Also known as Stars of Bethlehem, ornithogalums umbellatum are a superb heirloom variety dating back to the fifteen hundreds producing masses of white star-shaped flowers and grass-like foliage. Once commonly found in our woodlands, this lovely variety has sadly declined in numbers. Inexpensive and easy to grow, these spring bulbs will happily naturalise in the border, woodland garden or wildflower meadow. Try mixing with anemones, leucojums, muscaris, narcissi and tulips.
Plant around 10 to 15 cm deep and approximately 10 cm apart in full sun or in dappled shade, preferably in moderately fertile, well-drained soil — allowing for around 50 to 75 bulbs per square meter. Please do bear in mind that if provided with too much shade, the flowers will close. 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 and provide a layer of organic matter in late summer.
Always unpack and plant on arrival. Take care! Ornithogalums umbellatum can be invasive.
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.