Clivia Bloom Cycle: Tips On Getting Clivias To Rebloom

Clivia Bloom Cycle: Tips On Getting Clivias To Rebloom

By: Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

Clivia is a beautiful, but uncommon, flowering houseplant. Once owned only by the wealthy, clivia is now available for sale in many greenhouses. Clivia may catch your eye due to its beautiful blooms in February and March, when little else is blooming. However, once you get it home, the blooms may fade, leaving you wondering how to make a clivia rebloom. Continue reading this article to learn about the clivia bloom cycle and tips on forcing clivia to bloom again.

Getting a Clivia to Bloom Again

Young clivia plants can be much less expensive, but you will need to be quite patient to ever see it bloom, as it can take anywhere from two to five years for a clivia to bloom for the first time. It is better to purchase an already blooming clivia plant, which is usually in February and March.

With a little effort, you can prolong clivia blooms or get clivia to flower again. Clivia blooms better when pot bound, so repotting too often will upset the clivia bloom cycle.

In late January or early February, use a bloom-boosting fertilizer to promote and prolong blooms. While blooming, use a 20-20-20 fertilizer every two weeks.

Forcing Clivia to Bloom

It is possible to force clivia to bloom once the initial flowering period is over. Clivia needs a cold period of 25-30 days in order to bloom. You can simulate this natural cold period by placing your clivia in a cool area with daytime temperatures at about 40-60 degrees F. (4-15 C.), but no lower than 35 degrees F. (1.6 C.) at night. Do not water your clivia during this cold period.

After a 25- to 30-day cold period, you can slowly increase the temperature where the clivia is located. Also, slowly and gradually increase the watering. Use a fertilizer with high potassium at this time. Doing these things will force the clivia to bloom.

Turn the pot slightly every day so that buds and blooms will be encouraged to grow evenly around the plant. Once the clivia is blooming again, go back to using a 20-20-20 fertilizer every two weeks.

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Flowers are one of the best antidotes to the icy winds of winter, and growing a houseplant that buds and blooms inside while all is dormant outside is particularly satisfying. This winter, as an alternative to the brightly blooming azaleas, chrysanthemums, or traditional holiday plants, consider growing a clivia plant.

Clivia miniata is a wonderful flowering plant. Elegant and imposing, it’s easier to grow than an orchid and more unusual than an amaryllis or a Christmas cactus. When given a month of cool night temperatures in autumn, followed by a six-to-eight-week rest period with very little water, a clivia plant will produce dense clusters of orange, lilylike flowers. Equally important, the straplike, dark evergreen leaves are virtually blemish free, making clivia an attractive foliage plant, even when not in bloom.

Clivia belongs to the lily family (Liliaceae), the same family as amaryllis, and it’s easy to see why. Each colorful clivia flower is similar in shape to, but much smaller than, the larger trumpet-shaped amaryllis flower. Clivia flowers cluster together to form large conspicuous flower heads. There is some variation in height within the species, with certain clivias sending up 20-inch stems with flowers on top and others with flowers close to the center of the plant, nestled within the foliage. In either case, the flowers are sufficiently showy to brighten all winter windows. The primary flower color is orange, but there are also highly prized yellow-flowered cultivars that are rare and quite expensive.

Clivias are large, heavy plants. A mature plant can be 2 to 3 feet tall and almost as wide, with long, arching swordlike leaves. It requires a large, wide-based, clay pot that won't tip over. Like many flowering plants, clivia prefers to be kept rootbound and can remain in the same pot for as long as five years. Since it takes a few years for a clivia plant to bloom, it's best to purchase a mature plant, unless you are very patient.

Dr. Jim Ault, director of Ornamental Plant Research at the Chicago Botanic Garden, explains that clivias are slow-growing and difficult to propagate. "If you grow clivias from seed, it takes three to five years for them to bloom for the first time," he says. "The big, marvelous plants you see that fill a whole container take five to 10 years or more to reach that size."

