Thursday, September 8, 2011

Question for the Hive Mind: Clivia miniata

So I've had this Clivia miniata 'Aztec Gold' for a long time now (since August 2008), and I like it. It's never flowered, but that's okay: I like it well enough as a foliage plant. I mean, I'm a little disappointed, sure, because it had flowers when I bought it, and they lasted about five minutes once I got it home so I never had a chance to get a halfway decent photograph of them and now I've been waiting for over three years to see flowers again but No! It is fine! I like it as a foliage plant! I swear!

But it's also been very strange a few times. There was one spell a couple summers ago when I noticed black gunk on the leaves, so I went to wipe it off with a wet paper towel, and it turned the towel the most brilliant shade of yellow. And the black gunk was -- when I checked the plant more closely -- down in the spaces between leaves, making it more or less impossible to clean up. I never found out what was happening, but it's happened again at least once and doesn't appear to be harming the plant, so I've accepted it as part of the cost of growing a Clivia, or at least this particular Clivia, and I don't worry about it anymore.


But now we have a new thing. Gone is the mysterious black/yellow substance, and instead I saw a strange new dead thing in the middle of the plant, at the end of July. It's since dried up, and once dry it pulled out easily enough, but I don't know what it was. It was too short and too thick to be a leaf, plus it was dying as soon as it appeared: could it have been a flower that aborted development? And if so, why'd it stop? If not, what was it, then? And as long as I'm asking questions: what was the black/yellow stuff?


10 comments:

Diana said...

I received a Clivia (unknown variety) as a gift last spring. This fall it has produced a flower but that flower is way down deep in the leaves (I almost didn't see it!). I suspect that's what happened to you. Here's my question for the hive mind - why the short flower stem and what can I do to improve flowering?

Greensparrow said...

What I remember about clivia flowering (been a while since I read about this, so this could be screwed up) is that they initiate flower buds regularly after the production of a certain number of new leaves, but those buds then require a period of cool temperatures (I think a couple weeks in the 50s, but I don't remember for sure) for those buds to then actually emerge and flower. I know that if they get marginally enough chilling, the flowers will emerge, but the stems won't elongate properly, so they're all jammed down in the leaves. I think you had an extreme case of that. I'd move the plant outside for the fall, let it get some chill, then bring it in for the winter and finally enjoy the flowers.
I've no clue on the black/yellow gunk. Probably aliens.

Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ said...

I think the black stuff is rot. You have to be careful when you water that it doesn't get down into the leaves deeply. Overhead watering definitely is not good for it. If you get water in the center, because of the way the leaves are formed, it doesn't fully dry out and it can cause rot. I think the "dead thing" in the center is a flower stalk that stayed low because of conditions of the placement of the plant. They like it cool in fall and winter with a little water and then warm as spring comes with increasing water.

cconz said...

I purchased my clivia 4 years ago, it looked fairly old. It had lots of leaves.It has bloomed without fail every year. It gets the needed cool temps (unheated sunroom) and sparse watering in the winter. I'm betting, yours isn't getting the cool temps needed.

Carol Ann said...

Clivias really like to be root-bound which should also help with their not staying too wet. I have plain old miniata, and I water it with a hose - never worried about water getting in the leaves. Blooms every year. I've only divided it when there was no where for new growth to go.

Gladys Gravyboots said...

I inherited a Clivia of some nature about two years ago & had the super-short, mashed-inside-the-foliage flowering phenom this year... it was almost as if the flower had been pressed, it was so flat!
There was color (yellow-orange), individual flowers, pollen & everything... except a stalk.

thetundramonkey said...

I'm pretty sure your mysterious dead lump is a flower stalk. I have a clivia that has bloomed for me every year of the 6 years I've owned it; however, the first three years the flower stalk never shot up the way it was supposed to and I ended up with a dead lump like yours.

My solution: Fertilizer. My clivia generally blooms in January sometime, so I start fertilizing with a weak solution of 20-20-20 in December. Presto! A lovely stalk of tangerine-colored flowers. I haven't had the problem since.

This year I gave my clivia another dose of fertilizer in March simply because I had some left over from another plant. Guess what? It bloomed again.

Cold may have something to do with bloom production, as many people have already stated. My plant is about 12" from a window, so it probably gets a little cooler in the winter, although not by much. I have well insulated windows.

Hope that helps!

Paul said...

Can't help at all, I'm afraid. I had a Clivia I grew from seed that even after 10yrs had never flowered for me. I finally got rid of it -- as a foliage plant it did nothing for me. The seeds were very cool however -- they were actually translucent.

Kathalina said...

The dead thing in the middle is in fact what would have been a flower stem with buds on top had it matured. I find that they do this if all is right in the blooming process but something failed right before it was maturing to the bloom stage. For instance, they like to not be watered but a drop here or a drop there from Sept to March or even May. If kept in a bright window with only morning sun and hardly any water in these months, they will bloom in May. However, if when they are getting ready to bloom and they do not get enough fertilizer or water during this early stage, they will die off like that. This is my experience this year. I had two bloom and one even bloomed twice this year but the one in the back that I lacked on in the beginning did this very thing. Hope this helps. Mine bloom every year and they are different kinds.

Han Keat Lim said...

I've four Clivias, one yellow, one variegata and two orange. Clivias do need cool period to emerge and flower. Once you see the sign of flower buds or stalk, please stop watering, as the flower stalk will stuck there and the clivia will flower at that short stalk. Normally I wait till the flower stalk grows to my wish length, then I continue watering it.