How to Grow Clivia Bulbs


Clivia are a slow growing genus of flowering bulbs belonging to the lily family. They are prized for their long-lasting elegant flower heads that bloom hues of coral, orange, pale yellow or creamy white. Clivia, also commonly known as kaffir lily or bush lily, is native to sub-tropical southern Africa. It thrives in USDA zones 8, 9 and 10 and is grown indoors or in protected locations outdoors in bright filtered sunlight to light shade conditions. The bulbs will naturalize and grow offsets when 3 to 4 years old when the bulblets can be broken off to create new plants.

Step 1

Provide your clivia with a nutrient-rich planting soil amended with compost and well aged manure. Supplement the soil each year around established plantings with a pound or two of these amendments scratched into the planting soil.

Step 2

Site your clivia either indoors or outdoors where it will be in ambient temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit daily.

Step 3

Water your clivia to keep the soil lightly and evenly moist at all times. Allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out between waterings, but do not let the soil become parched.

Step 4

Feed clivia once a month for 10 months out of the year with a general purpose water soluble plant food mixed at 50 percent strength. Apply around the roots only and resist the temptation to foliar feed, which will leave water spots on the glossy leaves.

Step 5

Set the bloom cycle in motion by giving the plant a two-month rest in the fall and winter. Provide thirty days of cool overnight temperatures of between 36 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Follow the cool period with six to eight weeks of scaled back watering and no fertilizer.

Step 6

Resume watering and feeding when the tall bloom stalk begins to grow. Return the plant to its normal temperature range while in bloom and keep out of direct sunlight to preserve the flowers.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Water
  • Bulb fertilizer
  • Organic mulch


  • University of Wisconsin: Plant Profile
  • North Carolina State University: Clivia Characteristics
  • University of Florida IFAS: Bulbs for Florida
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About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.