How to care for the house plant called clivia

Written by willow sidhe
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How to care for the house plant called clivia
Clivia produces clusters of flowers nestled between its strappy leaves. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Clivia (Clivia miniata), a commonly grown houseplant also known as Kaffir lily, produces clusters of orange or yellow trumpet-shaped flowers during the winter and early spring. Mature clivia plants reach up to 3 feet tall with an almost equal spread and prefer crowded growing conditions. Clivia's dark green, straplike leaves also make an attractive addition to indoor gardens while the plant is not actively blooming. Although clivia requires some coaxing to flower, its long-lasting blooms help brighten any room during the winter months.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Clay pot
  • Organic potting soil
  • Houseplant fertiliser

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  1. 1

    Plant clivia in a clay pot that has drainage holes on the bottom filled with well-drained organic potting soil. Place the potted clivia plant in an area of your home that receives bright, indirect sunlight such as a north- or east-facing window.

  2. 2

    Water your clivia plant about once every 10 to 14 days, allowing the soil to dry out between applications. Insert your finger into the soil to the first knuckle. If the soil feels dry, apply water immediately. If it feels moist, check again in a few days.

  3. 3

    Feed clivia once a month during the spring and summer using a 20-20-20 NPK houseplant fertiliser diluted to half the recommended dosage. Stop fertilising clivia in the fall when the plant enters a state of dormancy.

  4. 4

    Place the plant in a basement, porch or other cool room where nighttime temperatures dip below 10 degrees Celsius in early fall. Water only when the leaves begin to wilt; do not feed. Allow the plant to remain for six to eight weeks, a period of rest necessary for flowering.

  5. 5

    Move your clivia plant back to its original growing location after six to eight weeks of dormancy. Water lightly once every two weeks and wait for flower buds to appear between the leaves, which may take up to two months. Resume normal watering and fertilising in spring.

  6. 6

    Remove flower stalks at their base after the blossoms fade to prevent the clivia plant from setting seed. Snip off any damaged foliage as necessary. Repot clivia when it becomes too large for its container, usually once every four to five years.

Tips and warnings

  • Clivia may become so large that it requires division after several years. Dig up the plant and divide the large fans of leaves into sections, making sure each section has its own portion of roots. Replant each section in a container filled with organic potting mix and resume regular care. Divide or repot clivia during the spring after flowering ends for the best results.
  • If your clivia plant does not produce flower buds the first year, you probably have a young plant. Continue with regular care and try again the next year. The plant is slow to bloom, but typically produces flowers reliably every year once it begins.
  • Place clivia outdoors in a partially shaded spot during the summer months, if desired.
  • Avoid overwatering clivia, as this can cause root rot. Make sure the soil is dry at least an inch down before applying more water.

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