Sunday, July 14, 2013

Low Light Flowering Houseplant - Clivea Miniata

I love houseplants but my house is not the best for the kind of muted bright light most houseplants need to thrive. There is nothing like an East facing window to keep most plants looking their best. My largest window faces North East and is quite dim in winter when the sun light moves South. So I am always on the lookout for plants that like low light conditions. 

Clivea in Bloom
Clivea Miniata is a beautiful flowering houseplant that fills the bill. In order to get Clivea to flower, decrease the light and lighten up on watering. Cool nights are a help as well. The combination of these environmental conditions create a rest period so that the plant can store up the energy it takes to bloom. 

After a 6 - 8 week rest period, allow the plant to get a bit more light. Of course if Clivea is in a North East facing window, this will happen naturally as the sun "moves" north in Spring. Increase your watering schedule and feed lightly with a weak liquid fertilizer. (I say weak because most fertilizers tell you to use more than is necessary) 

When you water any houseplant, use water that has been allowed to set out for at least 24 hours so that it can off-gass chlorine. (Funny how it's okay to drink the stuff)

The beautiful luminous flowers of the Clivea (also known as Kaffir Lily) remain in bloom for several weeks. After the flowers have faded, cut the flower stem off close to the plant. Even after the flowers are gone, Clivea is a wonderful plant with beautiful foliage. Dust off those deep green strappy leaves every so often. 

Clivea produces small shoots from its (rather unattractive) roots. Cut off a shoot and plant it. You may have to wait a few years for the new plant to produce blooms. This easy reproduction will give you the opportunity to have a plant to trade. I love free houseplants and trading is the cheapest way to increase your little houseplant community.