Plant of the Week - Star of Bethlehem


Okay, our plant pick of the week was chosen mostly because of the name, also because of its beautiful flowers, and it seems to be showing up in several catalogs or brochures promoting flowering baskets or arrangements that can be purchased / sent to someone as a gift for the holidays.It’s Ornithogalum umbellatum, or more commonly known as ‘Star-of-Bethlehem’.Planted as a bulb, this member of the Lily family sends up tufts of 6-8’ long bright green leaves (white line down the midrib) in late winter / early spring.Several weeks later, they send up 6-10” multi-flowering spikes that may have as many as 15-30 white, six petaled star like blooms (they also have a green band on the undersides).It really is a tremendous groundcover show!BUT, here is the kicker.Someone once said, “to intentionally plant Star of Bethlehem in the garden is to flirt with danger.”You see, they can spread by both seed and bulblets, which can become invasive, and for strange reasons, also begin to show up in unwanted areas of other gardens…both yours and the neighbors.So if you purchase or receive one of the mixed flowering baskets that contain Star of Bethlehem, you may want to just leave it in the basket, and enjoy its beautiful white flowers there.Think twice about actually planting them in the ground…unless you like aggressively takeover plants. J_