Compounding the difficulty of propagating clivias is the fact that they cannot be tissue-cultured, Dr. Ault says. Tissue culture, a laboratory technique used to propagate plants, allows commercial growers to produce hundreds of plants from a single bud or even cell, knowing that each new plant will be an exact duplicate of the parent. This is especially important in the development of plant cultivars that are typically selected for specific ornamental characteristics. Unfortunately, clivias, like other plants resistant to tissue culture, can be propagated only from seeds or division.

According to Dr. Ault, clivias are native to the subtropical forests of eastern South Africa where he has seen them growing wild. "You'll find them growing in very organic material, in deep to partial shade, sometimes on top of rotting logs," he said. He has also seen a rare, yellow-flowered clivia growing wild in South Africa.

There also exists in cultivation an extremely rare clivia with a variegated leaf. "I have seen it once," said Dr. Ault. The plant belonged to a colleague and "it was very bashful about making offsets, very slow in making new plants." His colleague had owned it for many years and was still unable to propagate it.


Given the regal quality of the plant, a clivia is surprisingly easy to grow. It is well suited to a bright north window, or an east or west window shaded from the sun. It does not need high humidity and should not be misted. During the spring and summer growing seasons, a clivia needs regular watering but should be allowed to become dry to the touch between waterings. An automatic weekly watering will often be too much and can cause rot. Fertilize once a month with a half-strength dilute solution of 20-20-20 fertilizer. While rarely in need of repotting, plants can be divided and repotted almost any time of the year. Simply cut or pull the large fans of leaves apart, ensuring each division has a plentiful supply of the large fleshy roots, and pot up in a well-drained organic soil mix.


In the fall, the clivia’s schedule is similar to that of a Christmas cactus. Stop fertilizing water only when the foliage begins to wilt and place the plant in a porch or other cool room where night temperatures drop below 50 degrees. This six- to eight-week rest period is essential for flower bud formation. A shorter cool period could result in delayed flowering. Once inside, water very sparingly until flower buds appear nestled between the leaves. This might take two months but will reward you with a spectacular bloom just as winter enters its bleakest stage. When flowers fade, remove the stalk at its base to prevent seed set. In spring, resume normal watering and feeding

If you visit the Greenhouses at the Chicago Botanic Garden in late winter, you can see both the yellow and orange clivias. But you don't need a greenhouse to grow them — they’re unusual and satisfying houseplants for almost any home.

Clivia Miniata - Knowledgebase Question

My Clivia Miniata was blooming when I purchased it 5 years ago. It has not bloomed since. Why? The plant stays indoors year around. not direct sunlight.

Clivias are fairly easy plants to grow. A division that is potted in a 12-inch container will bloom and multiply abundantly for 10 years or more before it needs to be repotted. They can be grown outdoors year-round in zones 9 and 10. In the colder zones, they can be grown as houseplants or in containers outside and brought in during the winter.

They grow most actively from early spring through fall. During these months a night temperature above 50?F and a daytime temperature of 70?F is best. Feed every month and water regularly allowing the potting mix to dry out slightly between deep watering. During late fall give plants a short rest by withholding water and fertilizer, giving them only enough water to keep the leaves from wilting.

Clivia roots are thick, fleshy and well-equipped for water storage. On a mature specimen the swollen mass of roots often becomes so large that it will completely fill the pot, forcing the growing medium up and over the container's edge. Only when this begins to happen should a Clivia plant be moved to a larger pot.

In general, the plants do best when their roots are somewhat constricted by a small pot, so it is best to resist the temptation to place the plant in a pot much larger than the one you are moving it from. Fibrous loam, some coarse grit, decayed manure and leaf mold make a good potting mixture.

Unlike many other plants, clivias survive in bright or dim light, in soil that is moist or dry. They prefer well-drained, organic soil in bright light with early-morning or late afternoon sun but shaded in between, as direct sun will cause leaf scorch. The ability of these plants to survive under conditions unsuitable for most other plants makes them remarkably tough house plants, and ideal candidates for growing in those locations where few other plants seem to thrive.

