What is Clivia?
Clivia (Clivia miniata) also known as Kaffir Lily is a herbaceous evergreen perennial. It is part of the Amaryllidaceae family and is native to South Africa. The foliage is dark glossy green flat broad leaves that form a clump. During late Winter to early Spring trumpet shaped flowers are held aloft on a tall flower stalk above the foliage. The main colour being orange but more uncommon colours like yellow and reds are available. New varieties are being bred such as apricot, cream and a rare white. Each umbel (flower head) can have upwards of 12 to 20 blooms. Clivia generally take 3 years to mature until they begin to flower. After flowering medium size berries form. The seeds can take up to a year to mature with the pod going soft as an indicator that the seed is ready to be planted. When planting Clivia they prefer a dappled shaded position in the garden that is protected from the frost. They do not like being in full sun as this will put the plant under stress and burn the leaves. They also dislike root disturbance. A good tip when buying a Clivia (particularly when not buying it from a nursery) is to buy it when its flowering so you can be certain of the flower colour particularly when buying the more expensive yellow variety.
Benefits of Growing Clivia
Clivia are a low maintenance plant and look best when mass planted. They are ideal for borders, in clumps beneath trees that provide shade in Summer, or as part of a lush tropical garden. They also grow well in containers so they can be used in patio and balcony garden designs. Clivia flowers also last a long time as cut flowers.
How to Grow Clivia
Cool to sub tropical.
Height: 40-60cm, Width: 30cm
When To Plant Clivia
Plant in Spring when they are starting to grow vigorously again.
Clivia like a fertile, well drained soil that is rich in humus. They can handle poor soils but do better if plenty of organic matter has been added. Work in some well broken down animal manure or compost before planting.
How To Plant Clivia
Plant in semi to full shade, 30-50cm apart with the plant crown at soil level.
Clivia Plant Care
Keep your Clivia watered during Summer. Allow it to dry out in Winter.
Mulch to retain moisture in the soil and protect the fleshy roots.
Feed with blood and bone at the start of Spring to improve flowering.
Remove old leaves and stems.
Can lift and divide after a few years once clumps have gotten too big. This should be done in the cooler months and will affect flowering as they don’t like being disturbed. To divide, lift the mother plant, and shake off the excess soil to better see the divisions. Use a sharp knife or spade (don’t need to be overly careful) to cut the clumps apart or untangle them, prying them apart with your fingers.
Watch out for snails and slugs.
Recommended Achillea Varieties
These tough and hardy evergreen plants are sure to bring a tropical vibe into your garden.