How Do I Take Care of My Clivia Plant?


The clivia plant, also known as kaffir lily, is popular in the United States as a houseplant as it cannot tolerate cold winter temperatures. Clivia can be grown outdoors in frost-free areas, but gardeners typically opt to grow their plants in containers. The plant is native to South Africa, where it thrives on shady forest floors. It will need similar environmental conditions to thrive as a houseplant. Clivia may be grown from seed, but flowers will not appear for three to five years. Purchase established plants from your local nursery or garden center if you want to enjoy clivia flowers sooner.

Step 1

Keep your clivia plant indoors in a location that receives indirect sunlight through most of the day. Use a growing medium made of one part potting soil and one part peat moss, to increase fertility and drainage.

Step 2

Maintain a daytime temperature of about 70 degrees F and a nightly temperature of about 55 degrees F during spring, summer and fall. Reduce the nightly temperature to 45 degrees F during winter, to initiate a resting period before blooming occurs.

Step 3

Water clivia plants once per week during spring, summer and fall, allowing the soil to dry slightly between applications. Reduce the frequency of watering to once every 10 days during the plant's winter dormancy period.

Step 4

Feed clivia once per month during spring, summer and fall using an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer. Water the plant both before and after applying the fertilizer to release the nutrients into the soil. Read the manufacturer's directions for dosage information.

Step 5

Repot clivia once every three years to prevent the plant from becoming completely pot-bound. Transplant into a new container about 3 inches wider in diameter than the previous pot. Repot during spring just after the flowers have faded, to minimize damage.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never expose clivia to temperatures below 36 degrees F or severe damage may occur. Do not fertilize your clivia plant during winter.

Things You'll Need

  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Houseplant fertilizer
  • Pot


  • University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: For a Sure Thing Try Clivia
  • University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences: Clivia
  • University of Wisconsin Department of Horticulture: Clivia
Keywords: clivia plant, clivia plants, kaffir lily

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including