Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Clivia is Fourth of my Twelve

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.

Clivia profile

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

[one_third]Clivia seed[/one_third]






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!

Happy Gardening

Clivia profile

[note_box]PS: Please join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter – we’ll be so happy if you do![/note_box]

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

An Autumn garden

My garden is in a sorry state … three days of continuous rain over the long weekend that interrupted my garden clean-up has left it looking untidy and ever so sad-looking. As I was busy with laying newly purchased compost and mulch the heavens opened up and it rained for three days solid. But in typical Cape Town fashion, as we got out our winter woolies and put extra blankets on beds, so the weather changed right back and the last two days have been too hot to do much gardening.

Today is looking good – not too hot, no wind, no rain (yet), but before I head out to continue my clean up, I took a few photos to show you what’s going on. And as I was taking these photos, I noticed something else – it’s not all white anymore! I have lots of pinks and blues and violets …


[one_half]Camellias have started their displayThe Camellias are starting their display[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Promise of lots to comePromise of lots to come[/one_half_last]

[one_half]A sweet pink daisyA sweet pink daisy[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Looking washed out after rainLooking washed out after rain[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Mexican Petunia keeps on givingMexican Petunia keeps on giving[/one_half]

[one_half_last]More pretty – Brachycombe daisiesBrachycombe daisies[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Barleria obtusa – Bush VioletBarleria obtusa - Bush Violet[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lots of blue and purpleLots of blue and purple[/one_half_last]

[one_half]First Azalea showing its faceFirst Azalea showing its face[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lots of lovely, fragrant LavenderLots of lovely, fragrant Lavender[/one_half_last]

Then there were a few surprises that popped up after the rains. The fading Hydrangea blooms are amazing to me. Spent but still beautiful I think I’ll leave these on the plants rather than cutting them off. I think they are lovely, I think I prefer them at this stage. Even the ones turning brown are lovely, it’s just a different type of lovely.

Tucked away in a very dark, hidden corner, we planted a few extra Clivias around this time last year (I already had quite a few and added to my collection). As I was cleaning, composting and mulching I noticed that the new additions have not just established themselves well, they are thriving and rewarding me with seeds.

And finally, I wrote about my intention to plant Crocosmia in the shade last year which I also did and forgot about. I planted them from bulbs and have been extremely underwhelmed by them – compared to the success I had with all the exotic bulbs I planted I fully expected this indigeneous bulb to do well. It has not really …. but it is still early days. Right now there are a few raggedy looking stalks and one single bloom – I’m not even sure I’m that mad about it anymore, but I will be patient. All the photographs of mass plantings of these can’t be wrong, they obviously just need more time to look impressive. But seeing the first bloom was exciting …

[one_half]Hydrangea bloomsHydrangea[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Clivia seedsClivia seeds[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Clivias have grown very wellClivias have grown very well[/one_half]

[one_half_last]First Crocosmia bloomsCrocosmia aurea[/one_half_last]

Oh, and the photos don’t really support my statement of a “sad looking garden”. Trust me, its sad. The lawn is in a bad way, there are lots of weeds (thanks rain!) and shrubs looking worse for wear after a three day downpour. Lots to do … a busy gardening weekend ahead.

Happy Gardening!

Christine's garden Home page features

Eye-Candy provided by Vireya Rhododendrons

Eye Candy is the theme of Blooming Friday over on Katarina’s Blog this week, so how fortunate am I to have become the very proud owner of an apricot coloured Vireya Rhododendron, just in time to take part and be able to show off my new blooms? So here are my fabulous new flowers about which I am immensely excited – For the first time, I present to you …

My newly acquired, rare, apricot coloured Vireya Rhododendron

Vireya Rhododendron


My very special, pink coloured Vireya Rhododendron

Vireya RhododendronI got these two beautiful plants for my shade garden from the award-winning horticulturist and specialist plant grower Jim Holmes (whom you might remember I met at the Rare Plant Fair two weeks ago). Jim specialises in unusual and rare plants and has a collection of plants that simply amazes! I’ll have to save up now if I want anymore plants from him – they are not cheap.

Clivias, for example, take three to four years to flower. They cannot be propagated from tissue so all Clivias need to be hand pollinated when breeding your own. So when a specialist grower pollinates to produce an unusual colour (eg. the near whites and yellow Clivia’s Jim is well known for), they have to produce up to 100 plants of which very few will be the rare colour types – and it takes 3-4 years before they know which of the 100 plants they have grown will have produced a rare colour as it takes that long for them to flower for the first time. (I hope I’ve explained this correctly – I have written it the way I understood it). It was very interesting learning about this today.

I would love to have one of those dark yellow ‘Butterball’ or near white ‘Snowball’ Clivias one day. See Jim’s website for his Clivias here: Jim does export Clivia seeds – he arranges the required paperwork so you can order seed from him if you are interested in growing your own rare coloured Clivias from seed. Me, I’m an “instant gratification” kinda girl – no waiting four years for a plant to flower – I’ll save up and buy a flowering Clivia from Jim one of these days…

If you are interested in Vireya Rhododendrons see the website at and while you are surfing around, stop over to admire more eye-candilicious blooms at “Blooming Friday – Eye Candy“!

Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

What’s up with this Clivia?

I have quite a few Clivias (Miniata) in the back shade garden growing beautifully under the trees. Some are a few years old already as I inherited them when we moved here. Then a few more were purchased two years ago and a handful more in August last year. The oldest ones have flowered beautifully in the past. There are two really big plants and when they flower they are quite beautiful. They’ve flowered for three years in a row, if I remember correctly, and its always starts around September (Beginning of Spring).

But here is a very strange type of growth on one of the plants. I don’t think this is one of the new ones … it doesn’t look new, but I could be wrong. As you can see from the photo, instead of growing a stem and the flowers forming a cluster atop of the stem, the cluster is developing without a stem so its sitting in the leaves.

Photos of the “deformed” Clivia – click to enlarge:

[one_half]Deformed Clivia[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Deformed Clivia[/one_half_last]

Any ideas as to what would cause this and whether there is anything I can do to correct it?