Tropical plants: the Clivia


Clivia is native to Transvaal and Naval, two areas located in the south of the African continent. It was introduced in Europe in the 17th century, when the first explorations were made in those distant places.

Like most tropical plants, Clivia is  a  evergreen variety of a big size .

It is not a bulbous one, as it has thick and very resistant rhizomes that expand throughout the available space. Contrary to what you might think, this feature favors flowering.

Leaves, green and ribbon-shaped, are attached at base level; Are very large, in fact, have a width of 5-7 cm and can reach 1 m in length.

During the spring, small, orange or white flowers begin to form, depending on the species, grouped on a long stem in the center of the leaf rosette. The inflorescences have a tubular or chapel shape and last for a few days on the plant but are continually rejected.

After the pollination, red berries are formed which mature over several months; Inside there are small seeds.


Being originally from South Africa where the climate is hot, Clivia is  often put in a pot in the interior of the house; It is possible to grow it outside only if the climate is particularly hot and humid. Let’s see what are the most specific features.

Soil: Use a mixture of soil rich in organic matter, peat and large sand with a ratio of 2: 1: 1. Despite tending to fill all the space of the jar with its roots, it is invoked every two years not to alter the subsequent bloom. It is preferable to use terracotta pots because they are very resistant and allow the transpiration of the earth contained therein.

Irrigation: during the winter must be watered sporadically, in contrast in the spring and summer months. The soil must be well damp but no water stagnation should be formed to make roots. Living in damp environments, it is advisable to periodically spray the leaves. If possible, place the plant on a subsoil filled with small pebbles to allow water evaporation and to dampen the environment in which it lives.

Exposure: It must be placed in a sunny area but never with the direct sun, as the rays would burn the delicate leaves. When temperatures rise above 15 ° C, it is advisable to place it outdoors in a shaded place.


Generally clivia takes place by splitting buds with at least 4 leaves; Must be planted with the soil used for adult plants.

Alternatively, fruit seeds can be used: each must be buried in its own jar for half its length. Once it is sprouted, it can be transplanted into a larger vessel. This kind of multiplication is very slow, it takes about 6 years for flowering.


Clivia does not require pruning and it is possible to remove the leaves if they are yellowed or dried to prevent them from being a vehicle of parasitic diseases.

Parasites or diseases

Clivia is a very resistant vegetable variety, but like other plants can be subject to parasitism or illness.

Yellowing of the leaves: Comes from little or too much water.

Thickened and bronze-colored leaves: in this case they are too exposed to light.

Dark spots on the lower portion of the leaf: it may be cochineal;

If they are clear, they are flaky coccine.


Clivia was discovered by William J. Burchell in the south of the African continent. Later, botanist James Bowie sent some specimens to England where they were studied. In 1828, Lindley, in honor of Duchess Charlotte Florentine Clive, classified her with the scientific name Clivia nobilis and later discovered other species.

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