Botanical Name: Clivia miniata
A summer flower out in the garden, Clivia can be forced into bloom indoors in late winter or early spring.
This member of the amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae) bears clusters of 10-15 trumpet-shaped flowers above a thick, upright stem. Bright orange flowers with yellow centers are the most common; however, sometimes you can find rare peach, yellow or white varieties. Rarer still are cultivars with variegated leaves, such as 'Striata'.
Dark-green strappy leaves are 2 in (5 cm) wide and can reach about 24 in (60 cm) long and last year-round. Wipe off the leaves with a damp cloth to keep them dust-free and shiny.
Give Clivia miniata a cool, dry rest for 6-8 weeks in fall to make it bloom. If you live where winters are cold, you can keep the potted clivia on your porch or patio for a month before the first frost, then bring it back inside and keep it in a cool room until midwinter.
After this rest, the increase of water along with normal room temperatures will bring a spectacular show of blooms in March or April. Show off your blooming clivia on a plant stand for all to admire.
Cut off the spent flower head. Wait till the flower stem begins to shrivel before cutting it off at the base of the plant. You can continue to display the plant -- its glossy fan of leaves will still be attractive all year long.
Don't be too quick to repot. This beautiful bloomer flowers best when it is slightly pot-bound and can stay in the same pot for 3 years or more. Its thick, fleshy roots often appear on the surface of the soil. Just top dress every year by topping with fresh soil as needed.
Plants get bigger and better over the years, so it's a good idea to use a heavy pot to prevent your plant from toppling. Or slip a plain pot into a decorative cachepot to dress it up. Don't worry -- a stylish cachepot won't upstage this magnificent houseplant.
No blooms? Clivias that fail to flower did not get a cool rest for several weeks in fall. Also, it helps to keep the plant pot-bound. It blooms best when its thick, fleshy roots are a little crowded in the pot. Remember, Clivia miniata plants need to be 3 years old or more before it will bloom. The wait is worth it; this houseplant will flower dependably for you and last for several years.
Something bugging your plant? Fluffy, white mealybugs are sometimes found clustered at the base of the leaves. Treat any infestation immediately.
Keep leaves dust-free. Gently remove dust from the leaves by gently wiping them clean with a soft, damp cloth. Don't use leaf shine products; Clivia leaves are naturally glossy.
Origin: South Africa
Height: Up to 24 in (60 cm)
Light: Bright light, no direct sun. Don't have a window available? Clivia miniata grows beautifully under fluorescent lights.
Water: Keep soil evenly moist in spring and summer. In fall and early winter, water sparingly just to keep plant from drying out completely. Gradually increase watering in midwinter. It's a good idea to use a pot with drainage holes to prevent soggy potting mix.
Humidity: Average room (around 45% relative humidity) or higher. Humidity tends to plummet indoors in the winter, so it's a good idea to use a pebble tray or a cool-mist room humidifier.
Temperature: Winter through summer, average temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C. In fall, a cool rest of 40-55°F/4-13°C is needed for 6-8 weeks for clivia to re-bloom.
Soil: Good-quality, peat-based potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring to fall with a high-phosphorous fertilizer. Stop feeding in winter.
Propagation: Division. This plant's thick, fleshy roots are somewhat fragile. Carefully detach offsets with roots from the parent plant immediately after flowering and pot in separate containers. You can expect blooms when Clivia miniata is at least 3 years old.