The Clivie are herbaceous plants native to southern Africa, they belong to the same family of the amaryllis; they produce a big fleshy rhizome, which tends to widen very much; directly from the rhizome develop tufts of big curved leaves, ribbon-like, quite leathery, of dark green colour.
From the end of the winter, between the leaves, develops a stem, tall up to 50-70 cm, at the apex of which bloom flowers with funnel of medium size, united in clusters of about 10-20 flowers, orange, rarely yellow. The most common species in the apartment is the Clivia miniata, whose flowers are facing upwards; there are other species of clivia, all with hanging flowers, but difficult to find in Italy for cultivation.
Over the years from the rhizome tend to develop more clumps of leaves, and consequently more floral stems, flowering can last even a few weeks.
Cultivating the clivia
In addition to flowers, clives have another strong point: they are easy to grow and have no special requirements. The large rhizome does not need large containers, also because these roots tend to find more space, the more they develop, spending all the energy of the plant to produce roots, so let’s place our clivia in a container large enough to accommodate the rhizome, but not too large, with good universal soil.
We repeat this operation every 2-3 years, increasing each time the size of the pot of a few centimeters.
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Exposure and care
Let’s place the vase in a shady and cool place, far from the direct rays of the sun and the cold wind; these plants prefer rather cool temperatures, around 10°C in winter and 25-28°C in summer, therefore let’s avoid placing them in the sun or in the warmest point of the garden in summer, and in winter instead let’s remember to shelter them from the frost, which would irreparably ruin the foliage.
Usually, the best place to cultivate a clivia is a cold greenhouse, but wanting to enjoy it in the house, it is good to put the pot in a stairwell or in a room which is not excessively heated. In fact, if these plants do not go through a period of autumn rest, with temperatures below 15°C, they tend, with the time, not to bloom.
From March to September we supply specific fertilizer for flowering plants, mixed with the water of the watering; the latter will be regular, but not excessive, they will simply have to moisten the soil when it is dry. The climates bear without problems periods of neglect, even if it may happen that if left for long periods without water or in a place without ventilation are affected by the cochineal, which nests mainly at the base of the foliage.
Clivia – Clivia miniata: Pests and diseases
Miniature clivia plants are usually not attacked by pests and diseases. However, these are the diseases that can affect the plant.
When the plant is irrigated in abundance or in an excessive manner compared to the real needs, the leaves of the clivia miniata will tend to yellow and then to crumple.
If, on the other hand, the leaf tends to thicken and take on a different colouring, it means that it has been exposed to light for too long. In this case, therefore, it will be sufficient to find a better arrangement for the plant, in a place more sheltered from the sun’s rays.
A further problem that could affect the plant is the attack of cochineal, especially brown cochineal.