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Facts about the Clivia

Clivia plants and flowers are very attractive. This flower graces floral gardens in America, Belgium, Australia, China, and, on a smaller scale, gardens in other countries too.

Interesting Facts about the Clivia Plant and Flower

Common Name:
Kaffir Lily and Bush Lily

Botanic Name:
Clivia miniata

The Plant Needs:
Water in spring and summer and shade, mulch, and good drainage in summer

The Plant Hates:
Hot, dry conditions (causes burning or bleaching of leaves), or frost and snow

Best Look:
The flowers look best when planted in clumps beneath a tree. These plants need a shady position, and can be planted on the shaded side of the house.

Lush green foliage all year round. New varieties have variegated foliage which is more disease prone. Other newer species have wider and lusher leaves that add a more fresh feel to the garden.

Miniata, Gardenii and Caulescens seedlings usually flower at three to four years while yellow varieties may require a slightly longer period. ‘Nobilis’ takes considerably longer and can only flower after seven or eight years.

Good Points:
Cut clivia flowers last long. Seed heads after flowering ripen in the following winter and they also look decorative. The plant requires low maintenance for a lush look. It can flourish against the root competition under shallow-rooted palms.

Resting Period:
The plant needs a resting period of about 6 to 8 weeks during winter, for regular blooming. During this time, you should shift clivia to a cold place (between 8 and 10 degrees centigrade). It will require less water and you should not fertilize it during this time.

Flower Colors:
Brilliantly colored flowers―bright oranges, apricots, reds, and yellows are currently very fashionable. Pale cream or white clivias are rare at present. Newer varieties include red-orange flowers and yellow flowers. Bi-colored flowers, for instance orange flower with a strong yellow in the center are also available.

The best time to plant clivia is during spring and early summer; though you may plant them successfully any time throughout the year. The plants should be transplanted during the second half of spring to early summer. The transplanted plants may skip one flowering season, but they may flower the next spring.

Seedlings take about 4-5 years to flower. Try to keep the soil dry in autumn and winter, and water the plant well in spring and summer. A complete fertilizer can be used in spring. You should fertilize the soil once in 2 or 3 weeks in summer. Dead head of the flower can be removed or left as it is, for the formation of seeds.

Best Climate:
These plants are grow in a wide range of climatic conditions, but you need to offer them shelter from the cold or frost in cool or frost prone areas. You can grow the plant as a houseplant in pots that can be kept under a shelter or a glasshouse during very cold months. Tasmania clivias require protection from frost and extreme cold. If the plants are grown directly under full sun, they may dry out and may become bleached and stressed.

Yellow flowering clivias are not readily available in nurseries and are extremely expensive (from $50 to $60 for a small plant). Potted plants of orange clivias in flower are available at local nurseries from $15 to $25 for a 20cm (8″) pot. A 15cm (6″) pot is available for about $9-$12. Flowering plants can cost more than $100. The cost of seeds: $8 to $10 per seed.

Growing Clivia:
The plant needs full light, but it should never be under direct sunlight. A constant temperature of 18 and 20 degrees can result in good flowering. You should water the plant twice per week in summer and once in a week in winter. Over-watering the plant can lead to rotten roots. You should not keep the plant in a warm place during winter, as it will not flower. A potting mix containing leaves, soil, and sand is good for this plant. You should add some fresh soil each year for good growth and better flowering.