Germinating the seeds
» Your seeds should be planted the day you receive them
» The seeds may sprout during shipping, so be careful when opening the packet, to avoid damaging the root.
Getting started -- Rinse the seeds in plain water.
If you have germinated other Clivia seeds before, you may use the same technique that worked for you.
Use a small pot with drainage holes, about 3-4 inches (10 cm) tall and wide. Fill it with perlite. If you have vermiculite, mix 1 part vermiculite to 2 parts perlite, but this is not necessary.
Push the seeds into the surface so the top of the seed is even with the surface. If the seed has a dark spot or line, place that sideways - the root and leaves will emerge along that side. Space the seeds about 1 inch (3 cm) from each other. Water the pot. Make sure the top of the seed is visible (but not sticking out of the perlite).
The optimal germination temperature is about 66-76° F (19-24°C) during the day. A little cooler at night is ok. Avoid letting them get above 79° F (26°C). I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pot.
Ensure that the perlite always stays moist. If you enclose the pot in a bag or clear plastic container to maintain moisture, leave it open slightly for fresh air to enter. You may need to drip some water over the seeds each day to keep them moist.
Keep them in bright light out of direct sun. A fluorescent bulb placed 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light to help with germination.
The seeds tend to sprout at different times, with most of them sprouting between 1 and 2 months. Occasionally they can take up to 6 months, so as long as the seeds are firm and white, do not give up on them! Once they sprout, continue giving bright light, with no direct sun.
Once a seedling's first leaf is one week old, gently dig it up and repot into the soil mix described in the next paragraph. Use a pot with drainage holes, at least 5 inches (13 cm) tall. I prefer to use 1 pot per seedling, but you may use a communal pot - just place the seedlings 3 inches apart (7 cm).
Soil -- Use a loose, well-draining medium. A typical mix would be 1 part fine-grade orchid bark, 1 part potting soil and 1 part perlite or coarse sand. An alternate mix is 1 part potting soil to 1 part perlite or pumice rock. Don't compress the soil after filling the pots.
Climate -- Clivia caulescens has similar requirements to the common Clivia. Ideal temperatures are below 85 degrees F (29°C), with nights that are cool. The plants can survive a few degrees of frost, but the leaves will be damaged, so it's best to protect it from all frost, especially the first 2 years. Bright shade or filtered sun is best. Avoid strong sun exposure. Over about 40% humidity is recommended. Indoors, if the humidity drops too low, consider using an ultrasonic humidifier.
Watering - The plants like to have their roots kept moist, but not soggy. So aim to keep the soil evenly moistened. Don't let it dry out completely. Don't let the pots sit in a tray of water.
If your tap water is very "hard", meaning high in minerals, it's best to use bottled water or rain water.
Fertilizing -- Feed about every 2-3 months with a slow-release (pelleted or organic) fertilizer. Small seedlings do not need much fertilizer, so be careful not to overfeed them the first few 2 months.
Re-potting -- Plants under 2 years old may be kept in a 1 gallon (4 liter) pot. After 2-3 years, move them to a 5 gallon (20 liter) pot, where they may stay for at least a few years.
Flowering -- It's likely that this species needs cooler winter temperatures in order to flower, like the common Clivia. So once the plants are 3 years old, try to expose them to temperatures between 45 and 60° F (7-15°C) for at least half the day for 4-8 weeks during Winter. Reduce watering slightly in cooler temperatures, but don't let the soil dry out.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me.
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