The clivia after I removed it from its pot
My mom asked me to repot her clivia for her. Clivia miniata
is a slow-growing and slow-to-bloom houseplant in cold climates, blooming in late winter and highly tolerant of neglect. I don’t own one myself (though I hope, in time, to inherit an offset of hers), so I made some attempt to familiarize myself with its growing conditions and needs. As is often the case with plants, I found some conflicting information, and so I am asking for your advice.
This is how the clivia looked after I unwound and untangled the roots.
Most people offering clivia advice on the internet say these houseplants bloom best when potbound. However, L.T. Tran, a commenter on A Way to Garden
who grows clivias to show, says they do not like
to be potbound, they merely tolerate it. Ooohh-kaay. I think we’d all agree, then, that it is definitely time for my mom’s houseplant to be repotted. But, into what?
Many of the clivia's roots are quite long, up to 30 inches (76cm)
Despite being crammed into a 6-inch wide, 5-inch deep pot, many of this clivia’s roots are very long. I held one to its full length to get an idea, and it measured thirty inches (76cm)! Of course, none of the roots are naturally extended to their full length; they’re not normally held in tension. Still, the bulk of the roots, resting comfortably, extends a good 16 inches (41cm).
Should I root prune this clivia?
The former clivia pot next to the proposed new clivia pot
The deepest pot I have on hand is 12 inches (30cm) deep. I think it is what is referred to as a 5-gallon can. On the bottom it says Polycan #6 Deep
, volume 1,396 cubic inches. So what I want to know is, should I just cram these long roots into this pot, or should I trim the roots so they fit more comfortably, keeping in mind that the reputed clivia fondness for being rootbound is a myth?
Should I divide it?
Would you cut into this clivia to make two plants?
Everyone, even L.T. Tran
, says a clivia won’t bloom until it has at least eight adult leaves. So my mom’s clivia is just getting going. Many websites that I consulted said you shouldn’t divide the plant until the offsets, the “babies,” are almost that big themselves. Tovah Martin, in Well-Clad Windowsills: Houseplants for Four Exposures
, goes so far as to advise, “Attempt the deed only for very dear friends or to acquire something quite rare in exchange.” But . . . there’s so many roots. Would the mama clivia be happier in a pot of her own? Or is it best for everyone involved that the family should stay together?
Your thoughts, please.