Clivia is a common herbaceous stoloniferous plant, native to southern Africa; in particular in Italy the species Clivia miniata is widespread, and some varieties derived from this species. These are evergreen herbaceous plants, which produce a good root system, from which a large tuft of large ribbon-shaped, arched, dark green, shiny and leathery leaves rises; in spring between the leaves the plant produces a tall, fleshy, wide stem, which bears an umbrella inflorescence consisting of large funnel-shaped flowers, typically of a bright orange color; there are varieties with yellow, white, red, or pinkish orange flowers. In recent years in the nursery you can also find Clivie of the nobilis species, which produce a more contained head, with flowers on a short fleshy stem, red, tubular in shape, facing downwards.
The Clivie they are grown as houseplants, because the large leaves are evergreen and persist throughout the year; flowering occurs between late winter and early spring, and lasts a few weeks; well-developed plants and in the right growing conditions can produce more floral stems, which often develop in succession, making the flowering even more prolonged.
The clivias come from the southern part of Africa, where the climate is certainly milder than that which can be found in Italy, but as regards rainfall it does not differ much; therefore our plants will need very mild minimum temperatures, never below 8-10 ° C, not even in winter; therefore they are grown at home, not necessarily in a heated area, even a stairwell can be indicated, as long as the plant is not subject to cold wind blows due to a window or a door that open continuously.
Watering will be regular throughout the growing season, wetting the soil thoroughly from March to September, but always waiting for it to dry before watering again; during this time of year we remember to also supply some fertilizer, dissolved in the irrigating water, every 13-15 days.
In the autumn and winter period, in nature, the plants do not receive watering, and enter a sort of semi vegetative rest; it seems that such rest favors the flowering, it is therefore advisable to thin the waterings, until almost suspending them, for the whole winter period. The more the plant is grown fresh and the less it will need to be watered; then the clivia left in the stairwell at 10 ° C it could remain without watering for the whole winter, while the one kept indoors, with a minimum nighttime temperature of 18 ° C, will require sporadic little watering.
If the plant is kept in a heated place, we must also remember to vaporize the foliage, in order to increase the environmental humidity.
After flowering we remove the stem that bore the inflorescence and repot the plant, at least every 2-3 years, placing it in a slightly larger pot than the previous one and replacing all the topsoil with a good fresh universal potting soil, enriched with humus and lightened with few fairly coarse perlite. As is the case with many other plants, even clivias grown in pots seem to prefer slightly crowded pots, therefore we avoid repotting them in very large containers. In fact, moving into a large pot will lead the plant to use most of its energy in producing roots and leaves, to the detriment of the flowering of the following year.