Botanical name: Clivia miniata
Common names: Clivia or Kaffir Lily
A little bit about Clivia
Originally from South Africa, Clivias grow happily in most areas of Australia, brightening gardens from late winter to early spring.
Clivia have strappy, dark green leaves and orange trumpet flowers propped above them on a stalk. There are now also different varieties of Clivia available that produce red-orange, yellow and cream flowers and bi-colour varieties that are orange with a yellow throat. Decorative seed heads appear after flowering and ripen during winter.
When a Clivia has 12 or 14 leaves it is considered mature and will be ready to flower. When grown from seed it will take about four to five years to mature.
The ideal position for Clivia
Clivia is best planted in low light areas of the garden. In full sun, plants will become bleached and stressed. Clivias do need protection from frost so in some areas they should be grown in pots that can be moved indoors or into a glasshouse during the winter.
Potential height/length: About 50 centimetres high and up to 1 metre round.
Like most plants Clivia look best when mass planted. They're ideal for borders, in clumps beneath trees that provide shade in summer, or as part of a lush tropical garden.
They also grow well in containers so can be used in patio and balcony garden designs.
Another plus is that Clivia flowers last a long time as cut flowers so you can enjoy the bright, happy flowers indoors and out.
Clivia hate hot and dry conditions but if planted in a suitable spot, caring for them is pretty simple.
Water well in spring and summer but keep soil drier in autumn and winter to avoid root rot.
If you don't want the plants to propagate, ensure you deadhead spent flowers.
Use a complete organic fertiliser in spring and if your Clivia is in a pot, use a quality complete liquid fertiliser instead.
Pests and diseases to watch out for
Like all plants Clivia will avoid most problems if kept healthy. Remove any yellowing or dead leaves which can encourage pests to make a home and ensure good drainage as wet feet will cause root rot.
Their strappy leaves can attract snails and slugs. Control by sprinkling pellets around the leaves of the plant.
In hot or humid conditions, the black, grey and yellow striped Lily Caterpillar can be a problem. They attack in large numbers and can destroy the clump, so as soon as you notice leaves being munched on don't wait to take action. When you see signs of caterpillars, control with Success Ultra insecticide.
Clivia have also been found to suffer from powdery mildew, which looks like tiny white circles on the leaves. To combat this disease, use Yates Zaleton Dual Action Systemic Fungicide.