The Star of Bethlehem is a beautiful plant that usually has white flowers, but it can also have pink, yellow, orange, or purple flowers. It often grows in clumps, and it tends to propagate at a faster rate than other flowering plants. It can also become overbearing and out feature all different types of flowers you have growing in your garden.
If you are a fan of a full garden, then the star of Bethlehem will be a welcomed part of your garden. However, if left unchecked, it can overtake everything else in your yard, and it will take you forever to get rid of it.
How Does Star of Bethlehem Spread?
The most common way a star of Bethlehem plant spreads is by sprouting from new auxiliary bulbs forming on the plant’s roots. The main bulb can produce at least seven extra bulbs, which in turn propagate new plants.
The new bulbs then produce new auxiliary bulbs of the own, and the cycle repeats itself. Over time, this can lead to ultimate domination. In fact, if left unchecked, the star of Bethlehem can completely take over your garden in less than two years.
Here are some tips on how to get rid of it.
This is the most effective way of eliminating the plant form your garden. To remove the star of Bethlehem bulbs from your garden altogether, you have to dig them up and dispose of them. Do not, under any circumstance, be tempted to compost them. As some of the bulbs may sprout and the nightmare begins again.
Throw them in the garbage for the garbage truck to dispose of at a dumpsite. Go through the dirt after digging them up to ensure you do not miss any bulbs that may grow if returns in the dugout areas.
You will need a gardening shovel or any other garden tool you can use to dig up the soil, a bag to hold all the bulbs you removed from the garden, and the surrounding soil. A bin with wheels or a wheelbarrow to cart the dug up bulbs and dirt to the garbage collection area.
Herbicides are only useful in eliminating the star of Bethlehem if used repeatedly. The reason being they do not have a 100% percent success rate. But if used consistently, they will weaken the plant and prevent it from growing.
The most effective herbicide in the market for controlling the star of Bethlehem infestation contains a chemical compound commonly known as paraquat. It has a 90% success rate. You can also use herbicides that contain glyphosate or 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D). This will kill the plant’s leaves, which decreases the plant’s nourishment capabilities. But they will not harm the bulbs.
Ensure you wear protective clothing while using the herbicides as most of them are toxic. Also, ensure you dilute or apply them as per the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent poisoning your other plants.
How to Prevent Star of Bethlehem from Regenerating
Ultimately, you will have to slot regular digging of your yard into your calendar. This is the most effective way to ensure that leftover bulbs do not regrow. Since the Star of Bethlehem plant tends to sprout in spring, ensure you dig up and remove any new bulbs that may have been missed during your last manual removal.
If you keep at it and still get new growth, you may have to resort to complete yard replacement. This means removing all the soil in your garden that tends to sprout the star of Bethlehem and replacing it with fresh soil and plants. You will have to dig up at least two feet of dirt to ensure all the bulbs are removed.
Ensure you use herbicides regularly to ensure that the new bulbs do not get an opportunity to propagate. Also, avoid watering your yard too often to prevent the new bulbs from growing. Fill in your yard with other plants to reduce the surface area for the new star of Bethlehem growth.
Lastly, inspect any new plants you plant to ensure it does not come with new bulbs that may impede the progress you are making with the manual removal. Also, ensure that plant transplants do not come from affected areas, as this may affect non-infected parts of your garden.
Always uproot new star of Bethlehem plants as soon as they appear. And make a point of manually removing any new bulbs every spring. You should be able to rid your garden of the plant in a few years. It may appear futile, but it is doable.