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

Orange Star Plants
orange star
(Image credit: Gardening Know How, via Nikki Tilley)

The orange star plant (Ornithogalum dubium), also called star of Bethlehem or sun star, 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. Keep reading to learn more orange star plant information.

Growing Orange Star Plants

Growing orange star plants is very rewarding and not at all difficult. The plants are compact, rarely growing over a foot (31 cm.) tall. In the spring, they put up taller stems that produce dazzling orange flowers that bloom over the course of one to three months.

The plant comes back from bulbs each spring, but the bulbs can easily rot if they become waterlogged. If you plant your bulbs in a sandy or rocky area and you live in zone 7 or warmer, the bulbs will probably be fine overwintering outside. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to dig them up in the fall and store them indoors to be replanted in the spring.

NOTE: All parts of the orange star plant are toxic if ingested. Take care when growing these plants around young children or pets.

Caring for an Orange Star Plant

Caring for an orange star plant is not difficult. Orange star plant care is based around keeping the bulb moist but not waterlogged. Plant your bulbs in a well-draining, sandy soil and water regularly.

Ornithogalum orange star grows best in bright, indirect sunlight.

Deadhead individual flowers as they fade. Once all the flowers have passed, remove the entire flowering spike from the main body of the plant. This may seem drastic, but the plant can handle it. Just don’t cut back the foliage, continue to water it, and let it die back on its own. This gives the plant the chance to store up energy in its bulb for the next growing season.

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Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.