Clivia Care 101: The Ultimate Guide for Growing and Thriving Clivias

Are you tired of searching for the perfect plant that can survive in the shady corners of your home or garden? Look no further than Clivias! These stunning flowering plants are a true wonder of nature, and they’re perfect for adding a touch of beauty to any space, no matter the season.

In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of Clivias. We’ll explore their fascinating origins, the inspiration behind their name, and most importantly, how to cultivate and care for them.

So, if you’re ready to add some greenery to your life, let’s get started with our ultimate Clivia Care Guide!

Clivia Care Guide

Everything You Need to Know About Clivia

Clivia, a member of the Amaryllidaceae family, was first collected by William J. Burchell in the Eastern Cape in 1815. James Bowie later collected more Clivia in the 1820s, which was eventually named Clivia nobilis. The plant was named after Lady Charlotte Florentine Clive, and its beauty was appreciated by Victorians in the 1850s.

In 1856, Major Robert Garden discovered a pendulous form of Clivia in KwaZulu-Natal, which became known as Clivia gardenii. Ten years after the discovery of the yellow form of Clivia miniata, Mr. W. Watson described it as C. miniata var. citrina in 1899. Dr. R.A. Dyer described C. caulescens of Mpumalanga and the Northern Province in 1943. In 2002, Clivia mirabilis was introduced.

Today, many hybrids of Clivia miniata are available, with Clivia x cyrtanthiflora being one of the most famous hybrids, gifted by Charles Raes. Gladys Blackboard and Gordon McNeil are remembered for their contributions to Clivia cultivation and breeding.

Clivia’s popularity has extended beyond South Africa to countries such as China, Korea, and Japan. In 1922, the worldwide popularity of Clivia led to the formation of the Clivia club in South Africa.

There are six species of Clivia:

  • C. nobilis
  • C. miniata
  • C. caulescens
  • C. gardenii
  • C. mirabilis
  • C. robusta

all bearing pendulous flowers. However, C. miniata has large open flowers with various shapes, sizes, and colors.

Breeders at the local, national, and international levels crossbreed different species of Clivia, using C. miniata as the parent plant. These interspecific hybrids are strong growers, resistant to pests and diseases, and produce flowers in unexpected colors, ranging from orange, red, and pink to pastel peach, bronze, and green. The elegant flowers come in various shapes, including semi-pendulous, upright tubular, and bell-shaped.

It is important to note that Clivia plants contain Lycorine, which is poisonous and harmful to pets and children. It is advisable to wash your hands after handling the plant. Many clubs around the world organize shows to promote the beauty of Clivia.

Features and Characteristics of Clivia

In wild, they grow under the shade of huge trees and even on rocks. They derive their nutrients from humus formed by the decomposition of litter leaves. They are semi-epiphytic plants. Their white roots are fleshy and store water, an absolutely reliable support system

The Reproductive System of Clivia: From Here we Get Seeds for Propagation

The beautiful bunch of Clivia flowers perches upon the leafless stalk (scape). The flower stalks (pedicle) helps the whole bunches of beauty to sit on the scape.

The beautiful tepal consists of stamen and pistil. Each of the 6 stamen consists of filament on which anther resides. These anthers have pollens.

Stamens are like male reproductive system. Pistil consists of stigma, style and ovary. This is like the female reproductive system.

Each ovary has ovules in it. These ovules when fertilized with pollen give rise to seeds. Later on seeds pushed the ovary walls to form juicy fruit (berry). A single berry will have at most 15 seeds.

The Vegetative Parts: Germination of Seeds to Give Beautiful Clivia

The seed consists of endosperm enclosing the embryo, a plumule and a radicle. Embryo gives rise to mature elegant vibrant flower. A plumule give rise to leaves while radicle give rise to roots.

Clivia Nobilis/ Eastern Cape Bush Lily

They are slow growers, shallow-rooted pant. If you plan to grow graceful Clivia nobilis from seeds it will take around 6 years. But it will reward you with beautiful pendulous cylindrical flowers with less care. These flowers are pale to dark orange or orange-red with pale to dark green tips.

They bloom in late autumn and spring. They attract birds, bees, sunbirds which help them to pollinate. They also sometimes self-pollinate or via flow of wind. After pollination and fertilization they give rise to bright red berries. They love to decorate shady corners and need less water to survive.

The amount of shade decides the length of leaves. In light shade the leaves grows horizontal and 300mm in length. If you keep it in dense shade leaves grows upright and 800 mm in length. If you see those leaves they have zig-zag margin and rounded leaf tip.

Clivia Robusta/ swamp Bush Lily

If you see Clivia growing in marshes or swamp conditions then those are swamp bush lily. As its scientific name suggest its robust nature growing taller 1.6m in height.

It is a beauty of broad leaves and pale to dark orange flowers having green tips. You can see these showy flowers from late autumn to mid-winter.

There is a new yellow flower variety in market known as C. robusta var. citrina. Birds help to spread their seeds. The berries are round, green and turn orange on ripening.

Clivia Miniata/Bush Lily

C.miniata is one of the favorite and popular species of Clivia. They have beautiful green lush shiny leaves with musical open trumpet shape red-orange flowers.

