The Q&A Archives: Clivia

Question: I am looking to purchase a Clivia plant as a gift for a family member. Can you tell me any information I should know when purchasing a Clivia and where I might find them?

Answer: Clivia is a warm climate plant grown as a houseplant in cold winter areas. Clivias are evergreen perennials, native
to South Africa. They're related to the amaryllis family, with
brilliant clusters of usually orange funnel-shaped flowers rising from
dense clumps of dark green, strap-like foliage. When
planting, place the tuber just above the soil line (as you would
when planting iris), and allow the clumps to grow undisturbed
for best flower display. They seem to do well when somewhat potbound. Feed your Clivia whenit is in active growth with
a diluted liquid fertilizer for flowering plants as indicated in the label instructions. The blooming
period is between December and April, with most
blooms between March and April although this can vary somewhat depending on how the plant is handled during its annual rest period.

The plant that needs some special handling during fall or winter to grow well and bloom each year. There are two schools of thought about clivia, and I have
seen gardeners succeed with them both ways. Some place
the plant in a fairly cool (not freezing) area and withhold
water for a few months during the fall, then bring the plant
into normal household temperatures to restart it into active

Others maintain the plant in active growth with plenty
of water all year, but ensure that it receives somewhat cooler
temperatures in the fall in order to initiate buds. (You will find
that the cooler the plant is kept, the less watering it needs.)
Generally speaking clivia does better with average to cool
household daytime temperatures and prefers somewhat
cooler nights; what you decide to do may depend on what
type of conditions you have to offer the plant.

For plants, you might try Louisiana Nurseries, Rt 7, Box 43,
Opelousas, LA 70570, ph# 318-948-3696 or White Flower
Farm, 800-503-9624 or Logees as well as watching for offers along with amaryllis this fall.

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