Ornithogalums thyrsoides are robust perennials native to South Africa producing sword-shaped basal leaves on tall, slender stems that will dry and shrivel as spikes of white cup-shaped flowers begin to open in late spring and early summer. Equally suited for the front of the border, rockery and container, these florist favourites make great companions for grasses, gladioli or lavenders. They are beautifully scented and have a long vase life.
Plant around 7.5 cm deep in moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun — allowing between 50 and 75 bulbs per square meter — and water freely during growth. Feed every couple of weeks with high potash feed; if you garden organically, liquid seaweed is ideal as it is organic and comes from a sustainable source. Feel free to remove the leaves once they turn dry and straw-like. Protect from frost and keep dry during dormancy.
Always unpack on arrival and store in cool place until ready to plant. Take care! Wear gloves when handling and planting ornithogalums as they can cause skin irritation. They should not be eaten as they will cause sever stomach upset.
Potential problems, pests and diseases:
Ornithogalums do not usually suffer from any serious diseases or pest problems. However, slugs and snails can be an issue as they enjoy eating their foliage. To avoid this, provide protection.