Clivia flower bud stuck!

qhslauFebruary 8, 2013

Hello Everyone,

It was 2 weeks ago I saw an orange flower bud starting at the crown of my clivia plant. I was so very excited to see it bloom! However, up until now, the spike has not elongated at all. I assume it is stuck. I googled everywhere, and I knew I probably didn't give it a proper cooling period. This plant was given to me by a friend in last summer and I did not know it needed a cooling period in order for it to bloom properly.

So... is there anything I can do to make it elongate? It's so sad to see it stuck there and rot eventually.

Please advise!


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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Unfortunately this is not unusual, especially the first time a clivia blooms. You probably can't get this flower to rise out of the leaves, but you may be able to keep this from happening the next time your plant blooms. I believe that lack of adequate fertilizing during the growing season (spring and summer) is a major contributor to the problem. Try to find a complete fertilizer with trace elements that has more potassium than phosphorus in it, and use it regularly. I added a small amount of muriate of potash to my potting soil in the summer after having this happen, and I haven't had it occur again.

This is from
We have found that moving plants to a cooler location (inside an air-conditioned house) and feeding with soluble fertilizer is the most effective combination to induce the peduncle (stem of the scape) to extend normally. Potassium has been suggested to play a critical role in scape elongation; at high summer temperatures, it does not seem to help by itself.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stunted scapes

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 6:23PM
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Drenching potting mix with potassium nitrate - 1 tsp per gallon "sometimes" help.

These are some of my clivias that are currently blooming.
They all got a drenching of potassium nitrate mix when I first saw they got buds peaking in between their leaves. Just like any blooming plants, your clivias' flowers will be very dependent on how you fed them during their growing season when the flower embryo inside them are developing. The cool period is useless if their is no flower embryo that developed right for the clivia to push. Poor feeding = poor/no flowers. We feed our tomatoes so they have more flowers that eventually become tomatoes...right? You all have a wonderful week ahead!!!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:19PM
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Can I use Miracle Grow 20-20-20 as long as I add extra K and minor elements?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 7:26AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I wouldn't advise doing that. In the first three years or so, immature clivias benefit from a fertilizer with a 3:1:2 ratio. The high N helps them mature more quickly. Once it gets 12 leaves and is old enough to flower, South African growers recommend a 3:1:5 ratio. Note that 20:20:20 is way too high in phosphorous.

For the last few years I've been following the advice of Al (Tapla) in the Container Gardening forum and had excellent growing and flowering. He advises using a 3:1:2 ratio in all container plants. To encourage flowering, he cuts down the amount of N. Follow the link below if you want to know more.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fertilizing Containerized Plants

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 12:58PM
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Thank you for the info. My plant has 16 leaves and 2 bloom spikes (umbels?).
I'll locate some 3:1:5 and some minor elements. Should I wait until it's done blooming before i fertilize?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 2:16PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I fertilize from January through October. A 3-1-2 fertilizer will be easier to find than 3-1-5. Miracle grow makes one that's 24-8-16 with minors. I use Foliage Pro, which is 9-3-6 with all trace elements. I just add extra K in mid summer. The most important thing is to make sure you have a fast draining potting mix because clivias are susceptible to root rot.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 8:52PM
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Hi qhslau,

That has happened to me on several occassions. The primary reason for the umbel not emerging from the crown of the plant like that is usually because the plant did not have a sufficient amount of cool temps to develop the stalk. It is recommended to give your plants no less than two month of cooler temps (not freezing, but 40 to 50 degrees F.. is okay. I usually put mine outside in spring (out of direct sun and rain) and wait until fall before the first freeze before I bring them back in. They usually bloom around Christmas time for me! Cool temps are a must for bloom development.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 12:12AM
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If you water your plant when the stalk is very small, it is stuck. Wait until it is min. 15 cm long, then water. That is happend to me last spring. I did't notice tiny stalk until it is too late. This spring I was more carefull. Now I have one stalk in full of flower and second is coming soon.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 4:44PM
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Mine seems to thrive on neglect as a potted plant. It never gets fertilization and during the first winter, as a house plant it went totally dry because I completely forgot about it. the leaves looked great anyway. It is going on 5 years now with scarcely any attention.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 12:41AM
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