HOW TO CARE FOR ORNITHOGALUM DUBIUM (ORANGE STAR PLANT)

Ornithogalum Dubium is also known as the Star of Bethlehem, Sun Star, and the Orange Star plant, a name given to them due to their beautiful star-like appearance and orange petals. The Orange Star is a flowering plant species from the Asparagaceae family, native to the Cape Town region of South Africa. This beautiful species has also won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. This small-sized shrub flowering shrub is a perfect choice for your indoor decoration, its flowers will add beauty and pleasant fragrance in the environment.

Their flowers grow in clusters, making it appear like a natural flower bouquet. Apart from their beautiful flowers, their dark green leaves are also beautiful. The Orange Star plants can only grow up to 20 inches tall. They are grown from the bulb, once you have planted them, they will regrow again and again from these bulbs. The Orange Star plants are purely ornamental and grown for their beautiful orange flowers.

Growing Conditions and Requirements

Due to their small size, they are considered a perfect fit for indoor pots and planters, but you can also grow them in outdoor gardens. They grow very well in the well-draining soil, slightly sandy or loam soil is considered best for them.

The Orange Star plants like to be under the full sun for most of the day. If you want to grow them indoors you will have to provide them a sufficient amount of light otherwise you might not see a long-lasting bloom. They grow very well in slightly hot and humid conditions.

You can also grow them in cold areas but you will have to protect them from the cold and frost, as they are not cold hardy. Proper watering and the use of fertilizers can help you get a better and long-lasting bloom.

Below are the details about the growing conditions and requirements for the Orange Star plant.

Water Requirements

Most of the gardeners advise that you should water them once the upper two or three-inch layer of soil has dried. In some areas and certain conditions, you can water the Orange Star plants once a week but in extremely hot areas, you might have to water them twice every week during the summer.

As they are not drought-tolerant plants, so you must not keep them in dry conditions, this can lead to slow growth and sometimes the death of the plant.  They also do not like wet conditions all the time.

Watering of Orange Star plants is dependent on their age, size, season, and area. Below are the proper guidelines for watering them:

  • Before watering them, make sure that almost two inches of the soil in the pot is dry, you can dip your finger to check for moisture. If the upper two-inch layer of your plant’s pot is dry, you can water them.
  • Small plants and plants in the planters need more frequent watering as their roots are small and they cannot access the water from the deep soil. Especially the plants in the planters require proper and scheduled watering.
  • Their watering is based on their age, when you have planted them you can water them at that time and then wait for the soil to show the signs of dryness. They are mostly propagated from the bulb divisions; these bulbs need slightly moist soil to grow. You need to be careful while watering these bulb divisions because they can die due to overwatering.
  • During hot summer days, they need more frequent watering. This is because these days, water quickly evaporates and the soil becomes dry very quickly. This dryness is also harmful, so you must keep watering them and do not let the potting soil completely dry.
  • Adult plants in most of the hot areas require watering once a week. During the summer, you can increase the watering for the outdoor plants. But indoors you can keep following the normal schedule.
  • When watering them, make sure that almost half of the potting soil has become wet. This method of wetting half potting soil will help you avoid the disasters of overwatering.
  • In the cold area, they are mostly kept inside to protect them from the cold and frost. They need less frequent watering when they are planted in the very cold areas, watering them once every 10 days is considered the best approach.

A watering schedule can be prepared based on their age, the height of the plant, placement (planter or direct in the ground), seasonal and geographical factors. In most of the areas watering them once every week is enough.

Lighting Requirements

Orange Star plants need full sun to properly grow and thrive. They produce more flowers when they are grown under direct sunlight. In hot summer days, when the sunlight is extreme, they need shade. You can grow them in a place where they can get 5 to 6 hours of direct or indirect sunlight.

In the gardens, do not plant them under the shade of other trees. While in the indoor environments, you can keep them in a place where they can get the required amount of direct or indirect light to properly grow. Keeping them in a window that is facing east, is the best place for their indoor growth. If you can place them near such a window, they will thrive and produce more flowers.

Low light exposure can lead to problems in the plant as well. Your plant will show slow growth, leaves can turn yellow, the flowers can wilt quickly, the flowering season may be short as compared to the plants that are getting full sunlight exposure.

You can protect your plant from all these problems by keeping them in a place where they can get enough light.

Temperature Requirements

The Orange Star plants are not wintered hardy and frost hardy. They do not like to be grown in cold conditions. They need a slightly warm environment to properly grow and thrive. You can grow them in cold regions as well, but you will have to protect them from the frost.

They thrive when the temperature is between 60° to 80°F (16° to 27°C). Temperatures below 30°F are not suitable for their growth. USDA hardiness zones between 7 to 11 are considered the best area for their growth.

Soil Requirements

The Orange Star plants need well-draining soil, a soil that is porous and allows the excess water to quickly move out. This type of water helps protect the roots of the Orange Star plants. You can use both sandy and loamy soils. You can also use slightly acidic or alkaline soil, but soil with neutral pH is best for their growth.

This type of porous soil mostly consists of cocopeat, sand, compost, garden soil, perlite, pumice, and plant fertilizers. These components make the soil porous and also provide nutrition for the initial growth of the plants. To retain some moisture in the soil, you can also add a layer of mulch before plantation.

