Problems With Clivia

Written by audrey pannell
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Problems With Clivia
Avoid overwatering your plants to prevent fungal diseases. (watering the garden image by Horticulture from

Clivia plants are a unique and tropical houseplant with clusters of bright, trumpet-shaped blooms, but when problems hit they can appear sickly and die. If you have noticed your clivia is not looking up to par, examine the plant for signs of bacteria, insect infestations and disease. If caught in time, most of these problems can be treated and the clivia will survive. If left untreated, your clivia may be destroyed.

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Bacterial Soft Rot

Bacterial soft rot lives in the soil or plant debris and infects the plant through wounds made by insects. According to the Clivia Society, the symptoms begin with a yellowing of one or two of the bottom leaves. A water-soaked wound is often found at the base of the plant, which may spread up the infected leaves.

Bacterial soft rot may eventually dissolve the base of the plant and its root crown. To prevent bacterial soft rot, avoid over-watering, and remove any nearby diseased plants. Kill bugs that may be damaging the plant and remove any damaged or infected leaves. Sterilise cutting surfaces with a mixture of 70 per cent rubbing alcohol and water, in a ratio of 7-to-3.

Insect Pests

A number of insects cause problems for clivia plants. The amaryllis borer moth can completely destroy clivias. The larvae of these bugs, which are caterpillars, tunnel down in the leaf, destroying the corm. The mealy bug is another problem for clivia plants. They hide toward the base of the plant and between the leaves. Mealy bugs disfigure emerging leaves. Scale insects, nematodes, snails and slugs and grasshoppers will also damage clivias. The best way to treat clivias pests is to spray them with an insecticide or to put granular systemic insecticides on the soil around the base of the plant.


If temperatures are too cool and the clivia is over-watered, fungal infections may occur. To counteract fungal disease, remove all infected plant parts and spray with a fungicide. When it is consistently humid, rust postules may appear on the underside of the leaves. The best way to get rid of these is by improving the plant's ventilation.

Clivias may also get viruses. According to the Shield's Gardens website, viruses most likely reach the plant through an insect or from the hands or unsterile tools of a gardener." You can usually identify a virus by mottled, spotted and checkered Not much can be done to treat clivia plant viruses. They should be removed from the garden.

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