Amaryllidaceae family - The Clivia Miniata

Clivias, from the Amaryllidaceae family, are colourful plants that are popular amongst avid gardeners and those who have made a hobby of growing and exhibiting them.

Did you know? Clivias are evergreen and are, interestingly, found only in South Africa and Swaziland.

Clivias are herbaceous plants with long, slender green leaves. The flowers, which can be yellow, orange or red, grow as individual blooms on the tip of an umbel, which stands as a hardy stalk above the green foliage below. These flowers have a bell shape to them and make for beautiful additions to a flower arrangement. Clivias do not form bulbs, but they do produce berries as fruits.

Flowering time

There are different subspecies of Clivias (Clivia caulescens, Clivia gardenia, Clivia miniata, Clivia mirabilis, Clivia nobilis, and Clivia robusta), so the flowering time varies according to the species. Some can be grown all year round, while others prefer winter. The climate in that particular region also affects when and how successfully the plant will flower.

Use in the garden

The Clivia miniata has medicinal uses. In its natural state, it is used in its entirety, and is effective in treating pain, muscle stimulation, uterine stimulation and fever. Different parts of the plant are used for different applications.

Natural distribution

The Clivia needs shade or a little dappled sun. Although found throughout South Africa, they prefer areas that are shady. They are frequently the undergrowth plants in forested areas, or gardens that boast many trees.

Growing Clivia in your garden

This pretty plant prefers full shade or dappled sun. For this reason, they do particularly well in the shade of bigger trees, even on forest floors. The cooler, early morning sun is fine in small quantities. They need to be watered regularly during the summer months, but never overwatered or flooded.

In the autumn and winter, they should be left in a state of dormancy and the soil should be kept fairly dry. They can be repotted on an annual basis, or every second year, if you prefer. When grown from seed, it will take about five to seven years for the Clivia to begin flowering. However, these colourful blooms are well worth the wait.


Seeds can be harvested by removing them out of the berries as soon as the berry starts to soften. The seeds should be washed with water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. These seeds do well in coarse sand. Place the seeds in the damp sand in a plastic dish, with the black spot of the seed facing to the side. Only about half the seed should be under the soilís surface.

Close the lid and leave this container in a warm place for up to three weeks, when the seeds will begin to germinate. Once you have seedlings, place them into seed trays with a mixture of the coarse soil and a fine bark. Keep these seed trays in shady spots and water them once or twice a week. When they are about three years old, the plants should be transferred to permanent pots.

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