Fertilizer Requirements

Fertilizers are very important for the proper growth of your Orange Star plants. They help them properly grow and thrive. They also help them retain their flowers or bloom for the long term. General-purpose plant fertilizers and liquid plant fertilizers can be used to boost the growth of your Orange Star plant.

You might know that potting soil and garden soil contains only a limited amount of nutrients in it. Once you plant the Orange Star plants in the soil, they will start extracting this limited amount of nutrients and will start utilizing it for their growth.

Once this limited supply of nutrients in the garden soil or pot soil depletes, your plants will still need nutrients to grow. Then you have to provide them these nutrients in the form of fertilizers. These fertilizers dissolve in the water and become a part of the soil so that plant roots can absorb them from the soil.

how to use the fertilizers?

You can use the fertilizers in three different ways. Each of these methods is related to the age of the plant.

  • In the first method, you mix the fertilizers with the potting soil before the plantation. This method is used to boost the initial stage growth of Orange Star plants. You can take a desired or prescribed amount of fertilizer and mix it with the soil. Then plant the bulbs of Orange Star plants. Once you have planted these bulbs water them so that the fertilizer that you mixed in the soil can dissolve and become available to the Orange Star roots.
  • The second method is mostly used for the outdoor plants, you can also use it for the indoor plants as well. This method involves spreading the fertilizers around the stems of Orange Star plants. This method is used when the plants have gained a significant height. After spreading fertilizers, you can water them.
  • In the third method, you create a mixture of required plant fertilizer with water and then feed this mixture to our plants. This method can be used for all sizes of the plants. You can feed the plants this mixture once a month.

Before applying any type of fertilizer, please read the description and usage guidelines related to the specific fertilizer that you are using. Also, follow the soil test guidelines if you have one. Do not apply fertilizers randomly, this can lead to serious problems, and in some cases, it can lead to the death of the plant as well.

Common Diseases and Pests Control

The Orange Star plants are considered immune to most of the common plant diseases. They do not attract any type of fungus or pathogens. The only problems that you might face are related to the overwatering, overfeeding of fertilizers, low light exposure. These problems can easily be identified by the color of foliage, growth rate. You can easily treat these problems by properly watering them, properly feeding them fertilizers, and avoiding overfeeding.

Low light exposure can be treated by keeping your plants in a bright place so that they can get enough light and thrive. The only severe problem that Orange Star plants face is the roots rotting. This can be due to fungal attack, moisture. Mostly it is seen when you have overwatered your plants. You can easily treat this by properly watering them.

You might also see some attacks from the spider mites and other insects. If your plant is facing any such attacks you can use the pesticides to kill the population as well.

Pruning Requirements

Pruning of Orange Star plants can help you give them the required shape as you want. This will also prevent them from growing wildly. Pruning also encourages the growth of new leaves, buds, and branches of the plants.

You can prune your Orange Star plants before the spring season. In spring they will regain all the lost leaves and other parts. You can easily prune them by cutting the dead, diseased, or out of shape parts of your plant.

Repotting Requirements

The Orange Star plants can quickly outgrow their pots and planters and require repotting. Repotting helps the plant further grow. You can re-pot them once every year during the summer. Before repotting, you need to prepare a new and bigger pot. Fill this new pot with the required soil.

Then uproot the Orange Star plant from the pot, and transfer them into the new pot. Once you have transferred them, provide them water and leave them in a bright place. During the process, make sure you do not damage the roots of your Orange Star plant.

Propagation

The Orange Star plants are mostly propagated with the help of their offsets. These offsets are attached to the base of the plant. You can propagate them by dividing them or separating them from the mature Orange Star plant. Separated offsets then can be planted in the new pots.

After planting them, provide them some water and keep them a bright place. They can also be propagated with the help of their root bulbs. These root bulbs are divided from the mature plant roots and then planted similarly as the offsets.

Growing from seeds:

You can also grow the Orange Star plants from the seeds. The Orange Star plants flowers turn into seeds during the late summer or autumn. These are then collected, dried, and stored. You can sow these seeds during the Summer. Keep the soil in the pots moist where you have planted them. Once these seeds sprout and seedling appear, you can take care of them like a normal plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How to propagate Orange Star Plant:

Answer: You can easily propagate the Orange Star plants with the help of the division of offsets and root bulbs. You can separate the offsets from the mature plants, and then plant them in a new pot. Provide them water and leave them under the full sun. you can also grow them with the help of their seeds.

Question: Why are my Orange Star plant leaves turning yellow?

Answer: Orange Star plant’s leaves can turn yellow if the plant is being overwatered or is not getting enough light. You can treat this by properly watering them according to the schedule and keeping them in a bright place.

Question: How often do you want Orange Star plants?

Answer: In most of the hot and humid areas, you can water them once a week. While in cold regions and during the winter, you can water them once every 10 to 12days. This frequent watering is enough for their proper growth.

Question: Can I grow Orange Star plants outdoors?

Answer: Yes, you can easily grow them in outdoor garden soil or pots. You can plant them in a pot and then keep them outdoors, or plant them directly in the soil. They like to be under the sun, so they will show a boosted growth if grown outdoors.