Clivia: ' Basic -Training' of the Leaf Fan

bronxfigsAugust 13, 2011

Dear Members:

Some questions from a first time grower: ......

How would you go about preparing a Clivia miniata for a plant show, and to maximize the beauty, and structure of the plant itself, especially the leaves?

For example, is there a method of growing/training to keep the fan of leaves symmetrical and centered in the container? I would like to keep the leaves on my plant as short and compact as possible, and I was wondering if high light levels will keep leaves short, thick,and rigid. I dislike sprawling, weak-leaved, leggy Clivias that almost look like spider-plants on steroids.

How do you keep new leaves growing/stacked one on top of each other as the fan matures and naturally adds more leaves?

What does a Clivia miniata look like, say after 15-20 years? Will the fan of leaves elongate, looking almost like a mini "palm tree" as the old leave die and are replaced by new leaves, ... or do the plants stay as short as they were when young, but just keep getting longer and longer leaves? Does the original plant die after producing offsets?

These may seem like silly questions, especially for the long time growers of these plants, but none of the sites which give information on growing Clivia, mention anything about plant grooming tricks, and/or plant maintenance.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.


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Lots of questions and lots of enthusiasm. Could you include your email in your profile?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 6:27PM
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I thought when I registered that I had included my e-mail.

I hesitate to go back and re-register because I had plenty of trouble with this Garden Web/forum. The GF kept bouncing back all my information, and refused to recognize my registration.

If you, or any other members can offer any help with the grooming tricks for Clivia, I would appreciate the input.

I would like to keep my plants as neat looking as possible using correct culture, etc. I do not want ratty looking plants in my collection

Thanks, ....Frank

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 6:54PM
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Okay, Frank, but here's the thing - there are more superior grower and collector infos out there.

Grooming a miniata into the perfect fan shape, to me, would be next to impossible. Much of the form is in the genes of the plant and the miniata doesn't have it in the long run. If you want that perfect fan shape you'll want to go for the Asian plants. However, they have their own problems - expensive and unreliable unless you go for the REALLY big bucks. WTS, a beautiful specimen of the US, SA or AZ plants can be quite desirable.

If you're interested in more information we can go in the back door and you e-mail me.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 9:28PM
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I think I'll try to grow a plant, keep it alive, and just have some enjoyment, instead of trying for something that I may never achieve.

Thanks for the soft warning(s). Much appreciated advice.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 7:16AM
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I have limited experience, but once the plant hit full size, it did not keep growing. After flowering it lost a few of the oldest leaves, one after another, and new leaves grew up the middle. After producing pups (6 now) it did not die. The pot now produces 2 flower stalks in the spring, and I presume will produce more as the pups mature. It does not look symmetrical now as the leaves of the various pups and the mother plant interfere with each other, but it looks gorgeous in the pot.
Joe, Montreal

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 10:39AM
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You cant really train a mature plant's older leaves. You CAN train the newer leaves using some padding like paper towels and clothes hanger pins. (The spring gator pin things). What you do is simply clip the newest leaf to the one prior to it and "Train" it into shape. That is what the chinese do with their show plants. It is slow and not guaranteed to work, but better than nothing. Even the best genetic specimens need to be trained. I learned this the hard and sad way when one of our show plants started to "Bow Tie". Making sure they get even light will also help keep their leaves straight.

Cleaning: We use simple milk and water mix but theres a product called green glow that works real good. Another choice is neem oil but Clivia are very susceptible to burn and any oil based product will act as a magnifier.

Some of leaf width is genetics some of it is how you grow them. Low amounts of fertilizer, higher light, good air flow, all these will help keep your plants leaves wider. long or short is as far as I can tell completely up to the plant and its background genetics.

A perfect specimen adult clivia that has never lost leaves will have a few short leaves at the bottom then will fan out into larger leaves that are the same length, however they will be a bit further out of the plant each time as the base gets a bit wider each leaf, causing a wide V shape, its a very pretty, zen, thing especially if you have spent the time to train it into the perfect fan shape. I havent. I wish I had, but with 4000 plants its basically impossible to do. I would suggest putting the dollars into some good quality chinese plants and spending the time training them, you wont go wrong that way.

Heres a pic of my adult painted face from high level chinese genetics that I spend time training the new leaves on.


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 12:54PM
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Thank-you all.

I had a feeling that some kind of training method had to be used to grow such perfectly, stacked leaves, into the much revered, fan shape.

I'm going to buy the best C. miniata that I could afford and work from there.

Thanks again. BronxFigs

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 10:51PM
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Unless you get wholesale pictures like we do the chinese NEVER tell you they train the plants. You have to literally see one in the background and ask about the clothes pins...

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 11:02AM
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