Sun Star – Wilting

Q: A few weeks ago, my friend bought me a small Sun Star from the grocery store. I have watered it sparingly, maybe 3 times per week. It is now slowly wilting. Any suggestions?

A: Sun Star (Ornithogalum dubium), also known as chincherinchee, is a very attractive blooming houseplant. It can grow outdoors in the extreme southern United States but not here. Even though you watered only three times a week, my bet is that the soil is too moist. This often leads to root rot. If it is not too far gone, remove it from the pot, wash soil from the bulb and clip off any brown, rotten roots. Repot it in soil designed for cacti.

As with most houseplants, the best way to determine when to water is by sticking your finger into the soil. If it is dry when withdrawn, water the plant. If the digit is damp, leave it for another few days before checking again.