No stem on flowers

ponderosaq(Z7 VA)January 6, 2010

I have waited years to see this plant bloom. Now it is blooming but the flowers have no stem, they are blooming squashed between the leaves. What do I need to do so that future flowers will have a stem..temp..fertilizer etc?

Thanks for your help,


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It still might be possible to elongate the stem by placing the plant in a cool and dark place for a week or two. If you had it at rest you probably brought it out a bit too soon. I've read a foliar feeding of potassium nitrate beginning in late summer helps in elongating the stem.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 12:35PM
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Ditto that!

Darkness will definatley encourage a longer stem, if it is not too late..:-)


    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 3:13PM
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This has happened to me, too, in the past, and mine are outdoors. You might want to do a search in this forum for additional input because I know it has come up before. You are not alone, if that's any comfort. ; )

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 12:02PM
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This is really worrying me as I now have most of my mature clivias in the garage having their cool rest since first week of December. Temps in there have been in the 40-50F.

"To bring in or not to bring in?" That's the biggest question to answer now. It's only been six weeks. Perhaps first week of February will be better? That would make like 8 weeks of cool rest by then. Ahhhhh....I sooooo want to see them flower RIGHT!!!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 1:41PM
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ponderosaq(Z7 VA)

Thanks for your input folks. My plant has been a in greenhouse that regularly goes down into the 40's at night and sometimes even slides down into the 30's.So far dark hasn't elongated the stem any. Guess I need to learn more and pay more attention to it. In truth the plant has been in there so long without doing anything I was surprised to see blooms on it.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 4:50PM
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I remember reading somewhere that keeping the plant too wet in the month or two before blooming results in short flower stems. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the reference. Anyone else hear about this?

Kevin : \

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 5:52PM
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I don't know, and on the outdoor plants, I have little control. I looked out today, and I see a stalk rising...

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 10:00PM
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Hi PQ,

It is still early in the season. Out of season blooms are rarely as nice as regular season bloom. 8-12 weeks of dimmer light and temps in the 40's is adequate for a good Feb-Apr bloom. Your variegates are awesome. They don't necessarily bloom as well either, since they have less chlorophyll to produce energy to force a bloom. It takes a lot of energy to bloom, and a lot to produce seeds. They can both weaken a plant, but the plants can generally bloom yearly, unless you produce seeds.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 9:14AM
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hardytropicalguy(z6 SWMI)

I think the biggest contributor to stem length in general is the proper cold period. Chinese enthusiasts have posted pictures of shorter stemmed less cold period plants. And the same cultivars with the proper cold period with long stems.

Potassium is also a contributor but the cold period is the best bet for results.

The Chinese enthusiasts recommend a MINIMUM of 6 wks of nights between 35-40 degrees not much higher and very little above 55 for the cold period. It is actually better to make the cold period as long as you can for the optimal results.

There are always exceptions to the rule (especially with Clivia) there are plants that are blooming in one enthusiast's office with no cold period and normal length stems.

Have you ever seen pictures of tulips grown in florida without proper cooling? They are about 2-3 inches tall in full bloom stumpy and very bizarre. I remember Holland bulb farms saying you get roughly 1 inch per week of stem length during the chilling period so for half the normal cold period the stems in tulips would be half the normal height. I have a feeling Clivia plants are somewhat similar to Tulips in this respect. Not necessarily the 1 inch per week part but with proper cooling you should get a proper height for your umbel.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 1:53PM
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Honestly everyone, I think all our plants have a mind of their

I have subjected many mature plants to many varying conditions, from cold, to dry,to no light conditions for weeks on end, then a combination of all together, and got short flower stems and some long on certain ones anyway.

Then, when some have had no bud stems at all after a long rest period, I have put them outside in April, and in two months, into June, many of my variegated and green plants grew long stem flowers, in the shade, as I posted pics of last year..

How do we even know what they are going to do, or what they think..Sometimes I think it is just a luck of the draw, or knowing a Chineese enthusiast..No word of a lie, but all my Asian friends can make anything impossible to flower, flower! You should see my neighbors plumeria plants!lol

This I will tell you. You should see the flowers on all the clivias in the greenhouse near my home that keeps their's stored in cold conditions with just the natural light of winter!


Great info everyone..At least we can do our best to encourage them the best way we know how..

Most of these ideas do work.

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 2:18PM
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ponderosaq(Z7 VA)

At least you made me laugh meyermike. My plants have had plenty of cold...30's and low 40's at night all winter. I rarely water my clivia in winter, it is with my cacti. After what hardytropicalguy said it may have had too many warm sunny days during the winter. Next year I could put it in shed that is attached to my greenhouse that gets light but no sun and doesn't warm up like the GH does if that may be the problem. Thanks everyone for all your ideas they are getting me thinking.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 4:45PM
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I live in Ohio and mine started to bud the first week of February, which is early for it. It started to bud in March last year. We had a really warm week towards the middle of January, which I think triggered it.

Anyway, it's in the spare room. There are no furnace vents in there, so it stays in the low 50s probably all the time, although on really cold nights it might dip down into the upper 40s in the window where it's at. The only light is from a north window, but since we've had snow on the ground so long it really gets more light than you might think. I haven't really given it a proper watering all winter long. It's been in there since the last of October. I've sprayed some water into the pot with my spray bottle a couple times, but nothing to really saturate the soil, just to give the roots a little break from the dryness. Not sure it actually needs it, but it makes me feel better.

But it always has beautifully long stems. It's up above the leaves now, and the buds are starting to spread out, which kind of has me worried because I don't know if they will open in the cool and dark like that. This is the earliest it has every bloomed, and it's always been outside for the big show before.

But it has to be the cool and dark that makes the stems so nice and long, because I'm not doing anything special. It bloomed in July one year and the buds started to open on a little squatty stalk until I moved it to a darker place on the porch.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 2:36PM
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rredbbeard(SE CT USA/zone 6)

The first time I got my clivia to bloom (25 years ago!) it was in a cold dark living room all winter and by May was blooming its brains out. Mine spend the summer on the north side of my house and almost never see the sun. When I've had problems with stem length, I'm pretty sure it's because they got too warm or light too soon... neglect is the secret to their survival, I think...


    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 10:32PM
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Wow! Mariava7! Those are Beautiful!!!

Rick, At what point should they start being neglected? I'm afraid, if my seeds ever sprout, I'm going to have a hard time neglecting them... is this bad? Should I start now? :)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 10:18PM
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rredbbeard(SE CT USA/zone 6)

Most of my mature clivias spend the winter in a north-facing room that is quite chilly. The ones that get any direct sun tend to have fewer flowers than those that sit in the deep shade away from the window. I think a combination of excessive light/higher temps contribute to short stems. At 40*F, they get water only once or twice until flower spikes are well on their way.



    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 6:55PM
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