I wish I could say this lovely flower belongs to me, but it does not.  This picture of Clivia Miniata was taken at a Florida zoo, where it was growing in an outdoor flower bed.  Clivia, a relative of the Amaryllis, can be grown outdoors in places that have no frost.  Michigan definitely does not qualify as frost-free, so we have to work a little harder to grow Clivia here.

Clivia is a native of South Africa, and was discovered about 200 years ago.  It is also known as Wild Bush Lily, Kaffir Lily, Fire Lily, St. John’s Lily, and even Queen of Houseplants. This particular variety, Clivia Miniata, is the most common, but there are many varieties.  Colors can range from cream all the way to dark red. The plants have long strap-like leaves, which can be thin, broad, solid color or striped.  The flowers appear in clusters in late winter or early spring, and last for several weeks.

clivia4It is said that Clivia is an easy plant to grow, that is if you have seeds, or can divide an existing plant.  Those are the only ways to propagate Clivia. Patience is also required, as it can take a year for the seeds to ripen, and 3-5 years after planting the seeds until it blooms. If you do decide to grow your own, keep in mind that the entire plant is poisonous.

In the case of my own Clivia plant, a lot of patience has been needed.  Mine was divided off another, about 10 years ago. Though I patiently wait each year, I have not seen any flowers.  This year, for the first time, another plant began to grow.  Clivia prefer to be rootbound, and apparently having an offset appear indicates it is finally happening.  I can only hope it might finally decide to bloom this year too. 

Because it is so time consuming to grow clivia, the seeds and plants are rather expensive.  Looking at White Flower Farms (, you can purchase Clivia Miniata plants for $52.  They have other varieties that range from $75 to $399.  On other websites, you can purchase seeds for about $1 each, or more. I was spared this expense, as my plant was given to me, for which I am grateful.  I’ll just keep on waiting for those flowers.


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