. For bulbs planted outside, it's also a good idea to spread a layer of mulch over them after planting to help insulate them from freezing temperatures.

The trumpet-shaped flowers are the biggest draw for this adorable plant; each white petal is outlined with stripes of deep red. Especially when the flowers are tightly closed and haven't opened much yet, each one looks like a swirled candy cane. Though they don't grow very tall, they can still look gorgeous as cut flowers thanks to their unusual two-tone petals.

Especially if you can't get enough of the holiday season, candy cane oxalis brings some of that same cheer to your garden in the middle of the summer. So if you happily tune in to a Hallmark Christmas movie marathon in July, this plant will be the perfect addition to your yard.

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