Design with Clivias

The classic, tropical-looking orange flowers – or bright red, salmon, yellow, or cream – grab your attention, but the glossy, dark green, strappy leaves that grow in distinctive arches are an all-season architectural feature. The leaves appear alternately and curve directly on top of each other with perfect symmetry, creating a strikingly formal silhouette.

Use the foliage as a backdrop to keep your dry, shady patch in full bloom during spring, summer, and fall by planting on the same plot of land:

  • Bergenia sp
  • Mona Lavender (Plectranthus sp)
  • Coral bells (Heuchera sp)
  • Foam flower (Tiarella sp)
  • Ajuga sp
  • Lilyturf (Liriope sp)

The leaves of all of these plants make a remarkable contrast to Clivias.



How to take care of Clivias


Before planting in the spring or fall, prepare the soil by digging it up with a generous amount of compost. Position each plant at a distance of 50 cm, making sure that the white part of the stem is almost buried.


Speckled shadow, just morning sunlight. In strong shade, they grow leggy and do not bloom as well.


Drought tolerant, but not frost tolerant.


Loamy and freely draining. Not sound.


Water the soil regularly in spring and summer, then sparingly in autumn and winter. Don’t let water settle in canopy as this will encourage fungal rot. They like dry shade and bloom more strongly. Spread compost on the ground in autumn and apply organic fertilizer when flowering is over.


Spread organic mulch between the plants once a year.


When flowering is over, unless you want the seeds to be removed, remove the stems near the base.



How to Share Clivias

To ensure your plants stay healthy and bloom, replant them every four to five years in late spring or early summer when they have finished blooming. This is also a good time to split them up or separate the offsets so you can double your inventory.

If an offset has four of its own leaves, dig up the entire plant, trim the offset from the parent with a clean, sharp knife – be sure to include some roots – and place the offset in potting soil or equal parts of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite and keep warm in medium light.

Water to keep the medium moist but not saturated. Plant in the garden when roots appear on the surface of the medium. Replant the parents, but dig over the soil with compost to ventilate and nourish it before transplanting.



How to grow Clivias from seeds

The large red or yellow berries (depending on the flower color) arrive in early spring when the flowering wears off. You can then pick the berries and remove the pulp around the dark, pearl-like seeds.

Wash the seeds in a mild fungicide solution, then press them into a seed growing mixture or very fine pine bark, but don’t bury them. Seeds germinate in about a month and can be transferred to larger pots in six months.

Or you can leave the berries on the plant until they have shriveled and the pulp is dry. Wash seeds in fungicide and plant immediately so they don’t dry out.

Clivias grow slowly and it can take up to five years to turn a seed into a flowering plant. Store in a warm, sheltered and ventilated place out of direct sunlight. Water in the spring and summer to make sure the soil is moist but not wet, and fertilize every few weeks. Pot regularly until they are strong enough for your garden bed.

Clivias in a garden


How to grow Clivias in pots


Indoors near a window that gets morning sunlight or in a shaded spot on your porch, deck, or courtyard.


They enjoy a warm place, but need around two months of cool temperatures (around 10 ° C) in winter to ensure good flowering.


Keep the potting soil moist in spring and summer. Overwatering leads to root rot. So let excess water drain off. Don’t use a saucepan saucer; instead, put your pots on their feet. Terracotta pots are best as they will absorb excess moisture. Reduce watering in autumn and stop watering in winter. Continue watering when flower stalks appear at the end of winter. Do not spray the leaves with mist.


Apply liquid fertilizer every two weeks from half of the flower stalks and continue until autumn.


Immediately after flowering, feed with an all-purpose fertilizer and refills until midsummer.


Avoid moving around in the bloom. After flowering, remove the stem with a clean, sharp blade, otherwise berries will develop and use so much energy that there won’t be enough left for flowering in the next year.


Pot every three to four years when roots fill the pot – they bloom best when pot-tied – and separate offsets. Leave 2 inches from the edge of the pot to the top of the fresh potting soil as the roots lift the mixture as it grows. Enrich the mixture with blood and bones. Repot in late winter when the flower stalks start to grow.

Clivias in the pot


How to get rid of pests on Clivias

Snails and snails eat foliage, new growth, buds and flowers. Take them off and destroy or put sharp objects on your floor.

Mushroom mosquitoes produce larvae that eat new roots and carry fungal spores. Use yellow sticky card traps to attract adults. The same goes for whitefly and thrips.

The amaryllis caterpillar with black and yellow stripes is hungry for greens. Take them off and destroy or use an organic pesticide.

Mealybugs, aphids, scales and mites thrive in warm, humid conditions and suck the vital sap juices out of your plants. Wash with soapy water or dab with alcohol-saturated cotton swabs.

yellow clivias

How do you say Clivia?

Is Clivia said with a long ‘i’ or a short ‘i’? It doesn’t matter as all botanical names are made up so you can pronounce them however you want.

If it helps, the plant is named after the Duchess of Northumberland, Lady Charlotte Clive, the granddaughter of Baron Robert Clive, who founded the British Empire in India. She was the first to cultivate this South African native in England.

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