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Clivia Flower: Everything you Need to Know

Stubborn but colorful Clivia flowers impose a bold statement in the garden with a never-ending urge to bloom even in winter. 

Generally, the Clivia flower blooms from late winter to mid-summer, featuring whitish-yellow to orange-red flowers. The flowers in the cluster are fragrant, trumpet-shaped, toxic, and dry in 2-3 weeks after blooming, and deadheading the old blooms will help them to flower again.

Flowers of Clivia are not only for sightseeing but also boast several uses that we will explore below!

How often do Clivias Bloom?

Clivias are herbaceous perennials that flower yearly, but the older Clivia can bloom twice a year under intensive care.

They normally flower from late winter to mid-summer, but some varieties bloom even in the fall.

Clivia growing from seeds takes 2 to 5 years to reach flowering maturity, so gardeners plant them using bulbs, prolonging their flowering period and getting more blooms.

With that said, planting position, care, and seasons influence their flowering cycle. And Deadheading the flowers will give them the energy to bloom in the following seasons.

Overview of Clivia Flower

Clivia belongs to the Amaryllidaceae (Onion) family, so their flowers are visually similar to Amaryllis, another family member.

Clivia’s trumpet-shaped, bisexual flowers come in yellow, white, or orange-red shades and appear in clusters at the top of a flowering stem.

Image represents the general overview of Clivia flower
Clivia consists of clusters of trumpet-like flowers that keep on growing at the top of a flowering branch.

But the flowers tend to fade as the plant ages, and their colors may turn out differently at the end.

The flowering stem, or inflorescence, is called Umbel with an umbrella-like shape.

Each cluster contains around 12 to 20 flowers, and all the flowers have a common point of origin at the tip of the flowering stalk.

Clivias are ready to set the flowers when a mature plant gets 12 to 16 green, flat, and strappy leaves.

Each flowering stem keeps on getting new blooms for 2 to 3 weeks straight; during this time, pollination takes place.

Individual flowers stay for around 10 days in the clusters, after which they dry up, and new flowers replace older ones.

How does Clivia Flower Pollinate? 

Most Clivia species are ready to pollinate in late spring to mid-summer (May to July) when the flowering is at its peak.

The top of the male part bears grainy, white-to-yellow pollens, and the female part becomes three-parted with a sticky tip.

Either Clivia plants self-pollinate or use the help of nectar-sucking butterflies or birds, they produce limited seeds.

There is also less chance for the pollen to land on the female part by self-pollination. So, it’s better to lend a hand and help the flowers cross-pollinate.

Cross-pollinating with flowers of another plant will also produce hybrid varieties.

  • Choose a calm early morning or nighttime for pollination. 
  • Cut the male part holding pollens from one flower at the base using forceps.
  • Shake and collect the pollens in a zip-lock bag.
  • Select a healthy Clivia flower from another plant and observe its female part to confirm it’s sticky.
  • Brush some pollen to the sticky tip and continue the same with another flower.
  • To ensure success, pollinate the same flowers for 5 days continuously.  
You can also store the collected pollens in a deep freeze at around -0.4°F to -4°F until pollination. Properly stored pollens can stay viable for three years.

After pollination, the flowers fade and lose their colors.

They dry up and enter the fruiting stage, where small green berries replace the pollinated flowers.

The berries color up, appearing yellow or red (depending on the bloom color), and become pulpy to the touch.

Berries are present in a bunch at the top of a flowering stalk. Each berry contains 1 to 2 seeds that take anywhere around 6 to 12 months to mature.

How to Make Clivia Flower?

Seed-growing Clivias take a long time to keep up the flowers, so growing from the bulb is safe to have the flowers on time.

But you need a little effort to ensure and extend their flowering for the first season.

  • Root-bound encourages the plant to flower, so only repot once every 3 to 5 years.
  • Use bloom-boosting fertilizer once in mid to late winter. Also, feed with balanced NPK 20-20-20 fertilizer once in 2 weeks.
  • Locate the plant in temperatures between 40°F and 60°F at day and around 35°F at night.
  • Imitate a cold environment for 4 to 8 weeks to hold flowering.
  • After 4 to 8 weeks, keep the plant at around 60°F and continue normal watering, but reduce watering from mid-fall to mid-winter.
  • Use a high-potassium fertilizer after you place the plant at room temperature.

The plant may produce buds after 2 weeks following the treatments. After blooming, continue using balanced fertilizer every two weeks.

What to do After Clivia Blooms?

After the flowering season is over, all you are left with Clivia berries containing the seeds.

You can leave the berries in the flowering stalk for 6 to 12 months and harvest the seeds after they mature by rubbing the pulp and skin.

Either way, you can cut the flowering stem back and support the plant to adorn more blooms.

  • Start pruning after the plant stops producing blooms at the end of the flowering season.
  • Select a flowering stalk with dry or wilting blooms.
  • Cut the stalk right at the base of the stem or just below the flower clusters.
  • Similarly, trim any damaged or diseased leaves all the way back to the leaf’s base.
  • Give a few trims around the tips of the foliage to offer the plant some bushy shape.
  • Avoid trimming more than one-third of the leaves at a time.
  • Compost the leftovers to discourage pest or disease invasion.

Get into the details of deadheading by watching the following video.

Pests and diseases often bother pretty Clivia and can hinder their flowering. So, apply neem oil to free them effectively from unruly situations. 

Uses of Clivia Flower

 From gardening to medicine, several species of Clivia flowers serve different uses.  

1. Medicinal Use

Clivia flowers are famous for their curative and healing properties. 

Flowers are effective in stimulating muscles, treating urinary infections, and relieving pain.

According to 2016 research, flower extracts contain lycorine with antimicrobial activities that helps to reduce bacterial growth.

Similarly, traditional African folklore practitioners use Clivia miniata flowers as a magical charm to scare evil spirits

2. Gardening and Decoration

Clivia Flowers are vibrant and beautiful that can help beautify your indoor and garden scapes.

Planting Clivia in garden beds in rows or hedges can be a great addition to summer or winter gardens. 

You can either cluster them beside a garden wall, grow them in your gardens, pot them or keep them in your vases as cut flowers.

3. Symbolic Meaning

Lady Charlotte Clive was the first woman to cause a Clivia to yield flowers in England, hence the name. There, Clivia flowers symbolize luck, happiness and abundance.

In its native home in South Africa, the flower means the diversion of oneself from the ego to the divine.

In other parts of the world, gifting someone with Clivia flowers gestures a sense of nobility.

Radiant Cosmos flowers were first brought to England in 1789 and since then they have become an important part of English culture.

Clivia Flower: Toxicity 

Despite its uses and benefits, Clivia flowers are toxic when eaten in large amounts.

According to ASPCA, Clivia comprises smaller quantities of Lycorine and other alkaloids making the flowers mildly poisonous to humans and pets.

Excessive intake could lead to poisoning symptoms like vomiting, salivation, diarrhea, puking, tremors, and low blood pressure in pets.

High consumption can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive drooling in humans.

In case of visible symptoms, contact the following helplines.

Wrapping it Up!

Clivia flowers are attractive to look at and raise homing decor and gardening standards.  

But admire the flowers from a distance as they can be unpleasant for you and your pets.

You can draw out their flowering much longer by deadheading the old blooms and enjoy new and long-lasting blooms year-round. 

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