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Growing Orange Star Plants: Tips On Caring For An Orange Star Plant

By Liz Baessler

The orange star plant is a flowering bulb plant native to South Africa. It?s hardy in USDA zones 7 through 11 and produces stunning clusters of bright orange flowers. Click this article to learn more orange star plant information.

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Growing Orange Star Plants: Tips On Caring For An Orange Star Plant

Growing Orange Star Plants: Tips On Caring For An Orange Star Plant – The orange star plant is a flowering bulb plant native to South Africa. It’s hardy in USDA zones 7 through 11 and produces stunning clusters of bright orange flowers. Click this article to learn more orange star plant information.

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How to Care for a Ornithogalum Dubium Plant

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Bring a touch of Africa to your yard with the brilliant orange Ornithogalum dubium. Commonly called star of Bethlehem, orange star flower, snake flower or chincherinchee, this South African bulb is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zones 7 through 11, and can be enjoyed as a tender bulb or a potted plant elsewhere. The plant grows up to a foot tall and blooms with clusters of 15 to 20 small six-petaled blossoms on 12 to 15-inch stems in spring. Orange star flower makes an attractive rock garden or woodland plant where they can naturalize in a site that receives full sun.

Ensure the orange star is in soil that drains well. The bulb can rot if it stays wet in its winter dormant season. A raised bed, rock garden or sandy soil work best when the plant grows outdoors permanently. Otherwise, lift the bulbs at the end of each season and replant them in the spring, or grow the plant in a pot, which can be stored out of rainy weather over the dormant season. Store lifted bulbs in a mesh bag in a dry, airy environment.

Amend soil with compost at planting time in the spring. Bulbs should be buried 3 inches deep and 3 to 6 inches apart for best performance.

Water the plant so it is moist, but not soggy during the growing season. Feel the soil with your fingers to ensure it is not too wet before watering.

Monitor the plant for signs of thrip infestation during the growing season.Thrips often feed on closed buds and leaves or the undersides of leaves, leaving distorted or discolored leaves and blossoms, and a sprinkling of telltale tiny black dots -- the droppings of the tiny winged insects. Spray the plant with a strong stream of water to dislodge thrips, and prune away and dispose of any infested plant parts. Keep weeds that can harbor thrips away from the plant as well.

Eliminate any leaves or foliage that show signs of rusty brown spots. This is a fungal disease that orange star flowers can contract. Keep plant litter picked up from around the plant to avoid harboring any fungi. Apply a fungicide approved for ornamental plants in severe infestations.

Remove spent flowers as they die back, pulling the spike from the plant once all flowers have faded.

Apply a water-soluble all-purpose ornamental plant fertilizer around the base of the plants when it has completed flowering.

Prune off foliage to the ground only after it has yellowed. Until that point, it still is taking in energy for next season's growth.

Dig up the bulbs and separate offsets to replant in new locations every few years or when blooming or the general health of the plant decreases.

Sun Star, Orange Star Plant Indoors (Ornithogalum dubium)


Bright starry blooms cluster atop narrow leaves for a striking display of bold color and crisp form. Use solo as a centerpiece or arrange amongst a backdrop of foliage plants. Once flowering has ended, reduce watering to a minimum.

A great potted plant for a sunny window or table centerpiece. Makes a nice gift plant!

Plant Feed

Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly.


Allow soil to dry between thorough waterings.

Basic Care Summary

Best in fertile, well-drained soil. Allow soil to dry between thorough waterings.

Planting Instructions

If the plant was purchased in a pot, then it is probably already in a quality potting soil and requires little more than watering and grooming for a while.

If potting a flowering plant to bring indoors or to give as a gift plant, start with a good quality, commercial potting soil. These are usually lighter in weight than topsoil, sterile and pest-free. Many are available with a mild starter fertilizer in the mix.

Select a container with a drainage hole or be prepared to drill holes for drainage if there are none.

Prepare the container by filling with potting soil up to 2” (5cm) from the rim of the planter. Make a small hole in the soil slightly larger than the root ball either by hand or using a trowel. Insert the plant into the hole and press soil firmly around the roots and just covering the root ball. When all the plants are potted, water thoroughly to settle the soil and give plants a good start. Place plant in bright location for best performance.

Repot every 2 years in the same container or in a container slightly larger than the diameter of the roots.

Watering Instructions

Most potted flowering plants prefer consistently moist but well-drained soil. If the soil gets too dry the blooms can wilt and they may not recover. Check the soil moisture with your finger. If the top 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, or plants are wilted, it is time to water.

Apply water at the soil level if possible to avoid wetting the foliage. Water the entire soil area until water runs out the base of the pot. This indicates that the soil is thoroughly wet.

Fertilizing Instructions

Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Determine which application method is best for the situation and select a product with a nutritional balance designed for foliage plants.

Too much fertilizer can damage plants so it’s important to follow the package directions to determine how much, and how often, to feed plants.

Slow-release fertilizers are an especially good, care-free choice for container plants. Follow the product directions for proper timing and application rates.

Pruning Instructions

Remove the flowers as they fade. This keeps the plant looking tidy and may encourage more blooms depending on the type of plant. After flowering many blooming plants make attractive houseplants. Be sure to trim the foliage to maintain the desired size and shape. Occasional trimming encourages the plant to develop more side-shoots and flowers, and reduces the demand for the plant to develop a larger root system. This is important since the roots are in a confined space.

Some plants will re-bloom on their own, but others may have very specific day-length or temperature requirements to flower again. A bit of research may be necessary to determine what is needed to encourage future blooming. Some plants, such as bulbs or perennials, can be turned into wonderful garden additions after the flowers have been enjoyed indoors.

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