The bright orange-to-yellow flowers of Clivia plants add a warm and tropical flair to the landscape. These South African natives produce dark green, sword-shaped leaves that provide a contrasting texture to the foliage of woody evergreen and deciduous plants. Although Clivias grow well in containers in any zone, they thrive when planted outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Clivia plants require partial to full shade and fast-draining loamy soils to produce healthy growth.
Growing Conditions and General Cultivation
Spread a 1-inch (2.5-cm) layer of mulch around the Clivia plant with a rake. Keep the mulch 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) from the base of the plant to avoid rot.
Water the Clivia plant when the top 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of soil become dry during the active growing season using a garden hose. Keep the soil moist but never soggy. Never water the Clivia to the point that there is standing water on the soil’s surface. Reduce watering in the late fall and winter months when the plant enters dormancy. Water dormant Clivia plants when the top 3 to 5 inches (7.5 to 12.5 cm) of soil becomes dry.
Fertilize the Clivia with a 6-6-6 nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium formulation slow-release fertilizer every three months during the growing season. Apply at a rate of 1 teaspoon per square foot of soil. Spread the fertilizer in a ring around the Clivia plant, keeping the granules 12 inches (30 cm) from its base. Rake the fertilizer into the top 3 inches (7.5 cm) of soil. Water the area thoroughly. Do not apply fertilizer while the plant is dormant.
Deadhead the Clivia plant in the late spring when the flowers are spent. Cut through the base of the flower stalks with a pair of pruning shears. Make the cut 1/4 inch (6 mm) above the point where the flower stalk joins with the main plant. Discard the spent flowers in a trash bin or on top of a compost pile.
Spray the plant’s foliage periodically with a steady stream of water to wash away dust and grime that may attract harmful insects. Wash the leaves in the early morning hours to give the foliage time to dry before nightfall.
Place slug and snail traps around the base of the plant to stop these pests from feeding on its foliage. Spray horticultural oil or insecticidal soap onto foliage infested with aphids, spider mites or scale.
Divide the Clivia plant every three to five years. Dig up the plant in the spring, just after it has finished flowering. Dig in a ring around the plant, 12 inches (30 cm) away from its center with a shovel or trowel. Dig down to a depth of 10 inches (25 cm) and undercut the root ball to free it from the soil. Lift the plant from the ground and brush away excess soil. Pull the plant apart, separating individual stems with a healthy portion of the swollen roots. Replant the divisions, spacing multiple plants 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm) apart. Do not plant Clivia plants deeper than they were previously growing. Water the transplanted Clivia plants thoroughly.
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