Natal lily, also known as Clivia miniata, is a stunning plant that originated from South Africa. This evergreen perennial belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family and is commonly cultivated for its striking orange, red or yellow flowers that bloom in clusters. In this blog post, we will explore the origin, habitat and popular cultivars of Natal lily, as well as the best practices for light, fertilising, plant care including potting up, watering, humidity and pest control.
Origin and Habitat
Natal lily is native to South Africa, specifically the province of KwaZulu-Natal. It was named after Lady Charlotte Clive, the Duchess of Northumberland, who was a keen collector of rare plants during the 19th century. The plant grows naturally in the understory of subtropical and tropical forests, where it receives filtered light and moist soil. The plant is a popular ornamental plant worldwide, and many cultivars have been developed to suit various environments.
Habit: Rhizomatous perennial producing dark green strap-shaped leaves and bearing an umbel of dull to bright orange or occasionally yellow trumpet-like flowers.
Temperature: During the growing season from spring to early fall plants grow best between 18 to 25ᐤ C; however, during late fall and winter when plants are ‘resting’, temperatures around 10ᐤ C are required to initiate flowering. Avoid temperatures below 4ᐤ C as it may result in the death of the plant.
Light Exposure: Plants grow well in bright, indirect light for best growth indoors. Avoid placing plants in direct sun or in dark locations.
Watering: Clivia like a moist growing medium but not soggy; water only when the top 3 cm of soil feels dry to the touch. Always check the soil moisture first but as a rule of thumb watering once a week in the rainy season, once every five or six weeks in the cold dry season and once or twice a week in the hot dry season.
Fertilising: Give plants a well balanced fertiliser once a month during the hot dry season and rainy season but not during the cold dry season when plants are resting (semi-dormant).
Pruning/Repotting: Remove yellowing or brown leaves as necessary and cut spent flower stalks after flowering has finished. Clivia like to be root-bound and repotting may only be needed every five or six years.
Natal lily can be prone to pests such as spider mites and mealybugs. Regularly inspect the plant for signs of infestation, such as webbing or white powdery substance on the leaves. If pests are present, treat the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil following the instructions on the package.
In conclusion, Natal lily is a stunning plant that is easy to care for and can be grown indoors or outdoors in subtropical and tropical regions. By providing the right amount of light, fertilizing, potting up, watering, humidity, and pest control, you can enjoy the beauty of this plant for years to come.