Rotted roots on Clivia

marylynh1(So Cal)October 6, 2003

Please help! I hope I can get an answer in this forum -- I searched Clivia and there were more posts in this one.

I have a very large Clivia that was growing in a 14" pot. I had a saucer under the pot and I didn't realize that there was water standing in the saucer until the plant was drooping and had rotted leaves. I took all of the plant out of the pot, removed rotted ends of roots and laid it out in the shade to dry a little before I repotted it in fresh soil. The firm roots were still about 4 inches long. It has probably been 3 or 4 weeks and the plant is looking worse instead of better.

What to do? Is there any way to save it? My specialty is succulents and I don't know what to do with this plant.


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Hi Marylyn,

I imagine 2 possibilities for you. First, the plant could be beyond help and is dying. It could be that the infection was very far advanced (you mentioned rotted leaves). Second, it could be the plant is recovering slowly, and it will take a long time to put out new roots and that it is just short of water now. If it has had a lot of damage it will need a lot of time to recover even if the infection is now under control.

Did you use a fungicide at all, if you didn't I'd encourage you to consider a systemic fungicide if the plant seems like it has a fighting chance. Rotted roots are a symptom of incorrect soil conditions, but rotted leaves are a possible symptom of an infection inside the tissues of the plant. Anyway, here is a quote from a Web page. It sort of implies Clivia bulbs will continue to lose water until they have developed a good set of new roots.

Q. How do I resuscitate my clivia that lost its roots ?
A. Remove any rotted root until you see healthy tissue, apply fungicide to the affected area, let it dry out, then apply rooting solution or powder. Wet a handful of sphagnum moss, then squeeze it hard until it no more water comes out then wrap sphagnum moss at the base (where roots are supposed to come out). Put the plant in a super high humidity environment like a zip lock bag, plastic bag or terrarium. Check periodically for sign of rooting. Once the plant is starting to root, repot the plant making sure that the small roots are not broken in the process of transplanting."

Write to me if you want more information on fungicides.


Here is a link that might be useful: Clivia Article

    Bookmark   October 7, 2003 at 9:25AM
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safariofthemind(z7b NC)

I've had some luck regrowing Clivia roots by taking all roots off, planting in pure sand and keeping the bulb in the shade in my garage until I see new growth. They key is not to water more than 1 every 10 days until you see signs of the thing perking up. RJ

    Bookmark   October 16, 2003 at 3:49AM
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jungle_cottage(sub tropics)

Clivia is as strong as old boots,only winter time it needs no water at all,summer time they seem to be able to take heavy rain all season as long as the soil is well draining.They are sold at our local market bare rooted and in a heap,the roots undamaged but dry.They are certainly drought tolerant.
I found they thrive on neglect,in dry shade with much water in the summer.
As clivia isnt a bulb as such,the roots function very much as starch and water storage organs.So when these are damaged the plant finds it very hard to recover.Thats why they resent disturbance once in the ground.
I would let it dry out completely and possibly use fungicide as Joe recommends,then pot it up dry in a very sandy soil as Safari did and then waite, seems no real point in watering if the roots are missing,if there are some they will need to start recovering.Perhapse spray the leaves with foliar feed, a very weak solution,with low nitrogen.Only once a week.If the crown is rotten,It will sadly die almost certainly.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2003 at 1:13AM
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Hello Marylyn,
Everything the previous posts have stated is pretty much what I would have to say. I have had this problem with fungus attacking roots as well. One more bit of advice is to not repot in the same ceramic pot once you've had this stuff show up. Get rid of it. I put a few stones under the pot so it doesn't sit in any water too. I have found that using shredded cedar bark mulch with a small amount of sterile seed starting mix thrown in is very good to put your healing clivia back into while they are growing their roots back. I mist every day or so rather than put them into a very moist environment. It lets the roots dry a little. I'm too nervous about fungus coming back and dampness invites it. I also would advise keeping a tiny bit of the roots just below the crown above the soil level once you have replanted them. They will send out new roots that are just below the soil line once they have re-established themselves. Just as an extra precaution I spray with a fungicide once in a while while they in the healing process just to ward off any that might be tempted to come back. I just repotted several of mine after losing quite a few this. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2003 at 8:13PM
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