Clivia was first discovered in 1813 by an English naturalist, William Butchell, according to the American Clivia Society. It is indigenous to South Africa, but also is grown in China, Australia, Belgium and the United States. Those clivias first discovered in the wild were mostly orange or yellow varieties, but there are five types of clivia growing worldwide.
Clivia maniata is mostly grown under tree cover in a well-drained, mold-rich soil. This variety of clivia can be found growing between boulders and along rocky slopes. Reaching a height of 30 inches, the stem of the clivia consists of a compact rhizome. They form large clumps if left to grow freely and flower a bloom of orange to yellow-white.
Clavia gardenii grows in a well-drained, loamy soil in steep, sloping areas or along cliff edges. This species can also be found under the canopy of evergreen trees. Reaching a height of 4 feet, this variety of clivia will develop 10 to 12 bright green leaves from the step. Flowering from May to July, Clivia gardenii blooms orange-red, pendulous flowers.
Clivia caulescens grows along moss-covered rocks and along tree trunks and evergreen forest floors. Reaching a height of just under 5 feet, mature plants form a long leaf-bearing aerial stem that reaches up to 3 feet. The flowers of the Clivia caulescens are tubular and orange-red in color. They bloom from spring to summer and produce a red berry in winter.
Clivia nobilis was the first named variety of clivia, according to Gideon Botha. It is generally found along the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa under evergreen vegetation. With long leaves and a large extended root system the Clivia nobilis grows to 31 inches and flowers a pink-yellow to dark red flower.
Clivia marbilis has only been recorded along the Northern Cape province of South Africa. It grows long, lightly-wooded eastern facing slopes in humus between sandstone boulders. The stiff upright leaves of the Clivia marabilis is strongly pigmented with purple-red bases and flowers up to 48 bicolored blooms on the long, drooping petals. The flowers of the Clivia marabilis are orange-red with yellow at the tips.