The bulbs should be planted in the fall or spring. Cover the plump roots with just a thin layer of soil. The white part of the stem should be almost buried. Clivias need to be watered and fertilized regularly while in active growth. Afterward, water sparingly. If growing Clivias in containers, avoid disturbing them. Try to divide them only when they become overcrowded.

For best results, clivias should be grown in bright diffused light, with the growing medium kept evenly moist during spring and summer. If the plants are allowed to become quite dry for two months in winter, and the growing temperature is lowered to approximately 10 - 15?C, the plants can also be encouraged to flower. Once a flower stem has begun to emerge, watering can be increased, and plants moved to a location with normal growing temperatures.

If the flowering stalk fails to elongate, leaving the cluster of flowers compressed between the leaves near the base of the plant, it is most often caused by the plant not having the proper rest period. Where Clivia plants are grown in low light conditions, they will rarely flower, but will serve as reliable foliage plants.

Houseplants forum→Help with potting up Clivia pups (pic)

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I got some great info on care with the plants I so appreciate. But I like to see the houseplant forum busy, so it would be fun to read what your recommendations are for pot size and type, soil, light, water intake, etc. I won't be forcing a dormant period for a year or so. I will pot it up today, hopefully after some advice from you guys.

I potted mine before like I was potting up a succulent plant. But I did use some regular potting soil, but I really added a lot of pumice, small lava rock and other stuff I use here for my succulents like kanuma and akadama, which I often add whenever I have them on hand. I also added some compost. I remember when I was repotting it, observing how fat like noodles those roots are, which makes sense why they kept saying on most articles I have read to make the media as well draining as possible. I top dressed it with chunky lava rock.

My plants are normally positioned by our north side bay windows, it hates direct sunlight. I got mine like yours around this Fall period and I had it exposed to cold temps and brought it in by January. I was lucky enough to get a bloomstalk a week after.

Since you said you do not intend to put it in dormancy, just put by your north window, and be careful with watering. Water once after your repot and leave it alone, especially it is getting into the cold months. Got to wait for the media to be dry.

Are those pups separated? One container with good drainage holes for each pup, clivia grows quite big and adds on leaves. It is slow growing and I have also grown it in total darkness last winter in our garage. Did not bother it at all, as long as kept dry while temps are cold. Needs to have more leaves to be able to make blooms. It needs to undergo that dry cold stress period to encourage it to bloom.

I would suggest you treat this plant like you are growing a cold loving succulent. Less to no water during the cold months and good watering intervals during the warm period. I really enjoy clivia, so drought tolerant, and does not make me worry if I forget to water.

I have read they won't bloom until they have approx 14 leaves, so if you had a pup bloom, that is great to know.

Thank you for sharing such great info, Happy growing.

In the Bulb forum, there is a thread there about clivias. You may also want to read it, that is where I posted before and asked about growing it, lots of good info.

Will show you a picture of one of mine. Love this variety--the one with the rounded tips on the leaves. The other one has pointed tips--and is fairly "BLAH".

Going to check out the bulb forum, as well. Thank you @tarev.

I have wanted this plant so long, I want to read everything. Thanks,

How to Grow Clivia Plant

The clivia plant, also known as kafir-lily is a beautiful houseplant you can grow relatively easily. The clivia plant has heavy textured green strap-like leaves. The flowers are smooth petaled, with varied colors ranging from brick red to salmon, red and yellow. It is truly a beautiful indoor houseplant.

The clivia plant is a relative to the amaryllis. It grows from thick, tuberous roots rather than a true bulb, though people often refer to the clivia bulb when they talk about these plants. The “bulb” generally grows slowly. It’s seldom listed in the plant bracket so it may not look gorgeous when you first spot it in the garden center. However, it’s a plant that will last you for years, even more than a decade. It’s not surprising to hear some 15 years and older clivia plants people grow in their homes. It doesn’t deteriorate with age: on the contrary, these old plants can still produce beautiful flowers and only increase in beauty.

Another thing you need to know is that these plants have evergreen foliage and their flowers look stunning. You can use clivia plants to add color to your home and they make a very good investment.

