Poultry farmer (Ornithogalum): description and care in the garden

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Poultry or ornithogalum (lat. Ornithogalum ) – a plant with high decorative properties, formed from a bulb. Refers to perennials. Belongs to the Asparagus family. It can be cultivated in different climatic conditions. Bred on the windowsill and in the open field. It is valued among gardeners not only for its beauty, but also for its healing properties. It has an unpretentious character, which is rarely characteristic of plants with spectacular flowering.


Poultry farmer is a shrub with a height of 25 to 70 cm. The rhizome is round in shape, with oblong bulbs. At the base of each of them there are thin roots that go deep into the soil. The surface of the bulbs is covered with dense grayish scales 2 mm thick. The diameter of the perennial bulb is 4-5 cm.

Leaf plates develop in the amount of 3-6 pieces in the root zone in spring before bud formation. The leaves are linear, dense, light green, with a white vein in the central part. In some varieties of ornithogalum, leaves develop in the autumn.

Peduncles dense, bare or leafy , appear in early – mid-May. The flowers are star-shaped, pale yellow or snow-white, with a green stripe in the central part.

Buds can develop singly, or be enclosed in racemose and corymbose inflorescences. The flowers of this culture have no smell. Flowering lasts for 20 days. The fruit is a small achene with flattened black seeds.

Species and varieties

The most popular varieties of ornithogalum among domestic gardeners are described below.

Narbonne poultry ( Ornithogalum narbonense ). The plant is 50 – 70 cm high. It has straight stems and erect belt-like bluish-green foliage that develops in the root zone. The flowers are small, white in color, with a thin green stripe in the central part of the petals. Enclosed in inflorescences – brushes in the amount of 30 – 50 pieces.

Arabian poultry farmer ( Ornithogalum arabicum ). A low shrub with straight stems. It grows up to 70 – 80 cm. The leaves are long, dense, light green, form a basal rosette. In the spring, a long shoot with an inflorescence is formed on the plant – a brush. The flowers are large, 5 cm in diameter, with pointed petals, snow-white in color.

Boucher’s poultry farmer ( Ornithogalum boucheanum ). A bush about half a meter high with narrow belt-like leaves developing in the root zone of the plant. Rare leaves are sessile, located on the stem itself. The color of the foliage is rich green. The inflorescence is racemose, consists of 40 or more star-shaped buds of a light blue color scheme. The edges of the petals are slightly wavy.

Doubtful poultry ( Ornithogalum dubium ). A small shrub 50 – 60 cm high with straight stems and a basal rosette of leaves. Leaf blades are broadly lanceolate, narrowed at the top with a pointed end, dense, bright green, with slight pubescence on the surface. Inflorescences can be rich yellow, cream, snow-white.


“Sunshine” is a perennial variety with intense yellow large buds.

“Ballerina” – this culture is suitable for growing in the garden and on the windowsill. Has orange flowers.

Fischer’s poultry ( Ornithogalum fischerianum ). A plant with shoots up to 50 cm long. The leaves are straight, belt-like, bright green, with a pronounced white vein in the central part, smooth, enclosed in a rosette. Racemose inflorescences consist of 10 – 15 small star-shaped flowers of a milky color.

Pontian poultry farmer ( Ornithogalum ponticum ). A large species that can reach a meter height. The leaves are broadly lanceolate, pointed at the top, dense, smooth, light green. The inflorescences are racemose, very lush, consists of 70 – 90 small-sized flowers of a bell-shaped cream shade. In the central part of the petals there is a green stripe.

Saunders’ poultry farmer ( Ornithogalum saundersiae ). Frost-resistant species with large rounded bulbs. The leaves are belt-shaped, narrowed at the top, up to 50 cm long, rich green in color. Racemose inflorescences develop on long thin pedicels. The brush contains many small white bell-shaped buds.

Large poultry farmer ( Ornithogalum magnum ). It is a large expressive bush with wide, narrowed at the top leaves of a light green color scheme. In the inflorescence – brush concluded up to 50 snow-white flowers.

After reviewing the photo and description of the bird lily (ornithogalum) of various species and varieties, it will be useful to learn about the reproduction and care of this flower after planting in open ground!

Planting bulbs

In order to get flowering ornithogalums in a short time, gardeners use bulbs. If you plant the seeds of this crop, flowering can be expected only after four seasons. Bulbs are planted in late summer, early or mid-autumn.

For breeding poultry, choose sunny or semi-shaded areas in the garden. Before planting corms, the substrate is well dug up, leveled. The planting material is buried by 7–8 cm. The distance between the bulbs should be 15–20 cm. After planting, the bulbs are sprinkled with a layer of earth, then the plantings are abundantly watered.

Ornithogalum planting material successfully endures the winter. With the onset of spring, young plants form leaves and inflorescences.

Reproduction by seeds

Before sowing, the seeds are stratified for 3 months. To do this, they are removed in a cloth or paper bag and placed in a refrigerator or other cool place. You can plant bird seeds, like bulbs, before winter. So they will undergo a natural stratification. In April – May, the first shoots will appear.

Some flower growers prefer to grow this crop through seedlings. Sowing in this case should be carried out in the first weeks of spring, using containers with a nutritious light substrate.

Plant care is very simple. It is enough to keep them in a bright, warm room, but avoid exposure to direct sunlight. Water when the soil dries out. After the seedlings have formed a third leaf, it must be dived into separate glasses or small pots.

2 – 3 weeks before transplanting into open ground, young plants are hardened, leaving them in the fresh air. Gradually bring the residence time up to 24 hours. Seedlings are placed on the plot in the first half of May, choosing a warm, fine day for this.


Ornithogalum is one of the most unpretentious ornamental crops, which even a novice and lazy gardener can handle. This flower will take a minimum of time and will delight with beautiful delicate buds.

  • Watering. When growing a poultry plant, the plant does not require abundant watering and, on the contrary, reacts negatively to excess moisture in the soil. It should be watered only after the top layer of the earth dries out. Water procedures are recommended to be carried out in the morning or in the evening. Water should be poured under the root, trying not to get on the leaves and buds. After the birdman blooms, watering can be reduced. After watering, one should not forget about loosening the earth around the bush so that a dense crust does not form and air can freely penetrate to the roots. Also during this work, weeds are removed.
  • Topdressing. In autumn, organic matter or nitrogen-containing complexes are introduced into the soil. During the growing season, the plant is fed with mineral compounds. If the soil on the site at the time of planting this crop was sufficiently saturated with nutrients, it will only be necessary to apply fertilizer after a couple of years.
  • Transfer. Since the ornithogalum is a perennial plant, the soil is gradually depleted. For this reason, you need to transplant a flower to another site every 4 to 5 years. Also, a transplant is necessary in order to remove the extra bulbous babies that are formed annually on the plant and take away valuable substances.

Transplant rules:

  1. This work is carried out in the middle of spring or at the end of summer.
  2. The bulbs are carefully removed from the soil and cleaned from the ground.
  3. Small children are separated from the mother bulb.
  4. The bulbs are planted in the places chosen for them on the site.
  5. After transplantation, intensive watering is carried out.
  • Preparing for the winter. When the plant fades, the leaf plates will wither, they will need to be completely cut off. In warm regions and in middle latitudes, the plant does not need shelter for the winter. If, in those places where the birdman is grown, little snow or frosty winters prevail, it is recommended to make a shelter from spruce branches or mulch.

Bulbs of heat-loving species and varieties are dug up for the winter and stored in a cool room with a temperature of 4-10 degrees. You can put the bulbs in a pot of soil and grow on the windowsill. With the onset of spring, land on the site.

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