Ornithogalum Planting Guide

What a Mouthful!
Ornithogalum dubium and O. arabicum are names that don't exactly roll off the tongue like, say, rose. They are, however, easier to care for than roses for those fortunate gardeners who live in warm weather areas. No thorns, black spot, mildew or insects. And as for vase potential, ornithogalum are outstanding as dazzling cut flowers, lasting 1-3 weeks in an arrangement. We aren't suggesting that you abandon your roses. Instead, that you find a spot for a few of these and see why many believe they are amazing sleeper plants just waiting to be discovered.
PLANTING
DEPTH

3" Inches

WATER
QUANTITY

Light to moderate during active growth

SUNLIGHT
QUANTITY

Full sun to partial shade

PLANTING
PROXIMITY

3-8" Inches Between
Planting

Outdoor Beds
  1. Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2-3 inches to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available.
  2. Site your ornithogalum where they will get full day sun.
  3. Dig holes and plant the ornithogalum bulbs 3" deep and 6" apart. The bulbs look like small onions. Plant them with the pointed ends facing up.
  4. After planting, water well to settle the soil around the bulbs. Roots, and sometimes small sprouts, form in the autumn. Flowers will develop in the spring.
  5. When in bloom, feel free to cut ornithogalum flowers for bouquets. This will not hurt the plants and these are very long lasting cut flowers.
  6. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. Water as needed during active growth periods; about 1" of moisture per week is a good estimate.
  7. Later in the summer the leaves will yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy. Foliage may be removed at this point. Your ornithogalum will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.
Pots, Barrels, Tubs & Urns
  1. Fill your containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; ornithogalum bulbs must never sit in waterlogged soil or they will rot.
  2. Site your containers where they will receive full sun.
  3. Plant your ornithogalum 3” deep and 5” apart for the most brilliant display. The bulbs look like small onions. Plant them with the pointed ends facing up.
  4. After planting, water well to settle the soil around the bulbs. Roots, and sometimes small sprouts, form in the autumn. Flowers will develop in the spring.
  5. Enjoy your flowering containers, snipping a few flowers if you like. This won't hurt your plants and ornithogalum are very long lasting in a vase.
  6. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year's show.
  7. Later in the summer the leaves will yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy. Foliage may be removed at this point. Your ornithogalum will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.