Gardening

Ornithogalum dubium

The bulbous ones usually have very showy flowers, but the Ornithogalum dubium also has a very high ornamental value. It is very easy to care for, so much so that it can be kept in a pot throughout its life, or in the garden. It is a plant that looks great anywhere.

As if that were not enough, it does not grow much, so keeping it in perfect condition will not be difficult for you .

Origin and characteristics

The Ornithogalum dubium is a bulbous herbaceous perennial native to South Africa. Its bulb is globose, with white to light brown tunics, and linear and narrow bluish-green leaves up to 20 centimeters high sprout from it. The flowers are grouped in panicles, and are composed of six star-shaped petals that are orange, white, or yellow.

Its growth rate is quite fast, and as it is also quite adaptable, it is easy that as the years go by, it will be able to enjoy more and more flowers. But let’s see how to achieve this.

What are their cares?

If you want to have a copy, we recommend you provide the following care:

Location

The Ornithogalum dubium is a bulbous that has to be placed outside, either in full sun or in semi-shade. Indoors it is hard to flourish.

Earth

As it can be both in a container with holes (pot or planter) and in the garden, the soil will not be the same:

  • Pot: it must be filled with a universal growing medium mixed with 30% perlite (you can get it here ). For perfect drainage, it is advisable to put a first layer of clay balls (arlita) (buy it here ) or volcanic sand like akadama (you have it for sale here ).
  • Garden: grows in all types of soils as long as they have good drainage. If the one you have does not absorb the water quickly, make a planting hole of about 30 x 30cm and mix the soil with perlite in equal parts.

Irrigation

As it is a very sensitive plant to waterlogging, it is best to check the humidity of the soil before watering. For this, what you can do is the following:

  • Take a thin wooden stick and put it in the ground: if when you take it out it comes out with a lot of sticky soil, do not water.
  • Dig about 5 centimeters around the plant: this way you will see if it is still wet (it will have a darker color than the surface) or not.
  • Use a digital moisture meter: to be truly reliable it is important that you introduce it both close to the plant and far from it, since the soil does not dry out equally on all sides.
  • Weigh the pot once it has been watered and again after a few days: as wet soil weighs more than dry soil, this difference in weight will guide you in knowing when to water.

Anyway, if you need more help, you should know that it is advisable to water about 3 times a week and every 4-5 days the rest of the year. But when in doubt, wait a couple of days before watering.

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It is important to fertilize it with fertilizers for bulbous plants following the indications specified on the product’s packaging during spring and summer. You can also use compost for flowering, like this one here.

Planting time

The bulb is planted in autumn, in a pot or in the garden. You can do it in winter if you have a room where a lot of light enters naturally, such as an interior patio for example.

Multiplication

It multiplies by seeds in spring and by bulbs in autumn. Let’s see how to proceed in each case:

Seeds

The step by step to follow is as follows:

  1. The first thing to do is fill a seedbed (pot, milk container, glass of yogurt,… whatever you have or can make some holes for drainage) with universal culture substrate mixed with 30% perlite.
  2. Afterwards, it is watered thoroughly, moistening the entire substrate well.
  3. Then the seeds are placed on the surface, leaving a gap of about 2-3 centimeters between them.
  4. They are then covered with a thin layer of substrate and watered again, this time with a sprayer.
  5. Finally, the seedbed is placed outside, in full sun or in semi-shade with lots of light.

They will germinate in 2-4 weeks.

Bulbs

With the passage of time, the bulbs you bought once are coming out. These bulbs can be separated from the mother plant with care when they are the size of a marble or something more, and plant them in a pot with vermiculite (you can get it here ).

So they will come out in spring.

Plagues and diseases

It is very resistant, but you have to be careful because if the growing conditions are not adequate (or if it rains) it can be affected by:

  • Mollusks: snails and slugs eat all the tender parts of plants, and also Ornithogalum dubium. You can avoid it with these remedies.
  • Mealybugs: they can be cottony or limpet-like. They feed on the sap of the leaves, although it can be avoided with an anti-cochineal insecticide or simply cleaning the plant with a brush soaked in pharmacy alcohol.
  • Fungi: if overwatered, the fungi will affect you. Control the risks and, if one day you go overboard, treat it with fungicide.

Rusticity

It supports the cold of up to 0 degrees, but it is better not to drop below 10ºC.

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