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Clivia robusta

The beautiful Clivia robusta is a rarely seen cousin of the famous Clivia miniata.  As you might guess from its name, it is very large, growing to 5 feet tall, making it one of the largest Clivias.  This striking member of the Amaryllis family is a newly-described species, formerly considered a large form of Clivia gardenii.  Each autumn and winter, it puts on a gorgeous display of pendulous, reddish-orange flowers tipped with green.  It is rare in its homeland of South Africa, where it is threatened with extinction.

Clivia robusta

Clivia robusta is a fast-growing species that's found in marshes and shallow rivers, hence its nickname "Swamp Clivia".  Despite coming from moister soil than the common Clivia miniata, it's equally easy to grow.  It has an upright habit, with strap-like leaves that can grow 5 feet long.  The flower stalk is tall, and usually has from 1 to 2 dozen blooms.  The flowers differ from Clivia gardenii in that the pollen anthers usually stay within the petals, whereas in C. gardenii, the anthers protrude past the petals.  Clivia robusta can flower as early as 4 years old.  You should be able to cross-breed it with some other Clivia species and create new cultivars!

Clivia robusta has similar requirements to the common Clivia.  It does best in temperatures below 90 degrees F (32C), with nights that are cool.  It may not thrive in areas that are consistently hot with warm nights.  It might be able to survive a light frost, but it should be protected from freezing temperatures.  It grows well indoors in a pot.  It likes well-draining soil that's high in organic matter.  A good mix is equal parts of potting soil and fine orchid bark or perlite.  While the roots can tolerate submersion in water, this isn't necessary - just keep the soil from drying out.  Filtered sunlight or bright shade is best.  Protect it from strong sun exposure.

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Photo #2 by Gerhard Faber

 

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Turquoise Puya

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