Clivia is a perennial plant that is also a herbaceous evergreen. It is considered an ornamental plant that can thrive outside during the summer months in the UK and is also known as a Kaffir lily and Bush lily.
The flowers of the Clivia plant are trumpet-shaped and grow in groups on stems. The most common colour of flower is orange, although it is also available in red, cream and occasionally yellow. The leaves are large and sword-shaped, typically dark-green in colour. The Clivia plant grows to roughly 45cm high and 30cm wide.
Wild Clivias grow in South Africa and Swaziland in woody areas at low altitude, usually in the eastern coastal regions.
Clivias are available all year round and usually flower between late winter and late spring, but you should be aware that they do have a resting period between autumn and winter.
The Clivia genus is part of the Amaryllid family (Amaryllidaceae). There are five main species of Clivias. C. miniata has the common name of Kaffir or Bush Lily and its flowers are sweet-scented. C. gardenii has a longer flowering time than other Clivias and its flowers vary in colour from orange-red to brown-red or even yellow. There are also C. mirabalis, C. nobilis and C. caulescens.
Clivias are sensitive to frost and if placed outdoors they need to be brought in for winter. They dislike direct sunlight and leaves may scorch if the light is too strong. They also need to be kept away from fires and radiators. Clivias prefer well-drained compost and, to optimise flowering, they should be placed in a cool (around 10°C) and light area over the winter months. They can be moved to somewhere warmer, water sparingly and fertilise, this should encourage them to flower. If you place your Clivia outside in summer, place it in a semi-shaded warm-spot. They should be re-potted every three years or so in early spring. They do prefer pots that are at least 8 inch in diameter and when you re-pot a Clivia, you should leave the bulb neck above soil level.
Did You Know?
- The C. nobilis was named after Lady Charlotte Florentine Clive, who was the Duchess of Northumberland.
- Clivias have medicinal properties for assisting in childbirth and for treating fevers, although home-made solutions should be avoided as Clivias also contain toxic chemicals.