Hence it is name miniata which means red. These showy dazzling flowers bloom in spring (August to November). The splendid C.miniata is a favorite among breeders. Breeding process give gorgeous yellow, red or apricot flowers with broad leaves.

C.mirabilis: It is a miracle to see Clivia growing under bright sun, dry summer. Hence it is name miracle Clivia also.  The large root system helps to survive in unusual climatic conditions. It has stiff, rough, smooth round pointed leaves with orange red flower.

It flowers in October to November i.e. late spring. The leaves are green with white strips which turns maroon at the bottom.

Caulescens/Stalked Clivia

The leafless stalk (2m) perches 15-20 orange to cream color with green tips flowers. Hence the name stalked Clivia. The midsummer welcomes flowering. The berries are green to purple color, round to oblong shape.

Clivia Gardenii

It is also known as Major Garden’s Clivia after the Major Robert Garden. It is also name Natal drooping Clivia after its discovery in KwaZulu Natal. C.gardenii grows up to 60cm with orange tubular flowers having green tip. This hue of flowers is like C.miniata except they differ in shape. The flowering season is from April to June.

How to Grow Clivia? Check out This Clivia Care Guide

How to Grow Clivia

Potting Mix

When it comes to potting mix for plants like Clivia, it’s important to consider several factors. The potting mix should be physically and chemically stable, meaning that it shouldn’t break down or decompose over time. It should also have good water holding capabilities and provide good oxygen content to promote appropriate drainage.

Additionally, the potting mix should have good cation exchange capabilities, meaning it should absorb enough fertilizer and provide nutrients derived from fertilizer to the plant.

To help our Clivia experience its native conditions, we should avoid heavy soil mixes or clay soils, as these can lead to root-rot and poor flowering. Instead, we can use soilless mixes like composted pine bark, which is a black, odorless medium made up of fresh pine bark.

It works best when well composted and not reddish or smelling of pine. Another option is perlite, which holds little water but has excellent drainage properties. If using perlite, it’s important to maintain irrigation and fertilization. Coir peat or coco peat is another option with excellent water holding capacity, and can be added in a volume of 30% or less to a composted pine bark medium.

Finally, it’s important to consider the pH of the potting mix, which should ideally be between 5 and 6. By following these guidelines, we can provide our Clivia plants with the best possible growing conditions and promote healthy growth and flowering.


They like to keep their feet dry and aerated. So don’t pamper it by over-watering. It will harm their roots. In winter (October and January) decrease the watering. This is the resting period. So water less that doesn’t mean you completely ignore watering. Poor watering is advisable in winter.

That may be once or twice per month. Once you see buds or new peduncles water two three times a week. Seedlings needs more water than the matured one.

While the matured one need watering once a week between spring and autumn. The terracotta containers will dry out fast as compare to plastic pots. It’s best to see that the top soil is 50 % dry between watering.


They love to stay in light shade. Not too much shady and not too much direct sunlight. The north or east facing windows will do fine. Do not rotate our Clivia to give even light in all direction. They don’t like this rotation. It will affect their blooming ability.


Keep it at the place where you can provide temperature of 60-80°F when it is in growing season or after bloom.

When it’s the flowering period keep it in a cool place where the temperature is about 50-55°F.

They hate temperature below 50° F.

Get your Clivia indoor and give some homely warmth if the temperature is below 50° F.


They don’t need high humidity like other tropical houseplants. They can settle down in low humid corner of your house. No need to worry about the dry environment..


You can use terracotta pots. If our Clivias are large it requires 6 to 8 inch pots. After like 5-6 years you can repot it if you use 8 inch pot. So in that case you can replace the top inch of soil with fresh mix. Let it grow for years in same container. They are pot bound.


The general fertilizer will work with N:K ratio of 1:1 or 1:2. Too much nitrogen can promote more of leaves than flowers. Apply organic fertilizer once a year and you may also provide compost in form of mulch once a year.

Liquid or slow release fertilizer is helpful. Use a half strength fertilizer solution monthly. In resting period i.e. in winter it doesn’t requires much of nutrients. So do not add fertilizer in winter.


After the flowering season you can groom your Clivia. Remove dying leaves or flowers.

Propagating Clivia

Propagation via Division method

It’s recommended to divide the Clivia crown into parts. Personally, I prefer pulling it apart instead of using a knife to minimize root damage. This process involves dividing the sucker which will result in new members and the divided plant will flower within a year.

The division can be done at any time of the year except during the flowering period. Once divided, it’s important to plant each part in a separate container that can accommodate its roots without overpotting it.

It’s also important not to add gravels at the bottom of the container as excess water drainage is crucial for the plant’s health. Water moves through the potting mix through capillary action.

To prevent water logging, place the pot on a layer of sand which will help pull off water from the bottom of the pot. After following these steps, your divided Clivia is ready for appropriate watering and temperature conditions.

Propagating via seeds

The process of growing Clivia plants begins with collecting the berries, removing the seeds from the berries, germinating the seeds, and potting the seedlings.

