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Blooming Plant
of the Month

clivia

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BOTANICAL NAME

Clivia spp. (KLI-vee-uh or KLEE-vee-ah)

 

COMMON NAMES

Kaffir lily, Fire lily

 

DESCRIPTION

Clivias are rhizomes and have long, bright green, straplike leaves and clusters of stunning trumpet-shaped flowers that resemble small amaryllises.

 

COLORS

These plants flower in vibrant hues of red, yellow, orange and cream. The flowers are followed by showy berries, extending the ornamental season of the plants.

 

AVAILABILITY

Clivias bloom naturally in the spring and summer, but they are increasingly available year-round.

 

notable species

There are only six known species of Clivia plants:

 Clivia miniata - The most commonly sold species, it has clusters of 10 to 20 trumpet-shaped flowers on top of a tall stalk. The flowers are available in hues of orange, red, yellow and cream.

 C. caulescens - This species has orange to cream-colored pendulous flowers.

 C. gardenii - It has curved flowers that aren’t as pendulous as C. caulescens. The colors range from yellow to brownish red. The leaves have long, tapering points.

 C. nobilis - It has pendulous flowers and blunt or dimpled leaves with rough edges. Colors include pinkish yellow, orange and dark red.

 C. mirabilis - This newly discovered species has rigid, erect leaves and orange-red, tubular flowers.

 C. robusta - The biggest of the Clivias, it grows nearly 6 feet tall. It has pendulous, orange-red flowers.

 

in-store and consumer care

LIGHT Bright, indirect light is best for plants displayed indoors.

 

WATER Keep the soil moist during growing and flowering periods, but avoid standing water. Water should be practically withheld during resting periods (following blooming). Over- and underwatering can cause root rot.

 

TEMPERATURE These plants do best in average, constant temperatures. Do not refrigerate them, or leaf blackening may result. 

HUMIDITY The plants’ moderate humidity needs can be satisfied by misting or sponging the leaves occasionally.

 

FERTILIZER Healthy, fertilized plants are more tolerant of insect attacks. Be sure the plants are well-watered before applying a half-strength solution of fertilizer about once a month.

 

SOIL Clivias do best in a well-drained, organic soil mix.

 

REBLOOMING These plants need winter rest to keep their flowers coming back year after year. Leave Clivias in unheated rooms, do not fertilize and water only enough to prevent wilting. Do not move or disturb the pots when the flowers are in bud or bloom.

 

fun facts

WHAT'S IN A NAME The Clivia genus, introduced in 1828, was named for Lady Charlotte Clive, Duchess of Northumberland County in England (1787-1866).

 

FAMILY Clivias are members of the Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis) family. Relatives include Agapanthus (lily-of-the-nile), Hippeastrum (amaryllis) and Narcissus (daffodil).

 

HOME SWEET HOME The plants are native to southern Africa.  

 

challenges

ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Clivias do not show sensitivity to ethylene gas.

 

PESTS Check the plants frequently for aphids, scale and whiteflies. Control them with insecticidal soap. sfr

 

Some information provided by:

The Clivia Society, www.cliviasociety.org

The House Plant Expert, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon

The North American Clivia Society

   www.northamericancliviasociety.org

Shields Gardens Ltd., www.shieldsgardens.com

Reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD, at sbfloral@aol.com or (415) 239-3140

Photos courtesy of The John Henry Company

 
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Super Floral Retailing  Copyright 2003
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.