Clivia lily, also known as bush lily, is bative to the low-altitude woodlands in South Africa. These evergreen perennials with strap-shaped, dark green leaves earned their reputation as well-performing house and conservatory plants.
Their name is derived from the Lady Florentina Clive, and since they don’t demand much attention, these plants are a very popular choice among gardeners.
In this guide to Clivia plants, I’ve put together some useful tips and tricks on how to take care of your Clivia plant. Also, you will get to take a closer look at the less-known qualities of this plant that every passionate collector should know.
Clivia Plant Care Tips
As a popular houseplant, Clivias perform best indoors. Regarding growing them outdoors, if the location is suitable and the conditions are right, they can also be grown as outdoor container plants.
Whether you decide to keep your plant indoors or outdoors, during the winter you will have to bring it back inside your home.
As I have mentioned before, Clivias don’t require much care and keeping our plant healthy, does not require expert knowledge. However, there are a few things you should know about Clivia to help your plant reach its full potential.
At its mature height, the plant reaches 45 cm (18 in) and spreads to 30 cm (1 ft).
The relatively small size of Clivias make them well-performing indoor plants and they can be a great choice for households with little space to share.
Clivias grow best if they receive bright daylight without direct sun. Indoors they enjoy bright, indirect light or filtered light.
Try to put it close to a north-facing window or an east or west-facing window where you can protect your plant from direct sunlight. Outdoors, the shade of a tree can help achieve the same.
Outdoor Clivias prefer to be placed in shady locations. Keep your plant outdoors during the summer, but don’t forget to bring it indoors before the first frost.
One thing you need to know about Clivias that when it comes to watering, they prefer to be on the dry side. The recommendation is to keep them moist but let the potting mix dry slightly between deep watering.
Don’t stick to weekly waterings. Instead, water it only when your plant requires. Don’t worry if the potting mix is not constantly wet.
Too much watering can cause root rot, which is obviously not what you want to achieve. The first signs of rotting are the appearance of pale green or bright orange cankers on the leaves.
The growing season happens right after the winter resting period and it usually lasts until the end of October. During this time, when the top inch of the potting mix is completely dry, water your plant deeply and thoroughly.
The best way to make sure you gave it enough water is to check the bottom of the pot. If water drains freely from the hole of the pot, you did a great job!
During the winter resting period, reduce watering. In case you see that your plant is slowly starting to wilt, add no more than 1 or 2 cups of water, just to moisten the soil.
Misting the leaves of Clivia is not recommended at all, it is unnecessary, and it can lead to fungal diseases.
Temperature & Humidity
Clivia plants are highly sensitive to frost and low temperatures. To avoid damage, it is essential to bring it back inside before the temperate falls below 40°F.
The period between November and February is important; this is the time when the flowers start to form. To help the flowering process, ensure a cool temperature around 50°F.
Following this period, water your plant lightly and apply a balanced fertilizer weekly. Keep doing this until the flower buds form, then find a suitable location for your plant, where the temperature reaches 60°F.
Regarding the growing period, Clivia plants are most active during summer. From spring through fall, the best temperature for your plant is 70°F or more, but no less than 50°F.
Potting & Repotting
Pot your plant in a well-drained potting medium. Clivias enjoy a rich potting mix or a soilless mix. Opt for a mix that is composed of at least 50% organic matter. Those containing peat moss or fir bark will be just perfect!
When potting your Clivia plant, try not to plant it too deeply, it’s best to leave the neck of the bulb above soil level. Clivia plants don’t mind being pot-bound, in fact, they prefer it.
As your plant starts to grow, you might notice some roots coming above the soil. This is absolutely normal.
As many other plants, Clivias require repotting in every 3-5 years. To make sure you’re not causing any harm to the plant, try to schedule the repotting after the blooming period.
Simply take out your plant from the original pot by gently lifting it and place it in the new one. Regarding the size of the pot, try to find one that is no more than 2″ larger than the previous pot.
Similar to the other steps of taking care of your plant, fertilizing does not require much effort either.
After your plant has bloomed (this should take from April to August), start to fertilize it once a month. Use a water-soluble fertilizer (20-20-20) at half the recommended strength.
Keep in mind that adding more fertilizer will not lead to better results. Stop the fertilization process by mid-September.
Clivia Plant Propagation
There are two ways to propagate your Clivia plant. You can do it by division after flowering or from seed. Whichever way you choose, here are some useful tricks to keep in mind:
- Divide your Clivia by pulling the plant apart.
- Remove damaged roots and wash old compost away.
- Don’t try to cut the plant, that will do a lot of damage to the roots, shoots and buds of the plant.
- When potting, try to not over-pot the plant. Leave enough space between each section so the roots have enough space.
- Water fresh divisions thoroughly to help them get established.
- Keep your plant at a temperature of 60°F.
- When propagating your plant from seed, try to harvest the seeds when the berries turn red.
- Sow the seeds immediately, so they don’t dry out.
- Put the seeds individually in 8 cm (3 in) containers.
- Cover the seeds with loam-based compost.
- Keep the containers at a temperature of 70°F until the seeds germinate. This should take 6 to 8 weeks.
- Once the leaves appear, reduce temperature to 60°F and keep growing your plant.
- Be patient, it might take up to 3 or 4 years for Clivias propagated from seeds to bloom flowers, but once they do, they yield beautiful buds in various colors.
Different Types of Clivia Plant
Depending on size, shape and color, there are some different types of the Clivia plant you can choose from:
– Clivia Miniata
Also known as Natal lily, the leaves of this plant reach a height of 60 cm (2ft). It grows beautiful strap-shaped green leaves and blooms up to 20 tubular-to funnel-like flowers that vary colors from red to yellow and orange.
The flowers of Clivia Miniata are 5-7.5 cm (2-3 in) long and it reaches a 45 cm (18 in) height with a spread by 30 cm (1 ft).
– Clivia Miniata Aurea
This type of Clivia is very similar to the previously mentioned Clivia miniata.
The name Aurea or Golden Natal lily comes from the yellow, golden-like color of the flowers.
– Clivia Miniata var. Citrina
Similar to the Aurea, this plant features the same qualities as the Clivia miniata. The only difference is made by its pale-lemon flowers.
– Clivia Nobilis
Clivia Nobilis features a 40 cm (16 in) height by a 30 cm (1 ft) spread. The leaves are strap-shaped, and they grow up to 45 cm (18 in) long.
This plant has a rich blooming quality, it can bloom 40-60 trumpet-like 2.5-4cm (1-1½in) long red and yellow flowers tipped with green.
Clivia Plant FAQs
Finally, not to leave you with any unanswered questions, here are some FAQs you might be interested in:
Why Doesn’t my Clivia Plant Bloom?
In the case of Clivias, non-flowering can be caused by overpotting. Make sure your container is not too large, Clivia plants need space, but they prefer if roots are bit crowded.
Another reason might be keeping your flower at too high temperature during the winter season or insufficient watering during the active growth period.
Why are There Brown Patches on the Leaves of my Clivia Plant?
Brown patches on the leaves of your Clivia might be the sign of scorching. Light refracted through windows or water droplets on the surface of the leaves can lead to problems like scorching.
Why is the Foliage of my Clivia Yellow?
There are multiple factors that can lead to the yellowing of foliage. It might be the result of inadequate fertilizing, underwatering or overwatering.
As you can see, the Clivia plant does not require much care, yet it will still award you with beautiful looks and qualities. These plants are real attractions, especially in the blooming period, when they grow stunning trumpet-like flowers which vary in color from red to pale yellow.
Whichever type of Clivia you decide to plant indoors or outdoors, you surely will be satisfied with your choice.