Clivia Charms With Its Bright Winter Blooms

Many gardeners know that the winter doldrums can be eased with flowering houseplants, and clivia is one of the best choices.

Clivia, a South African native, is related to amaryllis, but it grows from a thickened crown with many fleshy roots instead of a bulb.

Clivia has handsome dark green, straplike leaves arrayed like a fan. Between midwinter and early spring, clivia sends up one or more flower stalks topped with a cluster of up to 20 trumpet-shaped flowers.

Bright orange is the standard flower color, but hybridizers have also introduced yellow and peach shades in recent years. With a little care, this tough, long-lived plant may become a family heirloom.

Common name: Clivia

Botanical name: Clivia miniata

Plant type: Evergreen perennial; mostly grown as a houseplant

Zones: 9 to 11 outdoors (in dry-winter climates)

Height: 18 to 24 inches

Family: Amaryllidaceae


Growing conditions

  • Sun: Shade outdoors; bright indirect light indoors
  • Soil: Well drained loam (outdoors) or potting mix
  • Moisture: Average; keep fairly dry during winter


Care

  • Pruning: Cut back flower stalks when blooms fade.
  • Mulch: None
  • Fertilizer: Diluted soluble fertilizer monthly from spring through fall

Propagation

  • Division
  • Seeds

Pests and diseases

  • None

Cultivars

  • ‘Good Hope’ has medium yellow flowers.
  • ‘Variegata’ has green and white streaked foliage.

Garden notes

  • If possible, move potted clivias outside for the summer after all threat of frost is over. Keep clivias in shade at all times to prevent leaf burn.
  • For reliable flowering, clivia needs a two month rest period in a cool (45° to 55°F) location, like a basement (with lights) or unheated spare room in late fall to early winter.
  • Clivias actually do best when somewhat potbound, so don’t repot until the roots are quite cramped.

All in the family

  • Clivia is a member of the amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae), a large group of bulbs and herbaceous plants.
  • Other garden bulbs and houseplants in the amaryllis family include amaryllis (Hippeastrum), snowdrops (Galanthus), daffodils (Narcissus) and rain lily (Zephyranthus).


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