Plant with orange flowers

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

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 tall. In the spring, they put up taller stems that produce dazzling orange flowers that bloom over the course of 1 to 3 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.

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.

Sun Star, Orange Star Plant Indoors (Ornithogalum dubium)

Planting Instructions

If the plant was purchased in a pot, then it is probably already in a quality potting soil and requires little more than watering and grooming for a while.
If potting a flowering plant to bring indoors or to give as a gift plant, start with a good quality, commercial potting soil. These are usually lighter in weight than topsoil, sterile and pest-free. Many are available with a mild starter fertilizer in the mix.
Select a container with a drainage hole or be prepared to drill holes for drainage if there are none.
Prepare the container by filling with potting soil up to 2” (5cm) from the rim of the planter. Make a small hole in the soil slightly larger than the root ball either by hand or using a trowel. Insert the plant into the hole and press soil firmly around the roots and just covering the root ball. When all the plants are potted, water thoroughly to settle the soil and give plants a good start. Place plant in bright location for best performance.
Repot every 2 years in the same container or in a container slightly larger than the diameter of the roots.

Watering Instructions

Most potted flowering plants prefer consistently moist but well-drained soil. If the soil gets too dry the blooms can wilt and they may not recover. Check the soil moisture with your finger. If the top 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, or plants are wilted, it is time to water.
Apply water at the soil level if possible to avoid wetting the foliage. Water the entire soil area until water runs out the base of the pot. This indicates that the soil is thoroughly wet.

Fertilizing Instructions

Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Determine which application method is best for the situation and select a product with a nutritional balance designed for foliage plants.
Too much fertilizer can damage plants so it’s important to follow the package directions to determine how much, and how often, to feed plants.
Slow-release fertilizers are an especially good, care-free choice for container plants. Follow the product directions for proper timing and application rates.

Pruning Instructions

Remove the flowers as they fade. This keeps the plant looking tidy and may encourage more blooms depending on the type of plant. After flowering many blooming plants make attractive houseplants. Be sure to trim the foliage to maintain the desired size and shape. Occasional trimming encourages the plant to develop more side-shoots and flowers, and reduces the demand for the plant to develop a larger root system. This is important since the roots are in a confined space.
Some plants will re-bloom on their own, but others may have very specific day-length or temperature requirements to flower again. A bit of research may be necessary to determine what is needed to encourage future blooming. Some plants, such as bulbs or perennials, can be turned into wonderful garden additions after the flowers have been enjoyed indoors.

Ornithogalum Dubium adds bright colors to winter landscapes, making it a popular plant throughout the world.

You may hear the plant called by its common names including:

  • The Orange Star Plant
  • Sun Star

More on Ornithogalum plants:

  • Star of Bethlehem
  • Ornithogalum caudatum (Pregnant Onion)

This plant is a late fall or early winter bloomer and belongs to the Asparagaceae family and comes from the Cape Province area of South Africa.

Ornithogalum Dubium is a showy plant producing large clusters of bright orange or red flowers and easy to grow in pots.

Orange Star Plant Care

Size and Growth

The Star of Bethlehem typically only reaches about one foot tall.

It produces a cluster of 12″ to 15″ inch stems.

The stems contain ciliate leaf margins.

Most bulbs produce three to eight leaves, which typically appear yellow-green or green.

Flowering and Fragrance

A cluster of 15 to 20 blossoms appears in the spring.

The flowers are often bright orange or red in color.

Some varieties produce yellow flowers, while a few rare varieties produce white flowers with green or brown centers.

Light and Temperature

This plant is native to South Africa and grows best in warm regions.

It can grow outdoors year-round in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 11.

In areas outside of the Southeast, the Orange Star is grown as a bulb plant or potted houseplant.

It needs full sun, helping to bring out the bright orange colors of the flowers.

Watering and Feeding

Water the plant deeply when the top 2″ to 3″ inches of soil is dry.

It should require watering once or twice per week during the spring and summer and less frequent watering during the fall.

During the winter, it only needs water when the plant starts to wilt.

Use slow-release fertilizer for container plants.

Feed the plant every four to six weeks during the spring and summer.

NOTE: Avoid using too much fertilizer.

