The annual plant called Sun Star is cultivated for its vivid orange blossom, which resembles a daisy. It has unusual petals that are yellow at the bottom near the stew and then transition into hues of oranges at the central crown. They have bright orange flowers, which is why it is also called orange star. It may reach heights of 3 to 5 feet. Sun Star blossoms may endure up to two weeks in warm conditions, but they will wither away in colder climates.
Originating in South America, sun star plants are now common in Europe, Australia, and the United States. They thrive with proper watering, full sun exposure, well-drained soil with organic-rich matter, and regular feedings of fertilizer or compost.
Introduction to the Sun Star Plants
Table of Contents
Before we learn more about orange star plant care, we should learn more about the origins of the sun star plants.
The Kurume hybrid developed from Japanese mountain azaleas is called the “Sun Star.” It may reach heights and widths of 6 to 10 feet and produces reddish-purple and bright orange flowers.
It is part of the Asparagaceae family, also called the ornithogalum dubium. It is part of the genus Rhododendron, which has between 500 and 900 species, including both azaleas and what we typically refer to as the orange star plant.
Many are deciduous types with some evergreen plants too. They are mostly from the Northern Hemisphere; the Himalayas, western China (Burma), and Myanmar have large populations. Evergreen sun star varieties are planted for their eye-catching spring blossoms and lovely winter leaves.
Sun star plants have only five stamens, but true sun star rhododendrons have ten in each blossom. There are many hybrid varieties as a consequence of extensive hybridization. The broad and tiny-leafed evergreen rhododendrons and the deciduous and evergreen sun star azaleas are noteworthy for gardeners in chilly temperate regions.
Evergreen sun star azaleas typically grow to three to five feet as multi-stemmed plants that emerge from the ground. They aren’t as winter-hardy as deciduous azaleas and keep their leaves all year. Winter cold could cause sun star flower buds to freeze and leaf burn, decreasing or preventing blossoming. Typically, the color spectrum ranges from white to pink, lavender, crimson, and purple.
Greek terms rhodo, which means rose, and dendron, which means tree, are used in the genus name. It is adapted from the Nerium oleander’s Greek name.
Orange Star Plant Care
Like any plant, the sun star plants need you to focus on potting soil, essential nutrients, direct sunlight, watering, and keeping it disease free. Here are some tips to keep in mind to take care of your sun star bulbs.
Place and Lighting
For high-quality development, one or two hours of direct sunshine are ideal. Never place the sun star plant in a dark area since it increases the risk of bacterial infections like a basal collapse for such a lovely specimen.
The quantity of sunshine received per day determines the frequency of watering; those in indirect sunlight must be watered significantly less frequently, while those in full sun need you to water regularly. We advise placing your orange star plants in a northeast, north, or northwest-facing window and a partially shaded porch or conservatory for optimal results.
During the growing season and flowering phases, the sun star plant thrives in strong direct sunshine. Consider putting the sun star plant underneath fluorescent lights if you keep it as a container plant on a desk or indoors where there isn’t any harsh indirect light.
Image Title: Watering the sun star plant
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Between waterings, make sure a third of the potting soil is dry soil; in late fall and winter, decrease this more. During this time, the orange star plants’ foliage starts to fall, typical for specimens at that time of year.
A weaker stem with a lack of blossoms, stunted growth, and the greying or yellowing of leaves are signs of under-watering; these problems are sometimes caused by forgetfulness or exposure to excessive heat or sunshine.
Yellowing of the leaves, withering, plant death and basal collapse are signs of overwatering; these problems are often brought on by an area that is too dark, too much moist soil, a compost mixture that is too water-retentive or waterlogging.
An orange star plant may be kept in a room with average humidity levels since excessive humidity and inadequate air circulation can cause powdery mildew. Not misting the flowers can prevent botrytis petal blight, which may swiftly develop if left untreated.
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The sun star plants need well-draining soil that is porous and allows the extra water to drain off swiftly. When picking out the pot size, look at the drainage holes. They may flourish in loamy, acidic, alkaline, or sandy soil.
Nevertheless, neutral pH conditions are optimum for them. Sand, perlite, garden soil, coco peat, essential nutrients, compost, and pumice make up the ideal porous soil for growing sun star plants. These components both make the soil permeable and provide vital nutrients for development. To maintain the soil moisture, you may also lay mulch on top.
Use a potassium-rich fertilizer at biweekly intervals to extend the blossoms over the holiday season; a great example would be Tomato Feed. For example, regular fertilizers like BabyBio or Miracle-Gro will still work but will encourage foliage development when the sun star is actively growing. A “Houseplant” fertilizer may be added to the plant every month throughout the remainder of the year to enhance new growth.
Remember, too much fertilizer can shock and burn the orange star plant.
Requirements for Potting and Repotting
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Image Alt Title: repotting sun star plants
Image Description: creating peat moss for sun star plants
The sun star plant will flourish if you place it in window boxes, container pots, flower pots, or hanging baskets using your preferred growth material.
Repotting the plant into a bigger container with more fresh compost and soil is necessary to ensure adequate drainage when the plant becomes too big for the container (often when the roots fill up the pot).
The fact that Sun Stars don’t get root-bound quickly means they may be kept in pots for a long time without being concerned about their size.
