Some plants are easy. Some plants are work. Some are more work than others. In this case we have a plant that is a bit of a job. Not so much in its survival, but in getting it to bloom in its spectacular self. Clivias or Kaffir Lilies are native to Southern Africa and need special conditions to persuade it not only to blossom , but to bloom correctly. When trying to make plants bloom that are not in their natural habitat we try to reproduce its natural element. In this particular case we are looking for dry and very cool conditions in our winter months. I keep my Clivia outside in a mostly high light area with almost no direct sun from mid spring until frost. Once frost has become a possibility the plant is brought onto an unheated sun porch for the remainder of winter and watered very sparingly only to keep it from going completely dry. Now here is where it gets a bit interesting. Due to the unheated nature of my sun porch on really cold winter nights the temperature on the porch will drop below freezing so the plant must be brought into a cooler area of the heated home. So this dance of bringing it back and forth becomes a norm all winter. And yes this bugger is quite heavy at this point!.
Now, once the flower buds begin to emerge from the foliage the plant must still remain in a cooler area before being brought inside to enjoy. If the temps are too warm while in bud the flowers will not extend above the foliage and bloom down inside the leaves. Not what you want. You want them to show their pretty little faces right?
In conclusion, yes this plant is a bit of a job and might frustrate at times: however, this beauty is worth the dance and the reward is pretty darn good! At least till I have to pick it back up to move it outside:)
- Thomas McTaggart