Care for the Ornithogalum Plant


Ornithogalum (Ornithogalum umbellatum) is a sweet little flower with a sunny disposition that will get along beautifully with plants such as geraniums or hostas, filling in empty spaces and showing the larger plants to best advantage. Ornithogalum, also known as star of Bethlehem, will grow no taller than 4 to 6 inches and will present you with white, star-shaped blooms in late spring. Plant ornithogalum bulbs in autumn.

Step 1

Plant ornithogalum bulbs in a sunny spot where the soil drains well. If necessary, improve the drainage by incorporating 2 to 3 inches of compost, well-rotted manure or shredded bark into the top 8 inches of the soil.

Step 2

Soak the area well. Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch, such as pine needles or straw, if you live in a winter climate where the temperatures routinely drop below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the mulch in spring so the ornithogalum can grow freely.

Step 3

Water ornithogalum during hot, dry summer weather. Ornithogalum is drought resistant and requires little water.

Step 4

Allow the foliage to die naturally in autumn. Don't remove the foliage too early because the green leaves supply nutrients and energy for the next growing season. Remove the foliage when it wilts and turns yellow.

Things You'll Need

  • Ornithogalum bulbs
  • Compost, well-rotted manure or shredded bark
  • Mulch


  • Easy to Grow Bulbs: Ornithogalum Umbellatum (Star of Bethlehem)
  • North Carolina State University: Ornithogalum Umbellatum
  • Michigan State University: Ornithogalum Umbellatum
Keywords: Ornithogalum, star of Bethlehem, plant ornithogalum

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.