Gardening in shade in South Africa almost requires the gardener to grow this most beautiful of native beauties, the Clivia. Prized for their ability to flower in shade, Clivias are ideal for massed planting under trees or in shaded areas. Extremely hardy and drought-resistant, they will not thrive in direct sunlight or frost areas. As I have lots of shade I also have lots of Clivias …
An evergreen beauty, during the winter months I hardly pay them any attention, their large strappy leaves blend into the scenery providing a beautiful background to all the other plants in the shade garden. Come late winter and spring they burst into colour delighting us with beautiful blooms that last for weeks and brighten even the darkest of corners in my shade garden.
I don’t call it a favourite plant. But I do call it a reliable stunner that brightens even the darkest corner. Clivia is a genus of monocot flowering plants native to southern Africa. They are from the family Amaryllidaceae and their common name is Bush lily. The flowers are carried in clusters on stout stems and range in colour from rich oranges to shades of deep red. The leaves are strappy, fleshy and even when not in flower; the foliage provides excellent dark green cover.
Clivia miniata is a clump forming perennial with dark green, strap-shaped leaves which arise from a fleshy underground stem. The flowering heads of brilliant orange (rarely yellow), trumpet-shaped flowers appear mainly in spring (August to November) but also sporadically at other times of the year. The deep green shiny leaves are a perfect foil for the masses of orange flowers. (Info from PlantzAfrika.com)
Clivia are endemic to southern Africa, meaning that they do not occur naturally anywhere else in the world! In many areas colonies of wild bush lilies have been destroyed by harvesting for traditional medicine and also by plant collectors.
What are your favourite plants? The stalwarts that provide the backdrop to your garden?
Diana of Elephant’s Eye invites you to write a plant portrait each month. “I challenge you, in 2012, each month choose a plant. Archived pictures of flowers, berries, autumn leaves, wildlife endorsing your choice. Start fresh – what will be your signature plant?” Join Diana and friends on the 3rd Friday every month and showcase one of your favourite plants and see what others have chosen as theirs!
In January I profiled Carex evergold as my signature plant and in February I raved about the Pittosporum eugenioides ‘Variegata’. In March it was Dietes grandiflora and next month … perhaps a ground cover or shrub. Come back and see!