Clivia Houseplant Care & Maintenance

Overview

Also known as bush lily, clivia (Clivia miniata) is native to South Africa. A member of the same family as amaryllis, it's easy to see the family resemblance. They grow strap-like leaves and lily-like flowers borne on the top of a stalk held above the leaves; the appearance is quite similar to amaryllis. Clivia take a long time to bloom whether propagated from seed or division.

Site Selection

Grow tender, tropical clivia indoors in a brightly lit location that gets either morning or afternoon sun. Their most active growth period is from early spring through fall. Move outdoors during frost-free weather and grow in the dappled shade of a deciduous tree or any location suitable for summering foliage houseplants outdoors.

Temperature

During their active growth period of spring through fall, clivias require warm, tropical-like temperatures. Keep them warm at daytime temperatures above 70 F and nighttime temperatures above 50 F. Move to cooler temperatures--as low as 40 degrees F--for their annual rest period, which will induce flowering.

Watering and Feeding

Water regularly but allow the soil to dry out a bit between watering. Poke your finger into the soil. When the top inch is dry, it is time to water. Water thoroughly until it runs out of the bottom of the pot. Fertilize clivia monthly with a water-soluble fertilizer mixed with water. Use a fertilizer specially formulated for indoor flowering plants.

Rest Period

Beginning in late October and continuing through late January or mid February, keep clivia at temperatures of 40 to 65 degrees F. Withhold water during this period, giving the plant only enough to keep it from wilting. Move them into warmer temperatures and begin regular watering in late winter. Necessary to induce the plant to flower, this cold treatment will induce them to produce buds within a month after resuming regular watering when the rest period is over.

Repotting

Clivias prefer to be rootbound and should not be repotted more frequently than every three to five years. The best time to repot is in spring after the flowers have faded and new leaf growth has begun. Because clivias are top-heavy, use a heavy clay azalea or amaryllis pot filled with a well-drained soilless growing mix.

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About this Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a freelance writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.