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How Do I Plant Clivia Seeds?

A.M. Boyle
A.M. Boyle

Clivia is a beautiful and colorful plant, but getting the clivia seeds to germinate properly can be tricky. Experts do not recommend that the seeds be planted in outside soil, but rather, they should be started in a planter pot. Prior to planting, soak the seeds in both a sterile water bath and a fungicide solution. Remove the outside membrane, and plant the seed in an aerated potting mixture. Clivia seeds also prefer bright light and warm, humid temperatures.

Originating from South Africa, clivia is a vibrant, exotic flowering plant with elongated, deep-green leaves. There are six types of clivia, and all bloom with colorful, broad flowers. The flowers themselves produce small berries that contain the seeds.

Clivia seeds should be soaked in distilled water overnight before planting.
Clivia seeds should be soaked in distilled water overnight before planting.

Once removed from the ripened berries, clivia seeds are generally covered by a thin, clear membrane that you should remove prior to planting. You can do this by gently washing the seeds under running water. When wet, the membrane becomes loose, and you can easily rub it off without damaging the skin of the seed.

After you have taken the membrane off, you should soak the seeds in purified or distilled water at least overnight, but no more than 24 hours. This process softens the seed pods, allowing them to germinate more easily. Clivia seeds are also very susceptible to fungus and other diseases. In order to ensure the seeds are not contaminated and to give them the best chance to produce a healthy plant, you need to soak them in a fungicide solution for 24 to 48 hours. You can use a commercial fungicide, sold at many nurseries and gardening centers, or make your own using a one-to-two ratio of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water, respectively.

You should plant your clivia seeds immediately after the fungicide soak to avoid the chance of recontamination. Most clivia enthusiasts recommend that you start the seeds in a small planting container that has adequate drainage holes on the bottom. Clivia has very shallow roots and does not do well in dense soil. Consequently, experts recommend using a nonsoil, aerated potting blend, such as pine mulch or perlite.

Spread the seeds on the surface of the potting mixture, and tamp them lightly so that they are no more than halfway covered by the medium. Each seed has a dark brown spot on it, which should be facing up when sown to ensure the roots, which sprout from the side opposite the dark spot, grown downward. Clivia seeds prefer warm temperatures, usually around 75°F (about 24°C) and thrive in high humidity. Most gardeners recommend covering the pot with a sheet of plastic wrap to help retain moisture and humidity levels. Place the container in a brightly lit area, but not in direct sunlight, because the seeds can easily dry in harsh sun.

Germination usually occurs in 4 to 16 weeks. When the clivia seeds begin to sprout, you can remove the plastic. Sometimes, the roots grow up instead of down. If this happens, you can make a fingertip-sized hole in the soil, gently insert the root, and cover it with a sprinkle of potting mixture. Continue to keep the seedlings moist by misting them every day, and they will soon reward your efforts with beautiful, vivid blooms.

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    • Clivia seeds should be soaked in distilled water overnight before planting.
      Clivia seeds should be soaked in distilled water overnight before planting.