Sunday, 1 March 2009

Green Thumb Sunday-Clivia

Flowers are one of the best antidotes to the icy winds of winter, and growing a houseplant that buds and blooms inside in March and April , while all is dormant outside is particularly satisfying.
Let me introduce you to my newest houseplant.
I have often bought the usual flowering plants, tulips, azaleas, etc, to brighten up the grey days, but for a long time I have I have wanted a Clivia, a plant rare to find in this area.
I am almost ashamed to say I found this one in the local grocery store........ just could not pass it up.
Clivias, also called Kaffir lily or Flame lily, are native to the subtropical forest floors of eastern South Africa.The primary flower color is orange, but there are also highly prized yellow-flowered cultivars that are rare and quite expensive.
Clivia miniata is a wonderful flowering plant. Elegant and imposing, it’s easier to grow than an orchid and more unusual than an amaryllis or a Christmas cactus..Not besmirching these other plants as
I have orchids, amaryllis, and Christmas cactus .
The bouquet-like cluster of orange and yellow flowers lasts for weeks, is faintly fragrant and looks breathtakingly beautiful in the living room, enthroned amid the plant's braided dark green leaves.
These plants were much more popular in Victorian days as they are so tough. Taking dryness and low light found in Victorian parlours..One can go on vacation for 2 weeks and come back to a very healthy plant.Doesn't this plant sound like a great houseplant.
When given a month of cool night temperatures in autumn, followed by a six-to-eight-week rest period with very little water, a clivia plant will produce dense clusters of orange, lilylike flowers. The straplike, dark evergreen leaves are virtually blemish free, making clivia an attractive foliage plant. A mature plant can be 2 to 3 feet tall and almost as wide, with long, arching swordlike leaves. Like many flowering plants, clivia prefers to be kept rootbound and can remain in the same pot for as long as five years. Since it takes a few years for a clivia plant to bloom, it's best to purchase a mature plant, unless you are very patient.

Clivia care in spring and summer

Given the regal quality of the plant, a clivia is surprisingly easy to grow. It is well suited to a bright north window, or an east or west window shaded from the sun. It does not need high humidity and should not be misted.
During the spring and summer growing seasons, a clivia needs regular watering but should be allowed to become dry to the touch between waterings. An automatic weekly watering will often be too much and can cause rot. Fertilize once a month with a half-strength dilute solution of 20-20-20 fertilizer. While rarely in need of repotting, plants can be divided and repotted almost any time of the year. Simply cut or pull the large fans of leaves apart, ensuring each division has a plentiful supply of the large fleshy roots, and pot up in a well-drained organic soil mix.
I am going to plant my clivia outside for the summer.

Clivia care in fall and winter

In the fall, the clivia’s schedule is similar to that of a Christmas cactus. Stop fertilizing; water only when the foliage begins to wilt; and place the plant in a porch or other cool room where night temperatures drop below 50 degrees. I will put the plant in the basement for this six- to eight-week rest period essential for flower bud formation. A shorter cool period could result in delayed flowering. Once inside, water very sparingly until flower buds appear nestled between the leaves. This might take two months but will reward you with a spectacular bloom just as winter enters its bleakest stage. When flowers fade, remove the stalk at its base to prevent seed set. In spring, resume normal watering and feeding.

Buds;My plant is just about to flower .
I was able to google a picture of a Clivia in flower.

Does anyone else grow this plant? Would love to hear about your challenges with this plant.


Anonymous said...

I have bever owned a Clivia, but I do agree the yellow variety is extremely expensive from seeing them in a nursery in Pennsylvania a while ago.
Your plant is amazing and i am sure will be for years to come!

Teresa said...

I'll bet yours blooms at least as lovely. It sure looks like a happy healthy plant.

Rosanne said...

Oh, this sounds like an interesting plant, I might have to try keeping one too.....although I'm not the best with houseplants......

Shady Gardener said...

Rosemary, I hope you can keep this plant going! I've never ever had one, but sometimes these "exotic" fellows take extra care. Keep us posted!! It would be fun to try this, if it's not too intimidating. :-)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Plant Mom!

Kim and Victoria said...

I have never grown one but it sounds like something I might be able to keep alive. ;-)

Kylee said...

This is a great informational post on growing Clivias! I'll bet you got yours at Meijer. I got mine two weeks ago there.

Let me formally invite you to become a member of The Clivia Club! It's a newly-formed group for Clivia owners so that we can help each other out and share our Clivia stories.

You can join by leaving a comment here.

Gizelle said...

I am busy processing about 200 seeds which I harvested from my garden. I have photos on my new blog. I have been growing clivias for about 9 years now and love them.

Gizelle said...

I am now germinating the 8 yellow seeds that I harvested. Hope they all succeed because that will mean I will have 8 flowering yellow clivia plants in 3 or 4 years time. I have a photo on my blog.

Gizelle said...

I have posted a picture on my blog of 5 enormous pods, each probably holding 8 or 10 seeds. I can't wait to open them.

Gizelle said...

I purchased variegated clivia seeds and they have germinated. I can't wait to see the leaves when they are fully developed.