Thursday, September 29, 2011

Clivia Flower

Clivia plant, a small bushy shrub, native to Natal, South Africa, was named after Lady Charlotte Florentina Clive, Duchess of Northumberland, who was the granddaughter of Robert Clive. Clivia is actually pronounced by many as the name Clive. Clivias originally belonged to South Africa but are now grown in most parts of Australia, from Tasmania to the Tropics, and in colder mountain areas. Blooming clivia plants can enhance the beauty of your garden as they hold the clusters of vibrant yellow throated, orange or salmon trumpet flowers on stalks above the clump of dark green strap-like leaves. Here are the facts about clivia flower and clivia plant.

Clivia Flower
Clivia is also known as "Winter Lily" because of its winter blooming. Clivia is one amongst the most popular lily houseplants which is used to decorate homes, offices, gardens, all over the world. Flowering plants of clivia exhibit a rich bulbous flora. Many societies have been established for giving information about clivia's growth habits and care. The stem of clivia plant is thick and is surrounded by long linear leaves. Clivia flower appears on top, in the form of a beautiful bouquet. Clivia flower is almost similar in appearance to the amaryllis flower, except it is smaller and the cluster has more flowers. A clivia plant grows about 2-3 feet tall. Leaves are produced in an alternate sequence. A well grown, healthy clivia plant can have at least three to four shoots which come up straight from the base point. The clivia flower stalks have no leaves and they may be about 20-inch tall, depending upon the variety of clivia. The flowering stem stalk is always close to the center of the plant, hidden when small, among the rich green foliage.
The old varieties of clivias discovered in the forests were mostly of orange and yellow flowers but some pastels, red and very rare varieties like yellow nobilis and caulescens, have been discovered recently. The originally discovered plants are being improved over a number of years and a wide range of colors and even crosses between the four original well known types, have now gained popularity. Clivia Miniata, is perhaps the most popular type which carries upright florets. The other four-five types have pendulous florets. Clivia Gardenii flowers during autumn, while Miniata, Caulescens, Nobilis and Mirabilis flower in Spring. Clivia seed is generally harvested during June and sold or exchanged amongst growers until September each year as the growers wish to grow the 'best' clivia. Clivia's multiplication is possible through sprigs by separating the bulbs growing at the stem's base. The separation can only be done late in spring, after the blooming.
Clivia Flower and Plant Facts
Common Name: Clivia or Kaffir lily
Botanic Name: Clivia miniata
The Plant Needs: Water in spring and summer, in summer shade, mulch and good drainage
Best Look: Clivia flowers look best when planted in clumps beneath a tree. These plants need a shady position, so can be planted on the shaded side of the house.
The Plant Hates: Hot, dry conditions burn or bleach leaves, can not tolerate frost and snow
Folliage: Lush green foliage all year round. New varieties have variegated foliage which is more disease prone. Other newer species have wider and lusher leaves that add a more fresh feel to the garden.
Flowering: Miniata, Gardenii and Caulescens seedlings usually flower at three to four year while yellow varieties may require a slightly longer period. 'Nobilis' take considerably longer time and can only flower after seven or eight years.
Plantation: The best time to plant clivia is during spring and early summer, you may plant them successfully, any time throughout the year. The plants should be transplanted during the second half of spring to early Summer. The transplanted flowering sized plants may skip one flowering season, but they may flower the next spring.
Good Points: Cut clivia flowers last long. Seed heads after flowering ripen in the following winter and they also look decorative. Clivia plant requires low maintenance for a lush look. The clivia plant can flourish against the root competition under shallow-rooted palms.
Resting Period: Clivia plant needs a resting period of about 6 to 8 weeks during winter, for regular blooming. During this time, you should shift clivia to a cold place (between 8 and 10 degrees centigrade). It will require less water and you should not fertilize it during this time.
Best Climate: Clivias are grow in a wide range of climatic conditions but you need to offer them shelter from cold or frost in cool or frost prone areas. Clivia houseplant is grown in pots which can be kept under a shelter or a glasshouse during very cold winter. Tasmania clivias require protection from frost and extreme cold. If the plants are grown directly under full sun, in warmer climates, they may dry out and may become bleached and stressed.
Care: Seedlings take about 4-5 years to flower. Try to keep the soil dry in autumn and winter and water the plant well in spring and summer. A complete fertilizer can be used in spring. You should fertilize clivia soil once in 2 or 3 weeks in summer. Dead head of clivia flower can be removed or left as it is, for the formation of seed.
Growing Clivia: Clivia needs full light, but it should never be under direct sunlight. Constant temperature of 18 and 20 degrees can result in good flowering. You should water the plant twice per week in summer and once in a week in winter. Over-watering clivia can lead to rotten roots. You should not keep clivia in a warm place during winter, as it will not flower. A potting mix containing leaves, soil and sand is good for clivia. You should add some fresh soil each year for good growth and better flowering.
Clivia Flower Colors: Brilliantly colored flowers - bright oranges, apricots, reds and yellows are currently very fashionable. Pale cream or white clivia is rare at present. Newer varieties of clivia flower are available in red-orange and yellow color. Bi-colored clivia flower, for instance orange clivia flower with a strong yellow in the center is also available.
Cost: Yellow flowering clivias are not readily available in nurseries and so are extremely expensive (from $50 to $60 for a small plant). Potted plants of orange varieties of clivias in flower are available at local nurseries from $15 to $25 for a 20cm (8") pot and a 15cm (6") pot is around $9-$12. Flowering plants can cost more than $100. Clivia seeds can cost $8 to $10 per seed.
I find this beautiful clivia flower very attractive. Clivia flower graces floral gardens in America, Belgium, Australia, China and on a smaller scale some other countries. I would like to encourage all clivia lovers to join a nearby clivia club.

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