How to Care for the Clivia Plant

Miss Chen
Winter-blooming clivia (Clivia miniata) flowers in winter and early spring. The clusters of yellow and orange blossoms are surrounded by strappy green leaves. Clivia grows outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, but it can grow as a houseplant anywhere with proper care.

Pick a Spot
Whether you grow clivia outdoors in the garden, or indoors in a pot, provide the plant with partial shade. Outdoor beds with dappled sunlight work well, while indoors you can set them in an area with bright but indirect sunlight. Clivia is prone to root rot in wet soil, so grow them in well-draining beds or use pots with bottom drainage holes. Temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit kill the plant, so bring outdoor potted plants indoors before a freeze and don't allow the foliage to touch a window during cold weather.

Watering Wisely
How much water a clivia needs depends on the season. During spring and summer, water the soil when the top 1 inch feels completely dry. When watering a potted plant, allow the excess to drain from the bottom drainage in the pot and empty the drip tray afterward. Withhold water from late fall through midwinter if you want the plant to flower, because clivia only flowers in response to drought stress. During this dry rest period, keep the temperature below 60 F to further encourage blooms. Resume regular watering and increase temperatures when the flower stalk is about 6 inches tall.

Feeding Tips
Light fertilizer encourages healthy growth, whether the clivia is grown indoors or outside. Fertilize once a week in spring and summer. Dilute 1/2 teaspoon of 15-15-15 fertilizer in 1 gallon of water, and use the mixture water for one regular watering each week. Clivia doesn't need fertilizer during its dormant period in fall and winter.

Pruning Needs
Clivia doesn't require any regular pruning, but you can trim off dead or badly damaged leaves to improve the plant's appearance. Gently pull off the leaves or trim them off with shears wiped with a rubbing alcohol-soaked cloth. Potted clivia also rarely needs repotting and grows best when root bound. If the roots completely fill the pot, which happens about every three or four years, transplant it in spring to a new pot one size larger than the old one. The new pot must have bottom drainage holes. Plant the clivia at the same depth it was growing previously, and handle the roots gently to avoid damage.

Controlling Pests
Diseases rarely affect clivia, with the exception of root rot in overly wet soil. Indoors, aphids and mites may feed on the foliage, but you can rinse these off with a strong stream of water. Slugs and snails may feast on clivia foliage outdoors. Pick these off by hand and drop them into a bucket of soapy water.
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