Orange Star Plant (Ornithogalum dubium) is a beautiful perennial flowering plant; its other names are the sun star plant or the star of Bethlehem. They originate from South Africa and last a long time. You need to know how to maintain and care for this plant properly.
The star of Bethlehem can grow up to 20 inches tall and is from the Asparagaceae family; that’s right, it is from the same family as the common asparagus. Unfortunately, all parts of this plant are toxic when eaten, so keep it away from children and pets!
Potting this plant or growing it in a container is really easy since it has bulbs. With the right care and maintenance, Orange Star Plant can grow up to 30 years or more! Some cultivars of this plant have white flowers.
Orange star plants require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. If this condition is not met, your beautiful orange sun star will not grow. In very hot climates, shade your plants from the afternoon sun in the summer. Otherwise, the sun can burn the sun star plants’ leaves.
Orange star plant grows best in USDA zones 7-10 but can be grown indoors in colder climates. Make sure to add mulch in Zones 3-6. Keep the plant in temperatures 60-80 °F (15,6-26,6 °C).
Sun star plant’s bulbs can rot easily; overwatering is definitely a problem with this plant. The right time to water this plant is when the top layer of soil is completely dry when grown in containers or indoors.
Sun star plant’s bulbs can rot easily; overwatering is definitely a problem with this plant. The right time to water this plant is when the top layer of soil is completely dry. When grown in containers or indoors, be careful; if the soil dries out completely, your stunning orange beauty might not survive. Use a pot with drainage holes if growing indoors.
Soil & Fertilizer
Orange star plant demands remarkably well-draining soil, do not plant this flower in clay soil. If that’s all, you have around, amend the soil with sand (which contains perlite) and mix it with compost. The star of Bethlehem does need some fertilizing; use a bulb-flower-focused slow-release liquid fertilizer, a small dose every week.
Sun star plants can be propagated via offsets or seeds. Offsets are the little bulbs connected to the main bulb. Remove the offsets with a sharp tool, plant the offsets where you want your new plant to grow, and replant the main bulb. Water the soil more than usual (the top layer can’t be dry, but not completely wet) until the Orange Star Plant is established. In warmer climates (USDA 7-10), you can plant in the fall or year-round. In colder climates, plant them as annuals in early summer or late spring.
Common Problems and Last Tips
Thrips are tiny insects with wings, and they enjoy infesting the sun star plant. From afar, they look like black spots. If some branches have many black spots, it’s best to remove that part completely. If there are a few, you can use water or insecticidal soap. To prevent thrips, remove weeds often.
Other pests for these plants are not known. However, root rot may happen easily if overwatered. Powdery mildew can also happen in very humid climates. To ensure a very long life, prune and divide the offset bulbs when it becomes too crowded. When leaves turn yellow before overwintering, it is a good time to prune. Doing this will help the plant store energy for the next year.