Clivia is a herbaceous plant, with rhizomatous roots, native to South Africa; in Italy typically only one species is cultivated, clivia miniata, but it is also possible to find specimens of other 3-4 species in the nursery, and some hybrids, with variegated leaves or flowers with a striking and particular color. The clivie are herbaceous plants, without stems, which produce rosettes made up of large ribbon-like leaves, evergreen, leathery, dark green, a few centimeters wide, which can reach 60-80 cm in length, arched. Typically in a vase purchased in the nursery we find a single thick rosette of leaves; with the passing of the years, however, the rhizomatous roots tend to widen, occupying all the available space, and to produce new rosettes, so as to give rise to a large clogged head. At the end of winter a thick and fleshy, hollow, erect trunk develops from the center of the rosette, bearing an umbrella-like inflorescence at the apex, with numerous large flowers bearing three petals and three tepals, gathered at the base to form a tube; the flowers of clivia they are orange in color, but there are varieties with yellow, red and rarely white flowers. The flowers are followed by small roundish fruits, red berries that contain fertile seeds.
There clivia miniata is an evergreen herbaceous plant, which blooms in late winter; the flowers of this clivia deviate a little from the shape of those of the other species, in fact they have a very short tubular part, and open in large cups. The Clivie they belong to the same family as the amaryllis and the hippeastrum, a relationship that is very noticeable especially in this species, whose inflorescences could be mistaken for orange amaryllis (if they existed). Very widespread plant, especially in the apartment, it blooms starting from the end of winter, but often flowering, if weather conditions permit, is repeated in the following months; very decorative even when not in bloom, thanks to the large ribbon leaves.
It was the first species of clivia to be described, and therefore it is the type species; in fact in 1800 it was also the most widespread and cultivated clivia in Europe, and only a few decades later it was followed by Clivia miniata; nowadays it is not easy to find in the nursery, especially due to the fact that the development is very slow, and both the specimens obtained from seed, and the basal shoots, take several years to bloom. The leaves are ribbon-like, dark, opaque, elongated, and can reach 50-80 cm in length; the development of these leaves depends very much on the brightness that the plant can enjoy, with the longer leaves appearing on plants grown in dense and dark shade. In autumn it produces its striking umbrella-like inflorescences, consisting of a large amount of large tubular, pendulous, orange or red flowers, with the tip of the petals and tepals often dyed green. Contrary to what happens with clivia miniata, the flowers are completely tubular, and do not open to cup, and bloom pendulous, not facing outwards.
Also this species produces pendulous flowers, in umbrella-shaped inflorescences, carried by fleshy stems, the color is red orange, with the tips of the petals colored with green; a typical inflorescence can bring about 12-15 flowers, but in ideal conditions they can be counted up to 35-45; clivia caulescens blooms in late spring or summer. The leaves are ribbon-shaped, but, contrary to what happens in other clivia species, this produces a stem, which over the years can reach 160-180 cm in height, with the lower part becoming semi-woody, and tends to lose the leaves and remain completely bare. This species is perhaps the most resistant to cold, and can withstand even long periods with temperatures just below 5 ° C.
Also called marsh clivia, as in the areas of origin this species develops in very humid places, next to peaceful waterways; it is one of the largest species, with vigorous tufts, which can reach a meter and a half in height, with single leaves exceeding one meter in length; it is also one of the species with the fastest development, and from seed a plant can reach the dimensions suitable for flowering even in only 4-5 years.). The inflorescences are pendulous, of orange color, with petals stained with green, they count numerous flowers, turned downwards, tubular. There is a variety of pale yellow flowers in nature. This species is considered to be in danger of extinction, so it is not easy to find it even in the areas of origin.
