Ornithogalum

This beautiful, assertive flower will spread without any struggle.


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The starry white blooms of this European native are commonly called star-of-Bethlehem (shown with Spanish bluebells). Approximately 100 species of ornithogalum exist, many of which go by this common name. Plant height varies by species, and some grow as tall as 3 feet. The flowers, however, are similar, with six delicate petals fanned out to expose six stamens. Star-of-Bethlehem is a good choice for naturalizing because it spreads assertively and holds its lovely blooms for 1 to 2 weeks.

Discover another beautiful bulb, leucojum.

Latin Name: Ornithogalum nutans Common Name: Silver bells Zone: 6-10 Description: Blooming in the early spring, the hardy Ornithogalum nutans produces single stems covered with 2-inch blooms. This variety does extremely well in partial shade and grows to 2 feet tall.

Latin Name: Ornithogalum thyrsoides Common Name: Chincherinchee, wonder flower Zone: 8-9 Description: The late-spring blooms of chincherinchee are delicate and star-shaped. Crowned atop a 6- to 18-inch-tall plant are 12 to 30 clustered blooms. Excellent as a cut flower, O. thyrsoides also is fragrant.

Latin Name: Ornithogalum umbellatum Common Name: Star-of-Bethlehem Zone: 5-10 Description: Excelling in both full sun or partial shade, O. umbellatum grows 8 to 12 inches tall and produces spikes of clustered blooms in spring. Lovely star-shaped blossoms are as fragrant as they are delicate. Ornithogalum bulbs and shoots have the added benefit of being impervious to rodents. They are good plants for rock gardens and spread aggressively.

Location: Full sun or part shade When to plant: Fall General Instructions: Plant bulbs 3 to 4 inches deep and 2 to 3 inches apart. A great choice for woodland gardens, ornithogalum naturalizes easily. In fact, bulbs multiply quickly and the plants self-sow readily, so you may want to limit their territory. Although propagation is unnecessary, you can lift plants following their bloom period and remove the small bulbs growing around the larger one. Replant the small bulbs immediately in another spot.

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