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The Shamrock: a 3-Leaf Clover, is Ireland's most recognized National Symbol. Here are some interesting facts about the

In the 5th century when St. Patrick came to convert the Irish information on Christianity could only be spread across the realm from one storyteller, or seanchaí, pronounced shan-a-key to the other.

In mind of this St. Patrick used to the Shamrock to explain the concept of the holy trinity - that God was composed of three entities - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - yet each entity was part of the other just like the shamrock has three leaves but a single stem.

As St. Patrick continued to use the Shamrock in his conversion of the Irish it grew, through storytelling to be seen as a holy plant, just as he was seen as a holy man.

It is for this reason that the Shamrock is worn on the St. Patrick’s day and all other special occasions to celebrate his work and to bring 'a bit o'luck' to the Irish and all their children wherever they may be.

Before the arrival of the Christians to Ireland the plant was sacred to the Irish Druids because the three leaves formed a triad.

The word shamrock comes from the Irish word seamróg or seamair óg, meaning "little clover".

The tradition of wearing Shamrock on Saint Patrick's Day can be traced back to the early 1700s.

For good luck, it's usually included in the bouquet of an Irish bride, and also in the boutonniere of the groom.

In the 19th century it became a symbol of rebellion and began to be strongly associated with Irish identity. Apparently anyone wearing it risked death by hanging. People even ate the shamrock in times of famine.



Which is the True Shamrock? Do you know that there is no such thing as a "Shamrock Plant"? The word shamrock comes from the Irish word seamrog meaning "little clover". However, there are hundreds of varieties of clover. The question is...what is the "Original Irish Shamrock"? No one can agree. Here is what some respected authorities have to say:

"The true Irish Shamrock, as identified by Nathaniel Colgan c. 1893 is a clover. It is not one of any or many clovers, it is one species, collected from a majority of counties at that time and with the exception of a very few plants, the majority were Trifolium repens or a form of this plant - White clover also known as Dutch Clover". ...'From Ireland' © Jane Lyons, Dublin, Ireland

Lesser yellow trefoil (or hop clover) Trifolium Dubium can be found throughout the British Isles. It is an annual plant which grows to 25cm in height, individual yellow flowers are small (around 3 mm).

"White Clover, Trifolium repens forma minus, family Leguminosae, was the original shamrock of Ireland" ...Academic American Encyclopedia, Vol. 17, 1990.

"In Ireland, the plant most often referred to as shamrock is the white clover." ...The World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 17, 1993.

"Those most commonly called shamrocks are: the white clover, Trifolium repens, a creeping white-flowered perennial..." ...Collier's Encyclopedia, Vol. 20, 1992.

"The clovers also occupied a position in the cultural life of early peoples. White clover (T. repens L.) in particular was held in high esteem by the early Celts of Wales as a charm against evil spirits. According to Evans (1957), this pagan tradition was continued by early Christian leaders and became the symbol of the Holy Trinity for the Irish people." ...Clover Science and Technology, N.L. Taylor, 1985.



Growing Instructions Seeds can be sown in small pots or trays using any moist, well drained soil mix. For best results, using a packaged seed is recommended.

Place packet of seeds in the refrigerator (not the freezer) for 24 hours. This tricks the seeds into thinking they have gone through a winter so they will germinate quicker. Select a pot or bowl to grow your seeds in. Pour soil Official Irish Dirt or potting compost to about an inch below the rim. Dampen the soil with water but do not over do it (the extent of watering will depend on whether the bowl or pot has a drainage hole or not - for pots with no hole you should water more sparingly.

After 24 hours remove the seeds from the refrigerator and sprinkle evenly over the top of the damp soil using as many seeds as you see fit. When you have done this, cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and gently press down with the base of a glass or your fingers. Moisten again and place in a bright location within the house but not in direct sunlight.

The seeds will germinate in a few days and seedlings will appear. They will grow quite quickly provided the soil is kept moist. Frequent misting with infrequent watering is the best method of maintaining the soil moist as this simulates rain which shamrocks are well accustomed to in Ireland!

As the seedlings grow, you will notice that two leaves will appear. Have patience and faith, the third leaf of the trefoil will appear a few days after!

The shamrock plants will turn towards the light source quite quickly and it can be fun for kids to turn the pot the other way and watch them twist the other way.

The shamrocks will also fold up their leaves up and go to sleep at night. The plants will continue growing for many weeks and will produce a yellow flower after about 6 to 8 weeks. When the plants get a bit extended by growth, cut them back with a scissors, and if you keep the soil moist they will continue to grow. We hope you enjoy your experience growing shamrocks!

Shamrock Seed Chart


Transplanting: Depending on how you started your seeds, you'll want to transplant to a larger container when roots appear out the bottom of the pot or tray. Be careful not to damage the roots when transplanting. After transplanting continue fertilization as before.



Indoor Care: Keep plants well watered (make sure container drains well) and keep in a sunny location. Continue fertilization as before. Try to keep tips in contact with the soil and remove any damaged leaves. "Runners" that extend over the pot or tray edge can be cut off at the soil surface. "Runners" that grow over the edge will eventually wither and die off if they can't root.



Outdoor Care: Outdoor care is the same as indoor care, except increase the fertilization to the recommended outdoor amount for container plants. Clover can also be planted in outdoor beds.



Seed Storage: If you are storing seed for future planting, seal seed package and store in a cool, dry area. For prolonged storage, you can refrigerate or freeze seeds.



Dormant: They grow tired now and again and begin to look a bit droopy, or even a bit dead; with the leaves turning brown. It's just time for good rest. Stop watering; relocate them to a darker place while the dormant period lasts. Usually occurring a few times each year lasting 2-3 months.



Repot: A good time to repot them would be after they've been dormant for the 2-3 months.

Remember shamrocks do not get along with other houseplants in mixed pots. They are best grown with just other shamrocks all together in a crowded pot.

Shamrocks growing tall and spindly: usually a result of not enough light. It can also happen when they are too warm.

Shamrock leaves are yellowing: Watering too much can make the leaves yellow.



Four-Leaf Clover:

4-Leaf Clover Leaves


How can identify a real four-leaf clover?: A good way of identifying a real four-leaf clover is that the fourth leaf is usually smaller than the other three leaves.

Are 4-Leaf Clovers Shamrocks?: By definition, for a clover to represent the Trinity, it would have to bear 3 leaves. 4-leaf clovers have 4 leaves and therefore can't be considered shamrocks.



Is there 4-Leaf Clover Seed?: 4-Leaf Clover just appear now and then in fields of 3-leaf clover. The odds of finding a 4-Leaf clover are estimated at 10,000 to 1. There is, however, a unique item called 4-leaf clover in a can.



4-Leaf Clover and Luck:

The four leaf clover is a universally accepted symbol of good luck with its origin ages old. According to legend, Eve carried a four leaf clover from the Garden of Eden.

Druids held the 4 leaf clover in high esteem and considered them a sign of luck. In 1620, Sir John Melton wrote: "If a man walking in the fields find any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.

According to Irish folklore, finding a stem of clover with 4 leaves will bring you good luck, but finding a clover stem with more than 4 leaves will not bring you even more luck.

The mystique of the four leaf clover continues today, since finding a real four leaf clover is still a rare occurrence and omen of good luck.



What do the 4 leaves symbolize?:

One leaf is for HOPE... The second for FAITH...
The third for LOVE... And the fourth for LUCK!

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