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Clivia

Clivia are native to the Republic of South Africa and Swaziland. A pendulous form of Clivia was first discovered by the English naturalist, William J. Burchell in September 1813 in the Eastern Cape.  In 1828 this form of clivia was described as a species by John Lindley of Kew Gardens.  He named it Clivia nobilis after Lady Charlotte Clive, Duchess of Northumberland who was borne into a plant-loving family.  The next to be described was Clivia miniata in 1854 by Sir William Hooker (miniata meaning the colour of red lead).

In 1856 Sir William Hooker named plants sent by Major Robert Jones Garden to the Royal Botanical Gardens as Clivia gardenii (gardenii refers to Major Garden). In 1943 the fourth legitimate species of the genus Clivia was named as Clivia caulescens (caulescens refers to the fact that it tends to grow on an elongated stem or trunk in the wild) by Dr RA Dyer.  Almost sixty years later Clivia mirabilis was described and named in 2001 by Dr John Rourke, curator of the Compton Herbarium at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (mirabilis is translated as astonishing; miraculous; to be wondered at). In 2004, the plant known up to then as Swamp Clivia, was found to be a species in its own right, and it was named Clivia robusta.

The first introduction of Clivia into Australia occurred in 1844 when JC Bidwill, an early director of the Sydney Botanical Gardens, brought some Clivia nobilis on board the Arachne to Sydney. More introductions followed in subsequent years and today Clivia are very popular in Australia. The similarity between the Australian and South African climate makes it possible for Clivia growers to grow plants in shade houses or in shady spots in the garden. Hence, the plants are a favourite of landscapers and gardeners alike.

Our clivia collection is one of the largest in Australia with in excess of 100,000 plants.  We grow the majority up to flowering and each year visitors to our annual display days in September are able to purchase clivia in a range of flower colours, petal and foliage forms. We also sell clivia via this mail order service. 

Clivia generally flower when they have 12 to 14 leaves. This usually occurs in 3 to 4 years. However, there are some exceptions:

                  the "old" Aurea (yellow) cultivars; 

                  multipetal flowering clivia;  

                  peaches based on Aurea;

                  reds; and 

                  variegated types.   

They grow well outdoors in a cool to temperate frost free climate.  Plant in the shade or part shade on mass for best flowering results.  They prefer being planted in a well drained soil.  Keep relatively dry in Winter and increase water in Spring and Summer.