The Q&A Archives: Ornithogalum Care

Question: I purchased an "Orange Star" (Ornithogalum) in a 4" pot.
It was already blooming with 3 stems and beautiful
orange blossoms. I live in Zone 4 and would love to be
able to plant this outside, but I have a feeling that
we have too cold a winter. How should I care for this
plant during the year so that it can produce blossoms
every year? Should it be repotted into a larger pot?
How large of a pot? Is it a bulb? Should the bulb be
put in the freezer? Should the foliage be left to die
or will it stay green and living always?

Answer: Ornithogalum are related to lilies, and grow from a bulb. They cannot tolerate frost and should not be grown outdoors in your gardening region. When the flowers are spent, cut down the flowering stalks but leave the foliage alone. The leaves will yellow and die at the end of the season and the bulb will go into dormancy. Leave the bulb in the pot after the foliage dies down and don't water the soil until new growth begins again. Your plant shouldn't need repotting for several years and because the bulbs grow slowly may only need to have the potting soil renewed every 3-4 years.

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