An abundance of fertilizer can damage the plant and keep it from getting essential nutrients.

Soil and Transplanting

  • The Orange Star requires moist soil with good drainage.
  • If the soil becomes too dry, the flowers wilt easily, and the plant may not recover.
  • Transplant container plants as needed, such as when it outgrows its container.
  • Plants should also be repotted every two years to refresh the soil.


Remove wilted flowers to encourage longer blooms.

Trimming the foliage back is also recommended.

Pruning the Orange Star encourages the plant to produce more side-shoots and fuller blooms.

How to Propagate Ornithogalum Dubium

Propagate Orange Star using seeds or offsets.

When the flowers wilt toward the end of summer or fall, the seed pods start to ripen and turn brown.

  • Watch the plant and remove the seed pods before they drop.
  • Use a paper sack to collect the pods and allow them to dry for about one week.
  • Shake the seed pods and carefully open them to extract the seeds.
  • Fill 6″ inch pots with standard potting soil.
  • Scatter the seeds over the surface and then dust them with a light layer of potting soil.
  • Add a thin layer of gravel on top of the potting soil to lock in moisture.
  • By spring, the seedlings should emerge.
  • Wait until leaves develop before transplanting to large pots.

To propagate the offsets, carefully remove the offsets using a shovel or spade.

  • This works best in the summer or fall when the foliage starts to die back.
  • Separate the clump of offsets into individual bulbs.
  • Discard the dead or withered offsets.
  • Plant the offsets in 6″ inch pots using well-drained soil.
  • The pot should have drainage holes in the bottom.
  • The bulbs should be placed at a depth equal to about twice the height of the bulbs.
  • Space the bulbs at least 2″ inches apart.
  • Keep the pot in a cool area and water regularly to keep the soil moist.
  • New growth should appear by spring.

Ornithogalum Dubium Pest or Disease Problems

While the plant is virtually pest and disease-free, it may suffer from occasional thrip infestations.

Thrips like to feed on the leaves and closed buds and leave tiny black spots.

Use a steady stream of cold water to remove the thrips.

Remove any infested branches.

TIP: Keeping weeds away from the plant may help reduce the risk of a thrip infestation.

Along with pests and diseases, the plant itself may pose a threat.

Ornithogalum Dubium is known to contain poisonous compounds.

The compounds are not a danger to the skin.

The biggest risk occurs when ingesting parts of the plant.

The toxins may cause abnormal heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, dilated pupils, and seizures.

It is rarely life-threatening but requires immediate attention.

Suggested Orange Star Plant Uses

The compact Orange Star is often used as a houseplant to add color to a room.

No matter where it is grown, remember to keep it away from children and pets due to the toxicity of the plant.

How to Care for an Orange Star Plant

An orange star plant is a tropical bromeliad originating from Ecuador. These plants make excellent house plants with their numerous overlapping green leaves coming from a central trunk and then bursting with a bright orange flower. The orange star can add a tropical feel and color to any room in your home. Like any tropical plant, the orange star likes it warm and humid. This plant is easy to grow with minimal care.

Keep your orange star plant in bright indirect light or filtered light. If you are keeping the plant on a desk or in an area that does not have indirect light, keep under fluorescent lighting and check the soil for dryness more often.

Water to keep the soil evenly moist during the spring, summer and fall. Cut back the watering to allow the top of the soil to dry out in the winter. Leave a bottle of tap water out for 24 hours before using it to water the plant. This will allow harmful chemicals and lime to dissipate from the water.

Mist the plant with a spray bottle once a day during the summer and fall. Another way to add humidity to the plant is to set the container on a tray covered with pebbles and water. Do not allow the plant to sit in the water but above it on the pebbles.

Fertilize your orange star with a water-soluble fertilizer once a month from May through October. Use a balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer.

Repot the plant every spring to encourage new growth. Give it a little extra water and hold back fertilizer until the plant has fully adjusted to the new pot and soil. You will know that it has adjusted by seeing new growth.

When you’re adding more flowers to your garden space, you’re going to want to add some colorful blooms to your layout that will come up year after year.

I have created a new garden space, and I have decided to make it full of orange flowering perennials. It took me a little bit of time to determine which perennials to plant and which ones would look great together.

