Australia Clivia

Clivias

The genus Clivia is indigenous to South Africa, and has been grown for more than 150 years in Australia, USA, Japan, China, the UK and Europe.

Different countries have developed different types, the Belgians (being great flower lovers) have developed lovely wide leaved and bright coloured (usually orange) miniata clivias, that are beautiful both in pots, and in climates like Australia's, in the ground under shady trees.

Clivias, being South African plants, grow extremely well in Australia, perhaps even better than in their homeland (we don't have too many of the bugs and nasties that can slow down or even kill them in their natural land). The best part is, howver, that they are extremely drought tolerant (once established), and are happy competing with the roots of Eucalyptus species, and other trees.And probably even better, is the fact that they are non-invasive. Clivia have been grown in all States and Territories of Australia for all of those 150 years, and have you ever heard of them being a weed? Now, all that "dead spare space" under trees, close to their trunks, can now be filled with lovely green strappy leaved plants, that produce lovely flowers, and then produce berries that change into beautiful colours. Definitely a plant with all year round appeal.

"Oz Nobilis": This name was coined so that people could distinguish between what was being called Clivia nobilis (actually Clivia x cyrtanthiflora ) from the real species Clivia nobilis . This plant many people will recognise from their Grandma's homes, lovely clumping plants with drooping orange to apricot coloured flowers. The rest of the world still need to be educated about how floriferous, pretty, and tough these plants are, some even surviving in full sun.

China and Japan have embarked upon their own clivia breeding programmes, with the most exquisite "small" wide-leaved pot plants. Some of these plants, at matuity, may only measure 10cm across. They have the most glorious Light of Buddha, Akebono and variegated leaves with stripes of every width and pattern you could imagine. Then add to their beauty the most magnificently patterned berries - to complete the beauty of the plant for the whole 12 months of the year.

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Clivia Miniata

Clivia Miniata, the one we are most used to seeing in Australia, with wide flaring flowers that look straight up into your eyes, and brighten any shady area. We are used to seeing orange, but now the colours of the blooms and the size of the blooms being bred - even by the amateur breeders, is incredulous. Yellows, peaches, apricots, picotees, even into the hints of peaches and even plain green.

Breed the first pure white, and you are an instant millionaire!

Clivia Nobilis

The "noble clivia", at least I think so, has flowering heads held well above the foliage, with drooping flowers that say "oh, I'm not too worried about the world out there", and the fact that it is slow growing from seed. Adaptable to many different situations, but resists being moved from it's own place in the wild. This is a parent of our own hardy, adaptable Oz Nobilis. Look at the flowers closely and you will see how truly exquisite they are. Perhaps cut one and try it in a vase, then you will appreciate the true subtle colours of the flowers.

Clivia Caulescens

Now this is unusual - it produces long stems that generally flow across the ground and then produce the beautiful flower - a drooping type. The stems can be up to a metre long. Have you got a nice moist spot? Grow it in the nooks and crannies of your garden - it is quite happy to grow on a rock it it's homeland.

Clivia Mirabilis

A lovely "drooping" style flower in oranges, reds and sometimes yellow.

A beautiful flowering plant, now endangered in its native habitat, why not grow one?

Clivia Gardenii

Gardenii was named in 1856, when it flowered in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, in honour of it's collector Major Robert J. Garden of the 45th Regiment.

Flowering time is from mid-winter. Heads of 10-25 pendulous flowers are carried on each flowering stem, and colours rand from cream through to oraange shades. Flowers always have distinctive green tips.

 

Clivia Robusta

One form of Clivia known for many years as "Swamp Gardenii" is Clivia Robusta, a good name as it is the biggest and robust of all the clivia, although flowers look similar to gardenii and nobilis.They have the ability to grow near, or in running or pools of water.

 

Clivia x Nimbicola

Clivia Nimbicola is the latest discovery from "Bearded Mountain" in South Africa.

A plant that looks like a caulescens, with a long stem, laying upon the ground, but with a flower that is upright, and a cross between the drooping Caulescens and the more well known Miniata.

A plant to watch, with beautiful natural colours still being discovered.


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