When the Clivia flowers are pollinated or fertilized, they produce berries that contain pearl-like seeds. These berries ripen from April to July and come in various colors. To determine if the berries are ready for seed removal, gently press on them to check for softness.

After harvesting the berries, allow them to dry until the outer shell shrivels. This process takes 2-3 weeks and ensures that the berries retain some moisture. Attempting to remove the seeds from fresh berries is difficult as they are fleshy, sticky, and contain pulp. The seeds are protected by a shiny layer.

Once the seeds are removed from the berries, they are ready to be planted in potting mix. Take a pot or tray and add a layer of potting mix. Sow the seeds so that the top is visible and not buried too deep, as this can cause root rot. Keep the potting mix moist to encourage germination.

Do not Over-water

It is important to avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot in our seeds. Proper drainage and ventilation are essential for the healthy growth of our Clivia seeds, which will result in beautiful seedlings.

The fleshy roots may cause the seeds to pop out of the mix, in which case, gently use a pencil to dig a hole and carefully place the seedling back into the mix without damaging the roots. After a few days, the baby Clivia shoots will begin to grow.

To provide the seedlings with enough nutrients for optimal growth, you can spray them with liquid fertilizer. Once they have grown large enough, transfer them into individual pots that are just the right size to accommodate their roots.

As previously mentioned, tall pots with good drainage are ideal for Clivia plants. By following these steps, you can successfully germinate your Clivia seeds and welcome new members to your indoor garden.

Propagating via offset

Offset are pups or babies Clivia arising from mother Clivia. Let it grow for few inches. Cut it with sharp knife. Offset will have few roots. Take a small container and plant this adorable baby Clivia in potting mix. Keep the potting mix moist but not soggy.

Potting and Repotting

If the roots of our Clivia are overgrown then repot it. Do repotting if necessary in spring. This will help it to acclimatize in to its new home. Remove our plant from the existing container. Shake off the bound potting mix a bit without damaging its fleshy roots.

Take a container of about 20cm in diameter.  Put the potting mix in the container. Now place our Clivia into it. Let it flourish for years without disturbing it. You may provide fresh potting compost as mulch on top layer.

Common Problems and Solutions


One of the most common problems with Clivia is overwatering. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can cause the plant to wilt and die. To prevent overwatering, you should allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Always make sure that the pot has proper drainage to allow excess water to drain out.


On the other hand, underwatering can cause the leaves to turn yellow and dry out. To prevent underwatering, you should water the plant regularly and keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. You can also mist the plant occasionally to increase humidity.

Lack of Light

Clivia plants require bright but indirect light to thrive. If the plant is not getting enough light, the leaves may turn yellow and the flowers may not bloom.

To prevent this, place your Clivia plant near a bright window but away from direct sunlight. You can also use artificial grow lights if natural light is not available.


Clivia plants can attract pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. These pests can cause damage to the leaves and flowers. To prevent pests, regularly inspect the plant and remove any visible pests. You can also use insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat the plant.


Clivia plants prefer temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too low or too high, the plant may not grow well or produce flowers. To prevent temperature problems, keep your Clivia plant in a room with a stable temperature and away from drafts.

Clivia not Flowering

Under-watering and over-potting can cause poor or no flowering. Additionally, high temperatures during winter or resting periods can also lead to this issue.

Clivia Foliage Turning Yellow

Yellowing may be due to chlorosis caused by insufficient formation of chlorophyll. This can be due to mineral deficiency or inappropriate pH of the soil. If the pH is 7 or higher, iron may not be available to the plant.

Use iron chelates as a foliar spray or apply to the soil. If the pH is acidic, below 5.5, magnesium may not be available. In that case, use Epsom Salts.

Clivia Leaves Turning Brown

Direct sunlight falling on the plant can cause brown leaves.

Clivia Seedlings Rotting Off

Fungal species such as Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Phytophthora, and Sclerotium can cause this issue. Encourage excellent drainage and ventilation, and use fungicides like Fongarid and copper oxychloride sprays.

Yellowing of Bottom Leaves with Dark Sodden Lesions

This is a bacterial rot caused by over-watering and poor drainage. Remove all infected parts and apply a thick paste of Mancozeb to the affected area. You can also dip the plant in a Mancozeb solution and let it dry before replanting.

Short Blooming Stalks in Clivia

The reason for short blooming stalks is unclear. It may be due to a too-wet or warm dormancy, or plant genetics. Water the stalk once you see buds appearing.

Uses of Clivia

The colorful Clivia adorns our green corner with its beautiful multicolor floral display. I would suggest you buy Clivia from nurseries and specialist growers. Well the prize depends upon the varieties and pot sizes. It is famous for landscaping.

C.miniata holds medicinal importance.  The roots and leaves of C.miniata are useful to overcome snake bite, fever, infertility. It is the component of traditional isihlambezo and inembe mixtures. It also promotes easy childbirth. It also help to overcome urinary infections.


Clivia are not only symbol of beauty but also holds medicinal importance. The genetics open doors of innovation to create spectacular Clivia flowers and leaves.

I hope you enjoy this tour of how to grow and care Clivia.

Similar Posts