Friday, February 24, 2012

Scented Clivia

When I opened the Plant Shed door just now I was met by a wonderful soft sweet flowery smell. The snow falling heavily outside made it all the more welcome. And what was sending out this fine fragrance? A yellow Clivia!

Describing a fragrance is difficult. All one can really do is compare it to some other fragrance.... so I'll describe it as  sweet, lightly floral, with a hint of citrus, all supported by a deep underlying note of earthiness. Sounds like a wine, doesn't it!

Describing the colour of this flower isn't much easier. It's yellow, yes, but yellow overlaid with a soft pinkish orange-y buff. The flowers are a good size, have very good texture, and are held well above the foliage. There are 14 flowers on the stem, and this for the plant's first blooming. It's one of the five plants I grew from seeds which came from South Africa described as "yellow crossed with Vico Peach". The peach parentage certainly shows.

 Altogether a very fine Clivia for my collection.

 I got the seeds three years ago through The Clivia Website, which acts as a broker for Clivia seeds. They arrived in an envelope, six large seeds loose in a plain paper envelope. The envelope looked like the end of a bad day, but the seeds were alright. All six grew but I did lose one last summer. The plant rotted off at the base, then re-rooted and grew again, then  rotted off again. Maybe it had a disease or maybe it had a weakness, anyway, it died. The others all grew like, well, like Clivias. These are vigorous plants and not hard to grow. Some people call them bulbs, but they aren't really. They are more like Leeks, but Leeks that multiply by stolons. Clivias can become very crowded in their pots and re-potting a mature Clivia can be a bit of a job. I had one, years ago, that burst it's pot. The pots were on a bench in the bedroom, enjoying the light from the big window there, and one night I heard a 'bang'. In the morning I found the Clivia on it's side on the carpet with two pot halves neatly one on each side of it. Another thing they'll do is climb out of the pot - the roots just push the plants up and out. Seedlings especially will do this, so you have to expect to re-pot them several times until they get big enough to stay down. Clivias have character!

Other sites that are fun to visit are The Clivia Society and the American Clivia Society. These are all fascinating sites to visit - so many delectable new Clivias. Here am I, excited to have some yellow ones, and the hybridizers are busy creating white ones and, yes, yes, yes! pink ones. And then there are the variegated ones.... and the miniatures (actually I may have one as one of the seedlings seems to be staying quite small).  I need to win a lottery!


  1. Thank you, you have solved my problem, my Clivia is trying to climb out of its pot and I was wondering what to do with it, now I know!

    1. Yes, re-pot it. When you do, spread the thick roots out as much as you can, and it'll stay put longer. Eventually, though, it will fill its pot again, and that is when you pull it apart to make many clivias!