Botanical name  Clivia miniata

Common nameBush Lily, Natal Lily, Boslelie(Afr.), umayime (Zulu)

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Clivias are indigenous must-haves for a shaded garden or a bed in the dappled shade of a tree.  The attractive strap-like foliage provides greenery throughout the year and in the spring the large, vibrant orange (or yellow in the case of Clivia miniata ‘Citrina’ ) flowers absolutely light up the garden as they pop up against the dark green leaves. A sight to look forward to year after year!

Once established, Clivias are water wise, cold tolerant, disease free and low-maintenance and, did I mention they are indigenous? Ladies and gentlemen – we have the perfect plant!

Clivia Fast Facts

Plant type:  Perennial bulb

Season:  Evergreen

Hardiness: Semi-Hardy

Planting:  Dappled shade / Early morning sun

Size:  ±50cm x 80cm

Growth rate:  Medium

Growth Habit:  Clump-forming

Flowers:  Orange trumpet-shaped flowers in clusters on long stalks

Flowering Season:  Late winter to late spring

Fruit:  Red fruit in autumn


Plant about 50cm apart in richly composted, well -draining soil. Don’t plant your plants too deeply and spread the roots out  before you close them up.  Clivias have a shallow root system, so mulch well to keep the roots cool and moist.

Although Clivia miniata is considered water wise and it can tolerate periods of drought, it is important to water the plant well once a week during its growing season in spring and summer.  Keep them moist, but never waterlogged.   Watering can be drastically reduced in winter.

Feed the plants with an organic, slow-release 2:3:2 fertiliser in summer and 3:1:5 in autumn and again in early spring. Also very important for the plants’ health is good air circulation between plants. If the Bush lilies become too crowded they can be divided  and re-planted after flowering in early summer. The plants may not flower for a few seasons after splitting, but will recover in due course.

If using Bush Lilies as container plants, a pot with a diameter of 20-30cm is best.   Use a good quality potting soil, ensure that drainage is sufficient and feed monthly during spring and summer with a balanced, organic, water-soluble fertiliser. Clivias in pots will also need more frequent watering.

Clivias are rather fuss-free, except for the dreaded Lily borer.  These black and yellow stripy caterpillars will tunnel into the leaves of your lilies and eventually make their way into the bulb if not stopped in their tracks.  Check the undersides of leaves for tiny black eggs and remove them manually.  If you spot the caterpillars, they can be killed by simply squashing them or thoroughly spraying  the plants every two weeks with an organic caterpillar pesticide.       

Uses in the Garden:

  • Clivias are most striking if planted en masse in beds.
  • They also make excellent accent plants in pots and containers on a patio or veranda or next to a sitting area under trees.
  • The flowers and fruit will attract insects and birds.
  • Flowers can be cut and will last quite long in the vase.
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