Q. How do I take care of my clivia plant?
Clivias (Clivia miniata is the most widely cultivated variety) are lovely flowering plants that are relatively easy to grow indoors. They require moderate light such as an eastern exposure (morning sun) or bright, indirect light. Too much direct sun can burn the leaves. Clivia can also be summered outdoors in a shady location. Water regularly when the plant requires it during the growing season, but do not over-water; clivias prefer to be kept on the dry side.
Yellow spots on clivia leaves are a sign of either too much water or water in the heart of the plant. If the leaves split vertically, the plant needs more sun. After the plant has flowered (April-August), begin to feed the plant every month with a 1/4 strength, water-soluble 20:20:20 fertilizer. Stop fertilizing in early fall.
The secret to getting clivias to flower is to give the plant a rest in a cold location for about 3 months in the winter. Keep the plant at 35-55°F, but do not let it freeze. Water it very lightly only if it begins to wilt. (In nature, clivias are found mainly in parts of South Africa that receive all their rainfall in summer. The plants go through the winters nearly bone dry.) If this cold treatment is not provided, the plant may not bloom until late summer.
After the rest period, resume regular watering and relocate to a warmer location (60-75°F). The plant should begin to bloom in 6-12 weeks. Cut flower stalks off at the base after blooming to prevent seed formation. As clivias bloom best when pot-bound, repotting should be necessary only every 3-5 years.
For more information, see Clivia Care and Culture.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service