Clivia miniata
Common Name: Natal lily  
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Native Range: South Africa, Swaziland
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Yellow to orange to nearly red
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy

Culture

When grown in their native range, Clivia tolerates only light frosts, but otherwise is easily grown. Outdoors they are best suited to dappled shade; water them well during the warmer months and allow to dry for winter. Indoors, they give clear signals when they need care. Yellow spots on the leaves indicate either too much water or water in the heart of the plant. If the leaves split vertically it needs more sun. Mature plants bloom from December to April. If no flower stem appears, it means that you have watered too freely from October on. The soil should be kept just moist until the flower stalk reaches 6 inches; then water normally. The plant may then be moved to a slightly warmer position. Clivia does well with crowded roots, but it should be repotted carefully every three to four years. Try to gently untangle the roots so as not to damage them. A warning: All parts of the plant may be toxic if ingested in large quantities.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Clivia miniata is a clump-forming plant with stocky rhizomes. It has long, bright green, strappy leaves and produce strong flower stems topped with heads of large funnel-shaped flowers in shades of yellow, orange and red. Red berries follow flowering. Plants generally take three years to flower. The flowers are long lasting on the plant and can be used as cut flowers.

Genus name honors Lady Charlotte Florentina Clive, Duchess of Northumberland (d. 1866), granddaughter of Robert Clive.

Specific epithet means cinnabar-red.

Problems

Pests to watch for are scale and mites. When placed outdoors, they are a favorite of snails which feed on the flowers. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants

Garden Uses

Clivia can be grown as a herbaceous perennial in warmer zones (9 to 11). It also makes a bold statement in the landscape when planted as a seasonal addition to a perennial/annual border in colder climates. The foliage gives a strong texture to a design. In the St. Louis area, clivias are grown primarily as an indoor plant and it thrives in this role. They make excellent low-maintenance pot plants that flower during the winter and early spring months giving color to an indoor garden.