Everyone loves Clivias – the vivid orange blooms and arching dark green leaves of these indigenous lilies are known for their vibrant splash of colour, earmarking the start of spring.
Clivias are found naturally in the dappled shade of trees in indigenous forests and wooded areas here in SA, but you can be rewarded with their beautiful blooms if you, with a few simple steps, prepare your garden with forests in mind.
Location is everything
Just like in a forest, plant your Clivias in areas of light shade – especially in beds under trees, as they don’t do well in direct sunlight. The fallen leaves from these trees also act as excellent natural mulch.
Clivias really don’t like frost or other extreme conditions, so especially in areas prone to extremes, rather plant them under evergreen trees to limit the risk of frost damage.
In the wild, Clivias get abundant air and nutrients from the thick layer of leaves that cover the floor, which means that they never have to send their roots deep into the soil. They therefore need soil high in organic matter or compost, with high levels of potash and phosphate, as well as a humid soil conditions. Farmyard Organics’ Clivia Mix is compost that replicates these natural conditions and provides the perfect medium for brightly blooming Clivias. Its loose composition provides the necessary nutrients, the ideal pH, as well as a well-drained platform that stimulates root growth, but at the same time has optimum water holding capacity to keep the plants hydrated.
The good news is that spring or early summer are the best times for planting Clivias, so prepare your beds now. For your older plants, use Cliviamix and bone meal as a feed, especially when they near their flowering season, around early to mid-September.
Don’t water too much
Most Clivia varieties flower during spring and early summer three to four years after planting.
To make sure that you don’t have a dull start, don’t over water them. Only water once a week during the growing season and even less during the rest of the year.