This gallery is designed to help you find orange blooms with ease; there are 18 different varieties that you can choose from.

Trollius (Globeflower)

This is a plant that grows best in zones three through six; they prefer partial to full sun and moist soil. Though, too much sun can cause the leaves to fade. With proper care, the flower can grow to be two feet tall. The light orange to yellow blooms can be seen from May to July.

Peruvian Lilies (Alstromeria)

This is a perennial that can have multiple colored blooms, so make sure that yours is orange. It grows well in zones seven to 10 and prefers to grow in slightly acidic soil. It grows in full sun, but in hotter areas, a bit of shade is preferred.

Blanket Flower

The blanket flower is a lovely plant that produces red, yellow, and orange blooms for most of summer and fall. It grows in zones three through 10 in well-draining soil and full sun. These plants will require frequent watering to start, but they do grow best in a hot, dry climate.

Kniphofia (Torch Lily)

This is a unique looking plant that grows in zones five through nine. They can grow to be about five feet tall, and they will attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. They will grow best in full sun, and it is a hardy plant, so it will grow in any soil.


This is a sweet smelling flower that’s great for attracting butterflies to your outdoor space during the summer. When mature, it can grow to be up to four feet tall. It should be grown in full sun and well-drained soil. It can be found in hardiness zones three through nine.

Helianthemum (Sun Rose)

This is a plant with bright orange blooms that will make an excellent ground cover. They grow in zones five through eight, and they need to grow in well-drained soil and full sun. They can tolerate some shade in hotter areas, and they will do well in sandy, rocky soil.

Potentilla (Cinquefoil)

If you are looking for butterflies in your garden, then this is a beautiful plant that has yellow, orange blooms from June to September. It can be found in zones three through seven, and full sun to partial shade is ideal. It can grow to be four feet high and five feet wide.


Seen growing in zones two through eight, this is a plant that can be seen in nearly any zone, depending on the variety that you have selected to grow. Most grow in zones three to nine. They tend to thrive in well-draining soil and full sun, but they do not like high heat.

Mimulus (Monkey Flower)

This plant produces yellow to orange flowers that grow in hardiness zones seven to nine. It prefers full sun and well-draining soil to grow. It only grows up to a foot in height, so it makes a great border plant to place around your garden.


The perfect choice for a rock garden, this is a brightly colored plant with orange blooms that will grow to be up to 18 inches. It can be seen in zones five through nine, and it prefers full sun and well-drained soil. They attract butterflies to your garden as well.


If you like pansies, then this is a plant with orange flowers that has a very similar shape. It grows best in zones three through 10, and it can grow to be three feet tall with a width of about two feet. It grows well in full or part sun and well-drained soil.

Ligularia (Golden-Ray)

This plant, which originates from China, has daisy-like flowers that are orange in color. The plant does best in rich, moist soil, and it prefers to grow in partially shady conditions. They typically do not do well in the afternoon sun. They grow in zones six through eight.

This is a plant that can be seen in zones three through 10, but they tend to do best in the drier parts of the country. An iris needs to have at least six hours of full sunlight a day, and they prefer well-drained soil, so they grow well in slightly acidic clay soil.


Also known as bitterroot, this is a great option that can be used as a groundcover in your garden. Flowers bloom from spring until early summer, and they can be orange, red, pink, or purple. They grow best with full sun and moist soil, but they can also do well with partial shade.

This is a beautiful plant that typically grows in clumps. The flowers are generally orange and yellow in color, and they can be seen most in zones three through nine. They prefer full sun to grow their best, but they will do fine with some shade as well.


Seen growing the best in zones three through nine, sneezeweed is a plant that produces a flower that looks a lot like a smaller orange sunflower. It can grow to be up to 60 inches tall, and it will do best with full sun and slightly acidic soil.

Also simply called mums, these plants will grow best in full sun and well-draining, rich soil. In zones five through nine, the plant can grow to be three feet tall and two feet wide. These plants will need to be watered a bit more than other perennials because they have shallow roots.

Blackberry Lily

A blackberry lily is a unique plant that creates orange and yellow flowers that can grow to be up to three feet tall. They seem to grow best in zones five through 10, and they will do best in partial to full sun and well-drained soil.


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