Star of Bethlehem is the flower most often purchased for Christmas. Not many people know that this flower can be grown all year round
The Star of Bethlehem – symbol of Christmas
Star of Beth lehem is naturally found in Mexico and Guatemala where it is a shrub with ornamental leaves, growing to a height of about 2-3 meters. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was brought to Europe where it enjoys great popularity especially before Christmas.
Star of Bethlehem is a small pot plant and growsto a maximum height of 50 cm. This flower comes in single and multi-stemmed versions. On each shoot appears an inconspicuous flower, which is surrounded by pinnate leaves colored in:
- dark red,
- cream with a touch of yellow.
The off-top leaves are green in color and are sharply pointed.
Symbol of Christmas
The Star of Bethlehem is the symbol of Christmas. It decorates homes, stores, offices and other places. Unfortunately, it is removed right after Christmas because its leaves wilt and fall off. Contrary to popular opinion, the cultivation of this flower is not difficult, and the plant is not capricious. You just need to take care of it properly.
Choosing the right plant
If you take good care of a Star of Bethlehem but it doesn’t survive beyond the New Year, it means that the plant was bought in the wrong place or was transported in the wrong way from the store. This flower can be found in every supermarket and street stalls during the winter. Unfortunately, although some of them look beautiful, they are not of good quality. The way they are transplanted, guided and transported is often not right.
The important place to buy the Star of Bethlehem
You should only purchase a Star of Bethlehem from an established florist. The owners have trusted suppliers who know how to handle the flowers. This plant tolerates cold very well, but is very sensitive to temperature changes. If it is bought at the bazaar, then immediately after bringing it home, it may begin to lose its leaves – then keeping it until Christmas may be unrealistic.
Transporting the plant properly
The right transport of the plant is extremely important. Star of Bethlehem does not tolerate draughts, so buying it on a windy day will be a bad idea. It also cannot be stored for long periods of time in temperatures below 0 degrees. If you buy it on a frosty day, wrap it in paper and protect it with a plastic bag.
Plant additionally decorated
In order for the star of Bethlehem to enjoy its appearance for a long time, you should buy one that has not been additionally decorated by florists. Very often, florists before Christmas decorate the plant additionally:
- artificial snow,
- gold or silver glitter,
- apples of paradise,
- other Christmas decorations.
Applying all these “decorations” to the flower can seriously damage it, thus it will not be suitable for further cultivation.
Home-growing Star of Bethlehem
Star of Bethlehem is mistakenly considered a capricious plant, which has very high requirements. How should it be grown at home?
Star of Bethlehem needs a bright and warm position, but must not stand near a heater. The plant benefits from diffuse sunlight and a constant temperature of 18-21 degrees Celsius. Star of Bethlehem must be provided with a suitable substrate, it is ideal to mix all-purpose soil with peat (ratio 10:1). The substrate must be constantly moist. If the plant is overdried or overwatered, it immediately begins to wilt.
How to water this plant?
The most complicated procedure in the whole cultivation of this plant is its watering. It needs a lot of water, because it reacts badly to even a slight dryness.
Star of Bethlehem should be watered directly into the pot. If there is excess water in the saucer, remove it as soon as possible. It is a good idea to sprinkle it.
Overwintering Star of Bethlehem
When most of the leaves of the star of Bethlehem have fallen, it should be pruned preferably above the 2nd or 3rd bud on each shoot. Then it should be put away in a place where the temperature will not exceed 15 degrees. In such a place you should keep it for about 6 weeks without fertilizing or watering it. After that time you should repot it into a pot with fresh soil. After repotting the plant should be watered very generously to stimulate growth. The first fertilization should only take place after a few weeks.
Star of Bethlehem will bloom again if it is given a stimulating flowering treatment from November onwards. The plant must be kept in complete darkness for 14 hours a day; for this purpose, the pot is covered with a large cardboard box and light is only allowed in for 10 hours a day. Thanks to this, it begins to discolor and is properly stimulated to flowering again.
Proper care of Star of Bethlehem will allow you to enjoy it all the time.