Clivia miniata – Natal Lily
Red, orange or yellow trumpet shaped flowers rise above dark green strap-like leaves.
Clivia miniata is a clump-forming perennial which grows from a fleshy underground stem. The deep green, shiny leaves are a perfect foil for the masses of brightly coloured flowers. Once established and happy they will spread through offsets and in the wild will form large colonies. Sadly, in their natural habitat, these have been significantly plundered by plant hunters. The species is the most widely grown and has slightly less showy flowers, orange with a yellow throat.
Clivia is endemic to southern Africa, especially in the woodlands of the Eastern Cape. The habitat may vary from subtropical coastal forest to ravines in high-altitude forest. It grows in dappled shade. Occasionally they may be found growing in the fork of a tree. The specific “miniata” is a latin word referring to the red-lead colour of the flowers. The name Clivia comes from the Duchess of Northumberland, Lady Charlotte Clive, who first cultivated and flowered the type specimen in England. C. miniata var. miniata consists of the orange and red forms and C. miniata var. citrina the cream and yellow shades.
Soil / Aspect:
Clivia prefer soil is well-drained and humus rich. Whilst they tolerate long periods without rain during the summer in the wild, the soil should not be allowed to dry out, and they require watering in Karin’s Garden. These are shade-loving plants. They will tolerate some morning sun, but from mid-morning they really need to be in full shade. Clivia do not tolerate frost and in the UK are grown exclusively as house plants. Even in Karin’s Garden they will need to be grown in a sheltered spot, often close to the house.
When watering in summer these plants will appreciate some liquid fertiliser feed. Otherwise the only maintenance activity is to decide whether to dead-head. The plant produces large brightly coloured seed pods, which take over a year to mature and are very decorative. However, leaving them on the plant does reduce flowering in the following year.