Sunday, March 8, 2015

Clivia nobilis: You Can Grow That!

The description said it was more prone to rot than the more commonly available Clivia. And that it would bloom in two to three years. Neither scared me. I wanted color in the winter and I was willing to take a chance on failure to get it. My challenge was to keep my newly-acquired Clivia nobilis alive for two years with a long-term incentive, a prospect not common in most houseplants.

On October 30, after summering outdoors, the Clivia takes up a spot near a south-facing window. It was later moved to a bright location in the living room with no direct sun. 
I took the warning about excellent drainage to heart, planting the root and fan in a mixture of Turface, extra vermiculite and potting soil, with a sprinkling of orchid mix.
By Jan. 29 the bud became obvious.

February 8.
Eight months after planting it, the extreme reward arrived in a flower stalk. By late January, I knew I'd succeeded in at least nudging it into bloom - a year early at that!

Perhaps it was its summering outdoors that pushed it to maturity. Depending on the heat and impending rains, I moved the pot back and forth from under the shelter of the overhang on the patio to the shade of taller plants so it could catch a bit of rain if the soil was dry. I move all of my plants outdoors in summer; otherwise I'm afraid they'd die of neglect.

Feb. 19
Our summers' humidity and my garden's shady nooks made it perfect for this African native. My wonderfully-premature Clivia has been in bloom for a couple of weeks and I'm enjoying its color transition from yellow buds to orange.
Feb. 28
According to Grassy Knoll Plants, which is where I purchased this Clivia, the 3 year old plants are 2-3 years from blooming. 

March 4.
Check out Grassy Knoll Plants and you'll fall in love with all of the Passifloras and Proteas. They also have a good selection of unusual succulents. Watch for the daily special and sale prices and order early for the best selection. I was happy with the plants I received.

Whether I got lucky and gave the plant all it needed to zoom into bloom in nine months, or if I was sent a plant more mature than three years, I am happy to say Clivia nobilis can be left in a bright spot and pretty much ignored during early winter. Take a look at it once in awhile and bring it into a sunnier eastern exposure when you see a flower bud.

Color in March is a beautiful thing, especially when there is still a foot of snow on the ground.

Check out the website You Can Grow That! Celebrate the joys of gardening and give something new a try. Otherwise, you won't know if...



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