Critiques and Evaluations of Named, Available Clivia Hybrids

BronxFigsDecember 7, 2011

I am a new grower of Clivia miniata hybrid plants. I have much to learn, and I read everything that I can about growing these plants. I post questions on this forum, and have gained much knowledge by reading about all the topics that are posted, past, and present. I took me a while but I read every thread on this forum.

Let's say, for an example, that I must have a semi compact-growing, wide-leaved, peach flowering C. miniata. So, now I start to shop around. I check-out "Cameron Peach", "Victorian Peach" or some other peach-flowering Clivia. Which plant do I consider buying? Which clone is a vigorous, easy-flowering grower? Are these clones prone to diseases, virus, bug infestations? What about the flowers? Do most of the flowers open around the same time, making a beautiful display, or do the flowers open so sporadically that only two, or three flowers are open at any one time? Which plant has better color? How long, and wide are the leaves? Which web-site contains the answers to my questions? "Seek, and ye shall find"...yeah, but not about Clivias.

Nowhere, on this forum, or anywhere else, have I read, (except in passing), any evaluations, assessments, critiques regarding the merits, and/or demerits of commercially available, named Clivia hybrids. Also very little on PLANT descriptions. Even Clivia cultivar registries contain little about the plants.

New Clivia hybrids are introduced every year by major breeders. Am I to believe, for example, that all the new peaches, or new "improved" yellows, are all the same. Are these plants all equally vigorous, and easy to flower for most growers? Or are some of these high-priced clones temperamental, weak and reluctant-to-flower "dogs"? What about plant characteristics....compact-growers, or sprawling habit, with weak, floppy leaves? See my point? So far, I've read mostly flower descriptions, and very little about the overall plant itself. Am I the only grower concerned about the whole plant package, and not just ONLY the flowers? When a plant goes into a show for judging I'll bet the WHOLE plant is evaluated for beauty, form, culture, and flowers.

Are there some kind of legal restrictions on using specific clonal names, and stating opinions about plant/flower performance and characteristics. Members on other forums easily offer their opinions about plants that they grow, and they name names. Why not do the same on this forum? How will Clivia breeding advance if there's no open, honest discussion about a plant's growing and flowering characteristics?

This forum could be a wonderful venue for exchanging information about the latest, "flavor-of-the-day" Clivia introductions, and for evaluations of older hybrids that have been on the market, and grown for years. Surely the more experienced, long-time growers must have some opinions about the plants that they grow. Please share. Pick a clone and start a thread only about that specific plant. Say what you think, and forget about "political correctness". Grow a set!

I, for one, would like to know the rest of the Clivia story, and read some objective comments about the plants we grow. Clivias can be pretty pricey. I rather know what to expect from a plant BEFORE purchasing, not after. I dislike buying a pig-in-a-poke.

Just my two cents worth.


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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Patience, Grasshopper. You must have noticed that this is not an active forum. If you want clear rules and standards, grow some other plant, like roses. Clivias have only been grown by more than a few breeders in the United States for the past decade or so. The international "ruling body" is the Clivia Society in South Africa, which is more like a collection of clubs than a formal horticultural governing group. Many growers give names to their plants even though they arent registered and don't breed true. Many growers are designing their own hybrids. The best way to get a plant that is true to its breeding is to purchase an offset, which will be a true clone. I've been growing clivias for seven years and found huge variations in plants grown from seed, even in widely recognized hybrids like Victorian Peach.

There will be a clivia show at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania in March. I suggest you go if you can to look at a range of plants and talk to breeders. The best way to learn is to find more experienced growers to mentor you. They are hard to find.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 11:20AM
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How nice of you to give me some insight into the Clivia World "mentality". Yes this forum is rather catatonic, and I was happy to see some action, and probably the only comments regarding this thread. That's OK. No problem.

I was more than a little surprised to learn that so many plants are just put out on the market before breeding has stabilized the characteristics for which they were bred. So, no guarantees even with the patented, named plants, if they are seed grown? That stinks! So from now on, I should just shop around for divisions of plants that appeal to me.

This endless speculating on my part is going nowhere fast. The long and short of it.... Clivias are a crapshoot unless you buy a division of the plant you want.

Thanks again for the straight dope.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 6:12PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

The flip side of the story is that, with time, experience and patience, you can breed your own unique clivias by crossing two different plants that have desirable characteristics. It might take several generations (and a lot of room for growing), but you could end up with a winner. I have crossed a Vico Yellow with very large flowers but floppy leaves with a variegated pastel clivia with wide stiff leaves and nice form. Several of the seedlings have attractive variegated leaves. In a couple years, they should flower. If I am lucky, one might be better than its parents, with big pastel flowers, variegated leaves and nice form. If I was growing roses, I couldn't come up with anything new.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 8:28PM
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Interesting information, that.
I just started with these Clivias about four months ago, and it's very difficult to find any information on the named hybrids other than photos of the flowers. There are only one of two retailers that I can recall that actually show photos of the flowers and of the whole plant, so you could see what you are buying. I wish other sellers would follow.