Growing them in garden beds is best avoided since they could exceed the area too. They might even start to affect the other plants in the area.
Sun star plants prefer to stay in their roots and produce smaller blooms rather than being transplanted into bigger pots in the soil.
But it might be time to change if you see sun star roots pushing out from the drainage holes. However, you must be careful since they don’t like the move.
Remove the orange star plant from its pot and check the roots before repotting it. You will need to cut back any huge plants that have pushed their way up the edges of the pot or into the drainage holes.
By doing this, drainage will improve, and under-watering issues will be less likely to occur in the following early summer.
Sun Stars should not have more potting soil added at their base while repotted since this might cause root rot in hot, humid conditions when they actively produce new leaves and roots.
Clear away enough vegetation to reveal most of the plant’s stem, then firm the surrounding earth with the hands until it is level with the pot’s edge.
Sun Stars need water to survive, even though they like scorching summer days and chilly nights. Its leaves will start to yellow and wilt if the weather becomes too dry for an extended length of time. Sun Stars plants have shallow root systems and struggle in moist soil; therefore, give them a light shower or mist regularly to keep the soil moist but not completely watery.
Ideal Pot Size
A container that can fit the orange star plants’ roots is the ideal size for planting Sun Star plants. It’s crucial to repot the plant in a larger pot to prevent the roots from sprouting outside the container.
Propagating the Star Plant
Sun Stars may be multiplied in several ways, such as through seedlings, division, and rooted stem cuttings.
The most typical method involves scooping up the plant’s primary roots with a shovel or spade, pushing it apart until entirely split, and leaving as much soil in place as you can while doing so. Splitting the crown into portions should happen on a hot summer day.
This will allow you to keep the plant for many years and produce at least 4 to 6 new plants.
Obtain fresh seeds harvested from flower heads after they are dried up in late summer or early autumn if you don’t have time to clone new plants.
Collect the seeds when the orange star plants’ blossoms turn brown and dry during late summer or early fall. Since the seeds could ripen and fall to the ground, keep a constant eye on the plant. If you collect the seeds some days early, place the pods in a paper bag and shake them to separate the seeds from their pods. This will allow the pods to dry for approximately a week. These seeds will stay alive for many years if stored in a cold, dry environment after being sealed within bags.
Set the bags on bathroom or kitchen countertops where they will get humidity and heat from lighting, cooking, or hot water pipes for approximately two months till new leaves appear. Once all threat of frost has gone, put the freshly transplanted seedlings outside in 4′′ pots so that they don’t become too big.
Problems with the Star Plant
Azaleas and rhododendrons are prone to several pests and disease issues. Some nuisance insects are aphids, lace bugs, borers, leafhoppers, caterpillars, nematodes, mealybugs, thrips, scales, and whiteflies. Mites could also show up.
Disease pests include blights, crown rot, canker, root rot, leaf gall, rust, powdery mildew, and leaf spots. Chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves) is sometimes a sign of an iron shortage in the soil, frequently brought on by an excessively high soil pH. Nevertheless, a healthy star plant should have a few issues if given the right conditions and care.
Diseases like leaf spots and rust are sporadic issues. All leaves with tan or brownish patches should be removed and disposed of in sealed plastic bags. Use rubbing alcohol to clean pruning tools by wiping them down or immersing them after each cut.
Debris in the plant’s soil should be removed since it may contain rust or leaf-spot fungi. As per the University of California, although unattractive, the illnesses seldom cause enough harm to need fungicidal therapy.
Pruning Orange Star Plants
Trim off each bloom cluster at the tall stem base as it starts to fade. The leaves of the sun star continue to photosynthesize food that the bulb will store for the winter. Summer advances, and the orange star plant leaves start to turn yellow. The fading foliage eventually begins to wither away.
Trim the leaves at the base after they have died. For plants to maintain adequate food reserves for optimal development, the University of Illinois Extension advises letting the foliage on till it naturally dies down.
To cut the leaves and stems, use sharp, clean stem cutters. To prevent illness transmission, sanitize the cutters with rubbing alcohol between cuts. When pruning, put on waterproof gloves to shield the skin from the sap of the sun star, which might irritate it.
Top Advice and Information
- Place the specimen in a well-lit area with little direct sun. Shorter blooming durations and basal collapse are far more likely to occur in plants maintained in intense shadows.
- During the blossoming period, let the top third dry out between watering. To maintain its dormancy, decrease this somewhat in the fall and winter. This may then encourage a fresh display of flowers the following growing season.
- Based on the season, fertilize with a feed labeled “Houseplant” about once every two to four weeks. Fertilizing the soil will make the blossoms last longer.
- Be on the lookout for basal collapse, which may be brought on by excessive watering and potentially insufficient light.
- Keep looking for Spider Mites that may reside in the foliage’s crevices.
- Don’t panic if the specimen starts losing leaves in the last summer or early fall. Most of the foliage on orange star plants will die until the following spring when it enters a dormant condition.
The Sun Star Plant is a gorgeous specimen of yellow flowers that can look lovely indoors and outdoors. You must do some key things, such as slowly water and take care of side shoots and the potting mix to ensure it is healthy and happy.