Thursday, April 4, 2013

Clivia seed collection and propagation technique

Clivia plants are a popular choice for filling out a shady spot in the garden. They thrive in shade and suffer in too much sunshine and are often found planted under the canopy of large trees or on the Southern side of an Australian house. They don't need much attention are generally used in mass plantings however buying enough plants to fill out a large area can be expensive. Propagating your own plants from seed is a more economical option.

Clivia miniata flowers in all their glory.
The first step is to collect some seed. You may notice that Clivia plants have either green or red seed pods. The pods start green then mature to red. You only collect the seed from the red pods because chances are that the green pods seed will not germinate.

Green pods need to be left until red

This is what you are looking for. Mature red pods ready to go.
To propagate Clivias I used
  •  several plastic pots
  •  a good potting mix
  •  red Clivia seed pods
  •  a potting bench (which is actually the top of my BBQ).
I chose to use regular potting mix over seed raising mix or a perlite / vermiculute and peat mix because I plan to keep these plants for a while so starting them in regular potting mix means I wont have to transplant them from the seed raising mix to a potting mix later on. If you do want to start them in seed raising or a perlite / peat mix then you can transplant them after they have sprouted their first leaf.
** It is important to plant the seeds within days of picking the pods or the seed may go rotten. Clivia seeds cannot be dried in paper bags and kept for later planting. You need to get them in the potting mix or ground quickly. **
1. Peel the pod casing from the seed.
2. Remove the white slippery membrane from the seed.
3. Plant the seed in potting mix at twice the depth of the diameter of the seed.
4. Water in and place in a warm location ideally 23°C to 25°C
A seed pod on the left, a seed with no membrane in the middle and a seed with some membrane intact on the right
All done and ready to water in. Looks like I picked too many seed pods.
The seeds can take between 2 weeks and 6 months to sprout! Be patient and water regularly enough to keep the potting mix moist. Clivias are incredibly slow growing. You can expect to wait a year for the plants to reach 15cm high. This can be seen as a good or a bad thing. Bad if you want them to fill out an area quickly. Good if you want to sell them as they can be kept for a long time before they get to big for the boots and need to be planted out.


  1. Alex, this was a ver interesting post. I was listening toa question about this on a talkback radio program just yesterday. I haven't tried clivias, but a couple of years ago I tried galtonia's, and I have had a strike rate but they don't seem to be getting any bigger. Was thinking of putting more together in one pot...they are just singles at the moment...what do you think?

    1. I'm not sure about grouping your Galtonias. I have heard that certain bulbs will have more vigorous if grouped (somebody once told me Nerines work better if planted in clumps) but I'm not sure of the science behind such claims. Maybe if you plant out or pot on your Galtonias they will grow larger.

  2. Clivias grown outside, beautiful. Here they are houseplants and I've only seen one, I feel left out of the plant world as I know these are quite popular.

  3. I was given a clivia a few years ago.I planted it out in a spot in my garden with no sun in winter. It flowered again for two years. I now have seven babies from it. The first plant has flowers twice this year and one of the babies has flowers. Is this normal? I am now going to try to grow from seed.