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Galveston Monthly

Get Lucky with Good Luck Plants

Mar 04, 2020 07:10AM

A popular expression during the month of March is, “may you have the luck of the Irish.” Perhaps that makes this the perfect time to heed the advice of the Irish and select plants that may bring good luck to any island garden.

  As glittering green merchandise floods the marketplace in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, revelers celebrate the Patron Saint of Ireland who converted Irish pagans to Christianity in the 5th century by using the three leaves of the shamrock as a symbol of the Holy Trinity. The three leaves are recognized as symbols of faith, hope and love.

  Shamrock means “little clover” and refers to the white clover species. Lucky Shamrock (oxalis regnellii) has three triangle shaped leaves accented by delicate white flowers in spring. A true sun lover, plant in south-facing location.

  The purple shamrock (oxalis regnellii Francis) displays bright purple triangular-shaped leaves and pink blossoms. Perfect for a container garden, this shamrock thrives in moist soil and indirect bright light; it can also be grown as an attractive ground cover.

  Another purple shamrock (oxalis triangularis) blooms from early summer through frost with white or pink flowers, also sporting the dark purple leaves. It prefers indirect sunlight.

  The leaves of the edible shamrock known as “wood sorrel” or “sour dock” may be eaten raw or cooked as the flowers can be a tasty lemony tang topping for salads.


  The four-leaf clover has become a universal symbol for good luck over many centuries in folklore and in fairy tales. The Druids or Celtic Priests believed that when they carried a three-leaf clover, they could spot evil spirits approaching and would have a chance to escape from any harm that the spirits may convey. Four-leaf clovers served as Celtic charms offering magical protection while warding off bad luck.

  Children in the Middle Ages believed that carrying a four-leaf clover would enable them to observe fairies playing in the forests. Clovers with more than the usual three leaves are genetic mutations of the common species. Approximately one in ten thousand clovers has four leaves so the chance of finding one is rare, thus one might say this is where the “lucky” part originates.

   Shamrocks and clovers are only two choices in the world of lucky plants. Consider the Bells-of-Ireland (moluccella laevis) a summer flowering annual indigenous to Turkey and Syria. Cultivated for its unique spike of shell-like blooms, it is called Bells of Ireland because it represents luck in the language of flowers.

  The tiny white flowers are surrounded by apple green calyces (whorls that form a protective layer around a flower in bud) whereas the leaves are pale green. The blooming stems make colorful and unusual flower arrangements while exuding a spicy-pepper-like scent.

  Another “lucky plant” to ponder is the Iron Cross Begonia (oxalis deppei). The Iron Cross brandishes distinctive, heavily textured, bristly, light green foliage with notched petals showing dark purple bands that resemble a Celtic cross flowing through the four leaflets.

  This easy-to-grow houseplant will summer well out of doors in a shady location and is a knockout specimen plant that displays bright pinkish-white or pale green blooms in summer.

  The Chinese practice of Feng Shui celebrates good luck and good fortune using “lucky plants” in the home. Some plants symbolize abundance and wealth. Examples of these include the Peperomia, a pet friendly, low maintenance houseplant. Placed at the entrance to your home, it is believed to invite prosperity.

  Jade is a Feng Shui superstar thought to keep your home or office space clean as far as air quality. Other Feng Shui cited plants include Lucky Bamboo with an emphasis on the number of stalks rising from the base--two stalks are believed to nourish areas of your life associated with love while three stalks sustain happiness.

  Any of these suggestions will fill a home with lucky greenery and good fortune to follow.


Individual persons of all zodiac signs can benefit from the properties of certain plants that stimulate health, growth, balance and inspiration as well as luck, prosperity and happiness. Following are types of plants that are especially attuned to each sign.

 Aries- Aloe, Begonia, Red Roses, Impatiens

Taurus- Lily, Plumeria, Asparagus, Mint

Gemini-Philadendron, Azelea, Magnolia, Kalanchoe

Cancer- Sage, Canna, Buttercup, Iris

Leo- Hibiscus, Marigolds, Lavender, Pineapple

Virgo- Mango, Pecan, Mulberry, Crape Myrtle

Libra- Jasmine, Gardenia, Apple, Thyme

Scorpio- Pistachio, Black-eyed Susan, Milkweed, Honeysuckle

Sagittarius- Blueberry, Guava, Maple, Bird of Paradise

Capricorn- Croton, Black pepper, Olive, Persimmons

Aquarius- Loquat, Agapanthus, Duranta, Jacaranda

Pisces- Water Lily, Banyan, Cranberry, Bauhinia


 For every lucky four-leaf clover, there are approximately 10,000 three-leaf clovers.

The leaves of four-leaf clovers stand for faith, hope, love, and luck.

It is said that Ireland is home to more four-leaf clovers than any other place.

The fourth leaf may be smaller or a different shade of green than the other three leaves.

The word “Shamrock” refers to a clover with only three leaves.