Let's face it: by the time February rolls around we're all ready for some flowers. Snowbound gardeners are getting desperate. Fortunately there are all sorts of flowering plants that bloom indoors but I must confess I just don't seem to do very well with them. Perhaps it's because I'm too busy (I'm already working on Fall 2012) but I suspect I just don't have the nack. EXCEPT for my favourite indoor, winter-flowering, perennial CLIVIA. I was so thrilled when I saw my first flower buds this week. Like all plants CLIVIA have their requirements, but unlike most plants they thrive on neglect. Give them low light, little water and a cool, drafty location for the winter and they reward you with glorious, long-lasting flowers and striking, dark green, strap-like foliage.
Choice Clivia are rare and often sold as seeds or seedlings that won't bloom for many years. Ours are HUGE budded plants, the majority of which will bloom this year. The rave reviews from customers last year is testimony to the quality of our plants.
JOE SOLOMONE'S CLIVIA
Clivia have been coveted by gardeners since the plants grown in the hothouse of Lady Clive, Duchess of Northumberland, first bloomed almost 200 years ago. Originally from the Transvaal woodland of South Africa, Clivia have glossy, strap-like, evergreen leaves that are beautiful year round, but it is their gorgeous, long-lasting flowers and indestructible habit that makes them such great house plants. Like any plant, they are at their best when cared for, but unlike most they in fact demand very little care and in my experience are really hard to kill. In fact it might be a good idea to put your Clivia in your will!
Clivia prefer to live in pots, spending the summers outdoors in a lightly-shaded spot, and the winters indoors in a cool spot with bright but indirect light and only occasional watering. Most bloom in the late winter but they can flower more than once in a year.
It may come as a surprise, but many of the world's choice ornamental plants are the creation of other gardeners just like you and me. Many years ago a young Joe Solomone noticed a yellow-flowered Clivia in a patch of the more common orange-flowered Clivia miniata. He brought the plant to his nursery where, intrigued both by Clivia and his new plant, he began a hybridizing effort that a lifetime later has crowned him "The King of the Yellow Clivia". He line-bred his selections, developing strains by colour as well as a number of named varieties. Within each strain there's a range of flower forms, some with narrow, flaring petals, others with wider petals and more cup-like flowers in their large umbels. The named varieties, such as the Charm Series, are propagated by division.
LIGHT YELLOW STRAIN
Bright lemon-yellow flowers with a range of petal widths. These are by far one of the best strains of Clivia anywhere.
Glowing orange-red flowers. A really striking colour.
Luminous umbels of large salmon-orange flowers. An unusual shade for these splendid plants.
This named variety sports a profusion of creamy-yellow petals. Joe Solomone's Charm Series are vigorous, compact plants with medium-sized umbels in an unusual range of colours. They are the result of years of selection and are propagated by division, so each plant has the same colour and petal shape as others with the same name.
VARIEGATED ORANGE STRAIN
The foliage of Clivia is really lovely in itself. If any improvement was possible it would be a Clivia with stable VARIEGATED foliage. These forms of Clivia are extraordinarily rare and can cost many hundreds of dollars for a seedling. We've managed to get a few large, flowering-size plants with flowers in shades of orange, and lovely leaves striped in green and cream. A real treasure.
ADDING TO ORDERS
If you've already placed an order for PLANTS with us, just give us a call to 1-800- 339-8314 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your additions and we'll gladly add them to your order.