Newbie... Need help with Clivia

PoutchiAugust 8, 2012

Hello Everyone,

I am a newbie on this forum... I have a clivia that was donated to me last year ( around May 2011). At the time, the owner told me it was about 2 years old. It now has 20 leaves and does look good... However I am getting worried since it has not bloomed this winter plus it has stopped growing since february this year... Am I doing something wrong? should I repot it?

I also have an orchid that i have had for 4 years... leaves are always growing but it has never bloomed ... So maybe there is something I am doing wrong with my plants.. The amarylis i have does bloom ( even though it bloomed in july this year) but my main concern right now is the clivia... I love this plant a lot and I am scared it is not well...

Thanks for any help

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Five years ago I was given a Clivia I now have 4 and have given three others away and they all came from the first plant.Did you put your plant outside for the summer?It should have been put out in semi shade.Best that you repot and fertilize lightly during the winter.Mine had bloomed every winter for five years and last fall (Oct) it bloomed and I was disappointed but it bloomed again in Dec then again in March,here's a picture

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 6:45PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

It is unusual for clivias to bloom before they have 12-16 leaves and are at least three years old. The usual advice is to feed well from spring to early fall and then give them 6-8 weeks of temperatures between 40-50 F with no water in the fall. Some people believe they won't bloom in the year after repotting, but I've not had that problem. Otonorot's plant is unusually vigorous.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 2:18PM
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Thanks very much for the answers...
So I moved the clivia and amarylis in my cold room about a month and half ago. This past week end to my great pleasure, I realised that the clivia is sprouting a new leaf, showing signs of life after a year of complete inactivity. The leaves are always a rich green and the plant still looks healthy... But I was just curious and touched it and it moved like if the plant was not stable anymore into the potting mix. From my readings on clivia, I knew it is supposed to have a big root system for didn t make sens that it will move so easily from the pot. So I tried lifting it up and........... like 3/4 of the roots are dead, like not rotten ( probably were few months ago but now that i have withold water they are dried up)... So I went yesterday and got a smaller pot and some african violet potting mix... However I did reuse a little of the original potting medium around the remaining roots in the new pot. I had like 3 to 6 inches of roots left and i didn t need to cut or anything, the weirdest thing is that it looks like the old roots died completely and the plant made a new set of roots ( very thick roots) and i believe that is when it started growing back again... Poor plant... Probably spent a whole year under major stress. I hope I did everything ok. Please let me know if there is anything I should do more to save this plant and not longer make the same things that lead to this condition.
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 7:28AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)


It sounds like your plant suffered root rot due to compacted soil and overwatering. These two things kill more clivias in pots than anything else. You are lucky that the plant started to put on new roots after most of the old ones died, this is probably because you were withholding water.

Clivias are more like orchids than other tropical plants. They need very fast draining soil and they need to dry out between waterings. African Violet soil will definitely be bad for a clivia because it is high in fine peat moss, which holds water like a sponge. It needs a loose, well drained potting mix. If you can buy some good quality soil-less potting mix and mix it half and half with perlite or even orchid bark, you would have a much better potting mix for your clivia. If I were you I would repot it in a better mix. If you do, be sure to remove all traces of dead or rotting roots when you do.

Once the plant seems to be growing well, be sure to feed it regularly with a balanced fertilizer and give it some bright light, although not full sun. Only water when the mix is dry in the top two inches. Many people have trouble getting their clivias to bloom before they are five years old or more, but once you give it the right conditions, it should bloom every year for you.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 5:43PM
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Hi Ohio,
Thanks for your help... Do you think I should do the soil changing now or leave it in that soil and only do the change when I am resuming back to watering? I am not quite sure if the clivia will be stable with orchid potting mix only. How do you get it to not fall of since that medium is not compactable at all? Or am I not getting the right kind of potting medium for orchids as well?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 4:13PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I was suggesting that you mix regular potting mix with an equal amount of orchid bark. If you think that mix would be too loose to hold your plant up, it probably would be better to wait to repot until spring after it grows more healthy roots. You'll just need to be very careful about not watering too often in the African Violet mix. One thing you could do is make sure the very tops of the roots and the crown of the plant are not covered in soil. I usually grow my clivias like this because when I do, it is easier to tell when the roots show any problems. It doesn't hurt clivia roots to be exposed to the air. They can even grow in trees in their native South Africa.

My favorite Garden Web forum is the Container Gardening Forum. One of the regulars there, Al, who goes by the screen name Tapla, has produced several very detailed posts about potting mixes for growing in containers, which are very popular. I have been growing plants all my life and clivias for eight years. I've had by far my best results in the past two years using the two potting mixes Al developed, called gritty mix and 5-1-1. Both are based on small chips of pine bark. The gritty mix is what I use for clivias, but either mix is far superior to anything you can buy in a big box store. If you are interested in doing more reading on this subject, here are three long threads discussing potting mixes. The first one was started by me and discusses my first time planting a clivia in the gritty mix, which is equal parts of pine bark, granite and calcined clay. The second one explains all the details and includes Al's recipes. The last one is also by Al, and discusses what to do to keep a plant healthy when it is potted in something like African Violet mix. All these posts include lots of photos.

This post was edited by Ohiofem on Wed, Dec 5, 12 at 17:12

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Hi ohio.
Thanks a lot i will read into that later on... I ended up stopping on my way home and got some orchid mix and some Perlite and repotted the clivia
Here are few pictures or my baby plant
I can t seem to be able to post pictures ... Any advice on that?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 7:11PM
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Hi Ohio,
I can post pictures from my computer not from my cell phone i guess ...
So here is the clivia I am soo worried about. I am not sure if by only looking at the leaves if there is a way to see whether or not she will be ok of if she is in distress mode. If I have not picked it up, from the look of it I would think this plant was healthy... do they even show signs of distress on the leaves? or is it only the roots that get all the beating?
Thanks again for all, comes spring I might get the Al Mix done for her and see how it responds to that...I can t wait to have an offshoot of this plant... A flower would be great but I am not hoping too much this year
Thanks bunches

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 1:24PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)


That is a lovely clivia. I like the nice wide leaves. It does look old enough to flower, and it appears pretty healthy. It is true that you usually don't see signs of root problems on the leaves until things get very bad, but sometimes plants that are suffering from too much moisture in the soil will have dry tips on their leaves. In that small pot, you should be able to handle drainage issues pretty well. I wish you the best of luck. Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 2:38PM
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Thanks Ohio
I sure will and thanks very much for your help... Now when i resume watering do i make sure there is no water in the middle part of the plant? Like where thr new leaves come in . I have always wondered if that place should be dry or kept moist

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:10AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

So sorry I didn't see your question until today. You definitely do NOT want any water in the center of the plant. Clivias have only one growing point, and it is at the heart of the plant. If that gets wet, it can kill the plant. I always water the potting mix under the leaves.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 11:13AM
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I grow my clivias outside under my pine trees from spring till fall. They get hosed down and rained on just like in their natural habitat. Having water in their center would not be a problem if your growing area is airy that would dry out that center within a day or two. Indoor grown ones are different though with growing condition having lesser air movement to dry them off. Just like any houseplants, they would also not want any stagnant water in their centers that "could" cause rot.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 6:31PM
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Wow Mariava, that's a lot of clivias. It must be spectacular when they all bloom. I've considered putting mine out in the hosta bed under the pines but the sun is so intense here that even with the limited amount of sun the hostas get, about 2-3 hr., they burn. I'm concerned that the clivias would burn to. Marg

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 1:20PM
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