Thanks for the comments. Hope your plants give you endless pleasures, and some nice surprises.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 7:13PM
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There really hasnt been any SCIENTIFIC work done with clivias, which means that there hasnt been any truly objective, longterm, and peer reviewed work done in the field of clivia Genetics.

Its all done by hobbists, which is both great and bad at the same time. Great because there are a lot of very passionate people in the hobby, bad because we cant go and check these things like you could say with a tomato plant. A large amount of the information out there isnt even really right. Its sad but true. I am just enough of a scientist to know the information is partial or flawed and not enough of a scientist to explain why unfortunately. I have tried a few times.

BUT more to your question, your best bet is to ask the people who are selling the plants. If they dont know hopefully they will be honest about it.

With the peaches in general:

Vic Peaches: We have a bunch of these in our personal collection, they flower well, they offset well, they come in a variety of colors. They dont have huge flower heads IMO but they make up for it with prettyness. Vic Peaches are more wide leaved than the south african varieties and slightly more compact. We get some really subtle colors with or vic peaches and are using them in G2 crosses. Ours generally have between 13-20 florets. The flowers are nicely sized.

Cameron Peach: I have a few small ones but no large ones of our own. This will be changing this year so I will have personal observations to share. There are broad leaved versions of these, we have some seedlings and can confirm they grow about 2X the normal width. These tend to be a little wider than the chubb ones or the tipperaries in our collection, again talking about 2yr-3yr old seedlings so no info on final sizes.

Chubb Peach: The original chubb peaches are great flowering plants, and the later generations are good breeding stock. I dont know about offsetting, ours has not offsetted. There are a LOT of different chubb peaches but most are thinner leaved. This line is starting to throw a lot of really pretty rose lips and green throats. Sean mostly focuses on flower color but he also has a good amount of wide leafed plants and has done work with a lot of trades into Japanese stock, so you get some suprises when you start growing his seed. These have really nice sized flower heads although I have seen some with small flower heads. This is as much about how they are grown by the grower (you) as the genetics though.

Tipperary Peaches: These are like the chubb peaches I believe, somewhat thin leaf. We have been buying deeply into the newest generations of these and have not been buying adults so again no adult observations here. Letcha know in a few years ;). Theres a lot of exciting things going on color wise with this line. Personally These could be as large as my dining room table and I would still want em ;) These seem to mostly be in that same 12-20 floret range.

Poorman's Peach: I have some adults coming in this year and will update this as to their shape etc. This is a new cross with a really fine peach color. Also known as Primich peach after the creator Nich Primich. These have had really nicely sized flowers and are being used for flower form in a lot of crosses now.

Gail: Gail is a US peach that has a mid sized leaf and a very pretty color. We have it crossed into a pile of adults and all of them flower nicely. We never bought a straight "Gail" however. This is again used for flower form and size.

Can you tell we like our peaches? :)

Anderson peach: Thinner leaf but compact. VERY pretty dark peach color. Fairly rare but a good one for breeding towards a more compact peach. Ours has not offsetted.

Theres a lot of peaches out there but I think those are the 4 basic lines plus a couple more and a little info on each for you all.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 3:01PM
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Now, had you chosen to utilize reds or salmons or pinks as your example I wouldnt have been able to reel that off like that because as far as I know they dont come from so few sources like the peaches did way back when.

It gets very hard when your looking for something like "Broad Leaf" especially because broad is in the eye of the beholder. You mentioned someone in an email recently to us and one of the fellows calls 2 inches broad. We tend to think anything over 3.5" is broad ourselves, unless discussing miniatures which are their own category in my opinion. Theres a great book that you can get from the NACS by William MacClelland (sp) that lays out the actual correct definitions really well thats a good buy for anyone really serious about knowing that stuff.

aaand thats how long my back is going to let me sit here today. Great growing folks!


    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 3:10PM
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So nice of you to give us such extensive information about the state of Clivia hybrids and the general lack of objective and critical evaluations.
It truly is confusing to the hobbyist/casual grower, or to even a serious hobbyist when it comes to picking a plant when there is no, or, very little information listed about a particular plant. I would think that retailers could list, for example, leaf dimensions and maybe flowering characteristics.
But the Clivia world of hybrid plants is relatively new, and I guess it is as you say, a loose coterie of hobbyist growers, and breeders.
Thanks, for helping me understand why little data can be found.

Frank DV

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 7:54PM
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Link below, first book is really worth the 28 bucks if you want to be able to specifically tell someone what it is you are looking for ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: McLellands book

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 4:38PM
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