Clivia Plant Care Requirements

The first thing you need to know about growing clivia plants is that they require rich potting soil with a bit peat added to the mix. Make sure to never repot your clivia until the fleshy roots have entirely outgrown the pot.

Once it’s established, a cliva plant needs regular food to thrive. You should feed it during its growth period and make sure to provide it with plenty of water. During the growing season, the bulbs require temperatures of about 60 to 80 degrees F. In the winter, tolerable temperatures range between 50 and 55 degrees F.

There are 3 or 4 popular species of clivia plants, as well as several common hybrids. The most popular of them all (and the one that’s most often listed in catalogs) is Clivia miniata. It has its active growth period in early spring to early fall.

During this time (the growing season), your clivia plant will need a lot of warmth, light, water and fertilization. Average home temperatures of about 70 to 75 degrees F and about a ten degree drop at night are the best and will make the plant thrive. These temperatures match the conditions in the plant’s native South Africa.

To make your clivia thrive, it’s best to place it near an east or south window. It will promote good growth.

Resting Your Clivia Plant

In the late fall and early winter you should make your clivia plant rest. Place it in a cool room where temperatures don’t go above 50 degrees F. Since modern homes are generally well-heated during winter, you may have some problem finding a suitable room to rest your clivia. You may use a partially heated porch or glazed-in patio. Another good place is a north wall in a cool basement. While you keep the plant in storage don’t forget to decrease its water supply.

In mid-January bring your clivia to the light. This is when you should give them a good soaking with water. The plant will soon show new center leaves. When the new growth starts, make sure to give your plant a weekly feeding of one fourth strength soluble liquid food. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to determine the right proportions.

Your clivia plant should bloom in April, but it may not flower until June or even early July.

One note about flowers: some people like clivia for its foliage so they keep their plant in the window garden (or a planter) for the whole year. It’s important to note that this won’t hurt the plant. However, your clivia will probably not grow under such treatment. It is less likely to produce annual spring or summer flower crop. If you want your clivia to bloom, make sure to rest it during winter and to move it from the window, as described above.

Potting and Dividing

When you purchase your clivia from a catalogue chances are that it will be shipped bare root and wrapped. It means you have to plant it in your home. Clivias are relatively large so they require 6 to 8 inch pots.

When planting, remember to place about one inch of drainage material in the pot. Use a soil mix made for amaryllis bulbs (or a similar one).

If you plant your clivia in an 8 inch pot, chances are that you won’t need to repot it for 5 or 6 years. When it develops a new growth each year, make sure to scrape away an inch of the top soil and replace it with fresh soil. This is all you need to do to set it for the year.

To divide your clivia, knock it gently out of the pot. It’s best to use a sharp knife to cut away the offsets. When you do it, make sure that you cut plenty of root with them. Plant the offsets in five inch pots of soil. Leave them in there for at least one whole year.

When growing the offsets, give them the same treatment you give to the older plants. You can use knife to cut through sheathed leaves and attached roots. You can plant these divisions in the same way you plant offsets.

Starting from Seeds

You can also make your flowering plant to produce its own seeds. To do it, remove some of the pollen from one flower and place it on the stigma (tip of elongated appendage in the center of the flower) of another flower.

You can plant single seeds in 3 inch pots of sterilized sand and loam. Germination of these seeds is rapid and as the plant matures you can move it to a 5 inch pot of soil and care for it as a division. Under home conditions, it takes about 5 to 7 years to make a clivia bloom from seeds.

How to Grow Clivia Plant Outdoors

If you want to grow your clivia plants outdoors, remember to place the pot in a shady area of your garden. You may also use it for landscaping. It’s probably the best to keep it in a container. This way, you can bring it in the house before the first frost.

You may wish to transplant your clivia, but you need to understand that it will usually deter the plant from producing the next year’s blooms. Old plants often have 15 to 20 leaves so you will sometimes be forced to transfer you plant to a new pot.

Watch the video: Clivia propagation how to propagate clivia