repotting clivias

StephenB(6PA)January 6, 2004

I have always understood that clivias prefer to be pot-bound. My four-crown clivia has been in an 8-inch pot for several years and its roots are beginning to spill out of the container. The plant itself seems healthy and blooms at the right time. But I'm concerned about all those roots coming up at the surface. What is the official position on this? Just how "pot-bound" should a pot-bound clivia be?

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Go to Under the heading of "people", go to Nick Primich and look at his Clivia that has been growing in water. Interesting? I hope you'll find your answers.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2004 at 11:42PM
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rosemariero(Z9 SW SUNDiegoCA)

I do not know the "official" position on this, but I think yours will be just fine with roots spilling out over the top. Mine was like that & was flowering regularly. Recently I decided to repot because I was going to divide it to give some to a friend. When I took it out, the whole thing was roots, just about...barely any soil left in the "brains" of roots. I detangled some of it (not easy~LOL) & managed to get a plant off of it. Thing is, I didn't finish...& it was never repotted...& has been half sitting in the pot for the past 6 mos. Now, I see a flower stalk growing out (probably for early March bloom)! I think I'll fix it up today in its new pot & get it back in the shade! If yours seems to be trying to bust out, now may be the time to repot to a slightly bigger one.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2004 at 1:06PM
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JayEmVee(z9 SF Bay, CA)

I think Rosemarie is on the money when she says "slightly bigger".

    Bookmark   January 29, 2004 at 3:19PM
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I did follow Kasie's advice and took a look at Nick Primich's hydroponic clivia. And that raises another interesting question: just how much water does a clivia require and/or tolerate? Again, the "official" position (as I understand it)is to water clivias sparingly, especially during the winter "down" season, when they need almost no water at all. But here's a clivia that apparently sits in water year-round, and is doing just fine. Any thoughts from anybody?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2004 at 10:17AM
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jderosa(z6 NJ)

I've found that when I grew my Clivia, I didn't let them go too long between repottings. All the soil seems to dissapear after about 5 years, and untangling the root mass is a lot of work. I was potting up one size every three years, so long as the pot was filled with roots. I used rich potting mix, and had no problems and plenty of flowers. I should mention that I didn't divide any clivia for over 15 years. They grew into massive specimins that were spectacular, and the pups seemed to develop and flower within a year or two. The plants also got very tall - up to 4' in some cases - due to all the crowding in the pot. One of the Clivia nobile that I had was divided after 15 years was split into 35 plants. I wish I had the room to continue growing these, but interests, space and growing conditions all changed at one point or another.

Joe 'I like them crowded' DeRosa

    Bookmark   February 2, 2004 at 8:47AM
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jbf16falcon(Z6b Owasso, OK)

I water mine here in Tulsa,OK very sparingly and use a potting medium that is half soiless and half orchid mix (large bark type with charcoal and very coarse material). If you really take a look at the roots of your clivia you will notice they resemble orchid roots. Clivia are prone to crown rot which is usually caused by overwatering in a soil that retains water and planting or potting the plant crown too low. Hydroponic growing of the clivia does not mean it likes water. It just means just about any living plant will grow hydroponically because of the circulation of water and nutrients that carry the oxygen and food does not go stagnant around the roots letting rot start. I probably botched the proper technique up on that and will let the hydro guys explain it properly. Once mine start climbing out of the pot I just move it up to the next larger pot size. I'd say as long as the plant isn't looking distressed and is blooming fine the pot size is not that important to the plant as it is to your visual pleasure.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2004 at 12:20AM
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Interesting. Here in southern Japan they are also grown in the ground and flower annually. Obviously, they are not pot bound! When I grew them in Florida I kept them in the same pot until it burst, literally. I had flowers each year using this treatment. So what gives?

Here is a link that might be useful: cold hardy clivia

    Bookmark   July 23, 2004 at 5:22AM
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Think about it. Where in nature would they be pot bound????Very few places really.
There is a Cliva, C. gardenii that has what is called a Swamp Clivia. It grows in river beds and the side of streams. Their roots are completely submerged.

I posted a link on the Bulbs list, link below, about proper Clivia care.

My recommendation would be to pot it into a larger pot. The more room they have, the more growths they can produce and the more flowers you will get.

I pot all my clivias from 1 gallon size into 3 gallon and then into 5 gallon.

Joe Solomone, clivia hybridizer, has all of his large stock plants in black plastic 7 gallon azalea pots. Not one of them is root bound. Several inches of soil is visible around the entire plant.

If space is an issue, buy the dwarf Chinese cultivars that are out there on the market.

John Ingram

Here is a link that might be useful: Proper Clivia C are

    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 7:26PM
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I have read all the old threads and still unable to decide how to continue Clivia care. I have grown a single plant in a 6" pot to a 7 plant one in a 12" pot over 15 years, potting up about every 3 years, ruthlessly removing any leaf that has even a tiny blemish from some mite or other. I withdraw water totally November and December, water lightly in January. At least 7 stalks produce spectacular blooms. I can't accomodate a larger pot and the form of the whole plant is so good that I am reluctant to divide. Should I root trim and repot before it gets too pot bound or wait? Last repotting was 2 years ago and my inclination is to do it before the plant looks like it is not happy.
Also, if I repot can the roots be cut only at the bottom? I have seen a pot that would give more room on the sides but is shallower than the traditional 12' clay pot in which it now resides.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 5:54PM
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