Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Variegated Clivia miniata is my favorite (new) plant in the garden, this week...

I'm cheating a bit this week with my favorites. I was originally going to use the following clivia as my favorite this week, but as I'm planning posts in advance this week I took lots of pictures of another plant and was inspired to write a favorite post for it, too. I don't have time to take more pictures for other posts, so I'm choosing to use both this week. Since this post is really more of a "Look what I got!" kind of favorite, I decided to call the clivia my favorite new plant.

I've shown my green-leaved Clivia miniata several times on this blog, most recently here. It is a family heirloom going back at least to my paternal grandfather, with offsets given to each new generation. The sentimental significance, beautiful green leaves, brilliant orange flowers, and the ease of its care have made clivia one of my favorite plants through many years.

The genus Clivia is native to southern Africa, but has spread by virtue of its beauty to collectors and gardeners throughout the world, either as potted plants protected over winter or as low-maintenance garden plants in areas mild enough to grow them outdoors year-round. Clivia miniata is the most popular, with large, openly funnel-shaped flowers that face up and out. The other species have more narrow, pendulous flowers, some with green tips. I find these other species equally beautiful and, perhaps, more intriguing as they invite closer inspection to appreciate the full detail of the flowers. Alas, I don't have any of these other species...yet.

Back to the plant at hand, though. Now, I finally have a friend for the family clivia, a gorgeous variegated Clivia miniata I received as a gift from Sean Hogan of Cistus Nursery. I was completely thrilled and awestruck to receive this beautiful plant and I'm still going out to the deck just to look at its glorious leaves. When I do I'm back to grinning giddily just as I was when I first picked it out. Never would I have expected to receive such a superlative gift. Sean is a remarkable and generous individual. I'm going to stop now before I really start gushing.


Isn't it just beautiful? I really can't get over it! Of course, it might have been smarter to wait until after I moved, and had it mailed to me, but how can anyone not want to take a plant like this home immediately? I can still find plenty of room in the car come moving time.

My next step is to procure monk and/or daruma type clivias (dwarf varieties with very wide leaves) and other species of clivia to breed with. Aside from just wanting to have these other plants as a collection, I also want to do a little hobby breeding with them. That's all a ways down the road. Clivia can be expensive, unless you're lucky enough to have very generous friends with clivias to share. It will take time to acquire this collection, grow them to blooming, make crosses, and see the results.


The stats on variegated Clivia miniata:

  • Hardy in USDA zones 9-11 
  • 1.5-2 feet tall, can form large clumps over time
  • Part shade
  • Medium water needs, reduce watering in winter if grown indoors
  • Low maintenance
  • Evergreen


Having a little piece of Cistus with me will help keep me warm through those cold Wisconsin winters. Thanks Sean!

7 comments:

  1. Oh, what beautiful stripes on that leaf!

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    1. I had to mop up the drool before I could take any photos!

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  2. I have to admit I'm not really a fan of the Clivia, shocking I know what with those orange flowers. This one however, it's gorgeous!

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    1. To each their own. Having seen your garden I can see how clivia might not be in it, though I couldn't explain why. It just doesn't quite fit with your diverse collection. See what I mean about not being able to explain? A variegated one might work though. No two are exactly alike and there is a wide range of patterns to suit any look.

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  3. That's definitely a Clivia I'll look for if and when I get a decent shade garden area put together. You're moving to Wisconsin?! I missed that notice. I'm guessing this is the end result of the career decision you mentioned was in the works some time back - I hope the job is everything you wished for.

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    1. I would imagine clivia are much easier to find in your area than up north. Oops, I meant to make some sort of announcement about my move but wasn't sure how to work it into a post. I wrote all my posts in one go this week in preparation for a trip to the beach and mentioned my move in them without fully explaining.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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