Clivia, Re-Potted

– Posted in: Plant info

Clivia in a new clay pot

The clivia is repotted, hopefully in a pot that is not too big, not too small, but just right.

Repotting a houseplant reputed to be slow-growing and expensive is almost as daunting as dividing a perennial for the first time. You are just sure you are going to kill it, so it helps to have someone more experienced to coach you through the process. Many thanks to L. T. Tran of Idlewild Farm, Andrew Beckman, Brian MacDonald, and Mark, who all took the time to offer their advice and reassure me as I was faced with my mom’s incredibly rootbound clivia.

Some of the commenters thought the black plastic pot was too big, and clay pots are generally recommended for clivia. I went with a clay pot that was as tall as the big plastic one, but doesn’t hold as much soil because of its sloped sides. I just couldn’t see cramming the clivia into anything smaller. More importantly, I knew my mom was more likely to under-water than over-water, so I thought the clivia would be safe from the waterlogged soil that would encourage rot.

It’s a lot heavier than it used to be, so I think they are going to need my dad’s hand dolly to get it back into their apartment!

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

What differentiates a bulb from a perennial plant is that the nourishment for the flower is stored within the bulb itself.…There is something miraculous about the way that a little grenade of dried up tissue can explode into a complete flower.

~Monty Don in The Complete Gardener pp. 142

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Kathy March 31, 2010, 12:17 pm

Interesting topic. I have a fairly ancient clivia — I think 25 years or more old — that I have repotted, maybe, once. It has a huge second bulb so should be happier once I repot it. I too used to worry about hurting such an ‘expensive’ bulb by bad potting technique (even though mine was a gift from a friend, all those years ago). But then I happened to take an early morning walk on the landscaped grounds of a hotel in San Diego a few years ago, during a seminar, and what did I see, crammed into every flower bed beside the extensive lawns, but …….. clivias. There they all were, just your average, joe landscaping plant for warm climates, looking pretty ratty at that time of year, and obviously nothing special.

Of course every precious houseplant grows somewhere outdoors, by itself. But this little episode reminded me not to get all stressed — it’s just a plant!

Fycke Lane March 30, 2010, 10:07 am

When my daughter was born in 1985 (that’s right, 1985) I bought my wife a small clivia in a six-inch plastic pot. It eventually wound up twenty-four years later in an unglazed earthenware pot sixteen inches in diameter with fifteen divisions. It flowered regularly after 1990, even after it was repotted into increasingly larger quarters. It suffered sun scald a few summers (shame on me) but kept on growing those tough roots and strap-like leaves. Finally, last May, just before it–along with all of the houseplants–were about to go outside for the summer, I divided and repotted it into six smaller containers, all ceramic. The largest contained three divisions, all small. Just this week one of those divisions bloomed its orange and yellow trumpets. All of the other plants are doing quite well, but will need more time to bloom. As long as you have patience and do not fear cutting a few roots, repotting is not that daunting. Just try and not damage the leaves. And don’t put it in direct sun in the summer.

Kathy Purdy March 30, 2010, 10:11 am

Thank you for stopping by and offering encouragement, Fycke.

Heather @ whats blooming this week March 30, 2010, 1:07 am

Hi Kathy – I just did this with my clivia – albeit not because I wanted to but because the pot fell and broke. But now it’s blooming! Apparently clivias like to be potbound, so the choice of the tapered pot is a good one I think.
Thanks for visiting my little blog project.
.-= Heather @ whats blooming this week´s last blog ..Canada Blooms: A Few of My Favorite Things =-.

Teresa March 29, 2010, 11:15 pm

You are very brave. I have an old jade plant that really needs repotting and I quite frankly am scared. If I kill it I will never forgive myself. It’s so pretty and big. When the weather gets nice, I will go for it. hopefully I will be as successful as you were. That is a beauitiful plant. looking forward to Monday. Can’t believe a month has gone by already.

Kathy Purdy March 30, 2010, 10:10 am

Teresa, I find jade plants hard to kill. As with clivia, the key is not to overwater. If yours is so big, I doubt you will do anything to harm it by repotting, though it sounds like a two-person job.

Nancy Bond March 29, 2010, 11:05 pm

It surely looks healthy…I’m partial to orange flowers. 🙂
.-= Nancy Bond´s last blog ..To Brighten a Rainy Day =-.