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Clivia

There are six species of Clivia, all originally from South Africa.  Miniata is the best known with its big balls of flowers.  The flowers are most commonly orange with yellow or white centres but red, yellow, pink, peach or pastel shades are available.  In Australia Clivia miniata’s main flowering season is from late August through to late December.

The other species and their flowering times are: Caulescens  (Sep – Nov), Mirabilis  (Sep - Nov), Robusta (Mar – Aug),  Nobilis (Jul - Dec), and Gardenii  (Apr – Jun).  All of these species have pendulous, more tubular flowers than the more open, larger flowers of miniata.  As well as these species, it is possible to make crosses between the species (interspecific crosses).

Growing medium

In the garden Clivias like to grow in well drained compost.  They don’t have deep roots and don’t mind root congestion so are ideal to plant under trees where other plants may dislike tree roots and fallen leaves.

In pots Clivias like a well-drained, slightly acidic potting mix.  A mix made from composted pine bark is ideal. 

Water and nutrition

Clivias are relatively slow growing so they don’t need much fertilizer and tend to perform well in garden beds without it.   For potted Clivias, most general purpose organic or chemical fertilisers are fine, and extra Sulphate of Potash before flowering is ideal. 

Whilst they are drought tolerant, they prefer to have plenty of water over the summer growing months and to be kept much drier over winter.

Location

Clivias can tolerate a wide range of temperatures but should be protected from frost.  It is essential that they are planted in shade or filtered light and not in direct sun.  Under trees or on a patio is perfect. 

Size

Most Clivia grow to about 60cm x 60cm in the garden.  There are smaller and larger hybrids, such as some of the Chinese and Belgian plants that are bred to be more compact.  Clivia robusta is the tallest of the Clivia species, reaching up to 1.5m.

Pests and diseases

Clivia tend to be pest and disease free.  In Australia the Lily Borer Caterpillar and Mealy Bugs are the two main pests that can damage the plants, and root and crown rot is the main fungal disease that affects them.    Confidor works well on the pests and using a well drained mix and avoiding having the plants sitting in water usually eliminates the problem of root rot.  If root or crown rot becomes a problem there are several treatment options, including unpotting the plant, drying the roots and dusting them with a fungicide, or alternatively leaving plants in the ground and spraying with a systemic fungicide such as Yates Anti-rot.  Plants that loose their leaves from crown rot often grow new leaves several weeks later.



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