The most cultivated species in Europe is clivia miniata, the other species have similar cultivation needs, and therefore we can simply explain how the most common and widespread species is cultivated. The Clivie they have been grown in Europe as houseplants for almost two centuries, which is why they are very common, and widespread, and are not always fully appreciated, given that this is one of the few houseplants that delight us with their flowers every year . In cultivation we will have to follow the seasons: as soon as spring approaches, usually from the rosette of leaves begins to appear the bud of the stem that will bring the flowers; we will then begin to water regularly, trying to keep the soil fairly wet and cool, but without over-watering it. Together with the water, every 15 days or so, we will also supply a good fertilizer for flowering plants. This type of watering continues until the autumn, when we suspend the fertilizers, and we will thin out the waterings, until they are only sporadic, just so as not to leave the substratum dry for a long time. The cliviee prefer bright locations, but without direct sunlight; we will then place them in a semi-shaded area of the house, away from direct heat sources. The ideal place would be a stairwell, with good brightness and a winter temperature close to 10-12 ° C, without the typical heat of the apartments; this to favor a development more similar to the natural one, with a period of semi vegetative rest during the coldest months. As soon as the heat arrives, with minimum night temperatures above 15 ° C, it would be appropriate to move our clivia outdoors, in a shaded and cool area, not exposed to heat, especially in the evening and night hours.
In the southern regions the clivie could also be cultivated in the open ground, in a semi-shaded area and protected from frost and cold winds; only that if the foliage is ruined by frost or bad weather, it takes years before the plant recovers and starts to bloom again; therefore, even in areas with fresh winters, we tend to cultivate the clivie in pots, so as to move them to the shelter of the cold.
The clivie and the vases
Contrary to what happens for most plants, clutches do not like to be repotted, and tend to prefer vases full of roots, rather than comfortable and spacious situations; for this reason, they are grown in small pots, and there is a tendency to avoid repotting them. A single rosette of leaves can easily be cultivated for a few years in a bell-shaped vase with a diameter of 18-20, and only when the vase is overcrowded, with numerous basal shoots and roots coming out of the drain hole, we will think of repotting. Until then it will be essential to provide an excellent fertilizer, from March to September, every 12-15 days; in addition to this, every year in autumn, we can remove the first layer of soil present in the pot, and replace it with fresh soil. The cliviee prefer a rich and porous soil, well drained, but which may slightly retain moisture; Typically, universal soil is used, mixed with a little soil of leaves, or earthworm humus, and lightened with pumice stone in small quantities, just to prevent the substrate from compacting too much over the years. During a repotting, we try to avoid damaging the roots, as this could lead to a poor or no flowering the following spring.
The clivia in the apartment
The clivie are usually cultivated in apartments, but in nature they develop in South Africa, an area of the globe with a particular climate, characterized by cool winters and summers that are not excessively torrid. Typically, the home environment in the winter months is much warmer and drier than the needs of the plant; for this reason, if possible, you choose to place it in a staircase, in a greenhouse, or in a room in the house that is not excessively heated. If we cannot find a position of this kind, it is essential at least to avoid that the air around the plant is excessively dry; therefore it is possible to avoid placing the clivia near direct heat sources; the pot is introduced into a large pot holder, which contains gravel or expanded clay, in a layer at least 4-5 cm high, where we will always leave two or three cm of water, so that it constantly evaporates, to increase the environmental humidity. We periodically vaporize the foliage, both in the winter in the heated apartments, and in the summer if our clivia is in a very hot and sultry area.
Clivia miniata: Propagate the clivia
As mentioned before, the clivias produce small berries, which contain fertile seeds; but typically when the flowers wither they tend to cut the floral stem, as it tends to be not very decorative; in addition to this, the fruits take a few months to mature, so it is quite difficult to find clivia seeds. However, if we wanted to keep some fruits on our clivia plant, we remember that the seeds must be extracted when the fruit is well ripe, and therefore no longer green, but of a beautiful shiny red color (yellow in the yellow flower varieties); the seeds extracted from the pulp must be sown immediately, in a rich compound, which must be kept moist until germination has taken place, which could take place over a month and a half; the seeds must be placed immediately, at the time of sowing, in a small pot rather than in a seeding tray, as we will let them develop the rosette of leaves before repotting them, or we will grow them in the same pot for at least two or three years before repotting them. A clivia obtained from seed can take up to six or eight years to flower, and therefore this method of propagation is not much appreciated. The clivia plants tend to age with age, producing new basal shoots, which give rise to new rosettes of leaves; we can remove a basal sucker to give rise to a new plant. In autumn we remove the outermost shoots, and place them in a single vase, cultivating them immediately as we did for the mother plant. After this type of "pruning", typically one or two years will pass before the plants have stabilized well in the new (or renewed) pot and can flower again.
Clivia is a common stoloniferous herbaceous plant, native to southern Africa; particularly in Italy it is a lot
This enchanting perennial herb comes from the African continent and is part of the large and varied tax grouping
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