April 3, 2008

Comparing Clivia Blossoms

Various Cyrtanthiflora group blossoms
A decade ago, a yellow Clivia or a variegated Clivia, often topped the list of the most wanted, if not the most expensive plant, on plant collectors lists. Today, yellow Clivia can be found in most any rare plant catalog, and even main stream catalogs retailing for around $20 - $100.

I have been collecting Clivia since the late 80's, and growing them since high school in the 70's ( I still have my original plant), but it wasn't until the late 1990's that I began to connect and trade with enthusiasts on-line, that my collection really began to grow. By 2001, the greenhouse was full of seedlings recieved from friends made on various clivia user groups and boards, as well as from exchanges with many other collectors, as a mini-trend for the plants in combination with the wider and deeper reach of the internet, connected like-minds.

Also in 2001, we first visited Japan, where we wer'e invited to visit Mr. Nakamura's home and Clivia collections, which we're pretty cool, and incredibly inspiring. Clivia are just one of those plants, that are relatively easy to grow, impressive when they decide to bloom ( please don;t write me and ask me how to get yours to bloom!), and they are quite addictive.

Here are just some photos of the first seedlings from 2001 collections, which are beginning to blossom in our greenhouse.

BLOOMING TROUBLE? I am no expert, but I can say that if you are having difficulty getting your Clivia to bloom, here is what happened with me. I always had some plants blooming in the house in March, normal blooming time here, in the North Eastern part of the USA. But there we're years that they never bloomed on time, sometimes waiting for the summer, and other times, waiting until fall.

Once the plants were moved into the greenhouse, they all bloomed at the same time. But some years it would be February, other years, April ( like this year). They are kept quite wet year round, since most are under the benches. Since my greenhouse is kept quite cold in the winter, I would deduce that day-length in combination with temperature is the key, not keeping them dry for the winter, etc. Although, that said, be certain not to keep them too wet, for rot will kill them.

As for being pot bound, either way, I would say it doesn't make a difference in my experience. It appears that a Clivia will completely fill ANY pot with thier thick fleshy roots in no time.

Soil, many collectors swear on using compsted bark, others, orchid mix only. I use whatever I have, since my Clivia are very much like Daylillies, some have even spent a year out of thier potson the floor on the greenhouse, and are still blooming.

NOTE: THe interspecific, or Cyrtanthiflora group types which are those which are crosses between the species, all tend to bloom either in the fall or winter, whereas the Clivia miniata, the large Clivia we all know and love, generally blooms in March in the Northern Hemisphere.

Aren't these blossoms great? It really isn't until you take them off the plant, and place them side by side, that one gets to make comparisons about color and form.

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