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Why Does My Clivia Have Yellow Leaves?

Clivia miniata can be grown outdoors or indoors as a houseplant. While this plant is relatively hardy, it is susceptible to leaf yellowing when grown indoors. Clivia requires proper care and maintenance to avoid adverse effects such as leaf spots and yellowing.


Clivia miniata, also known as natal lily, is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family. This herbaceous perennial thrives in partial shade and reaches heights of 1.5 to 2 feet. Clivia produces lovely blooms in shades of red, orange, and yellow, and is generally low maintenance. Clivia is susceptible to leaf yellowing as a result of improper watering and root diseases.

Root Diseases

Pythium and Phytophthora are two fungi that can cause root diseases in clivia. Plants infected with root rot diseases develop damaged roots that interfere with the uptake of nutrients and moisture, which causes yellow leaves and stress to the entire plant. Plants with root rot often turn yellow, wilt and die. If you suspect root rot, check the root ball for signs of disease. Healthy plant roots should be creamy white and firm, not brown and mushy.


Overwatering is a common problem among homeowners growing plants indoors. Indoor plants typically require less water than plants grown outdoors. Overwatering clivia can cause yellow spots to develop on plant leaves and may cause entire leaves to turn yellow and wilt. According to the University of Arkansas, overwatering causes roots to become depleted of oxygen. Water your clivia until water runs from the drainage holes in the pot. Avoid watering again until the soil is barely moist.

Root Bound

A clivia that becomes root bound in the pot often develops yellow lower leaves. Plants that are root bound often have roots that fill the entire pot and even grow over the top and sides of the container. If your clivia develops yellowing of the lower leaves, apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer and move the plant into a pot at least 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter than the previous container.

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