Spring is synonymous with clivias in full flower!
Their bright blooms burst forth in September and instantly banish the last lingering traces of the winter blues. Here are some steps on how to grow them from seed:
- For successful germination, use fresh seed. Pick the berries when they start colouring and remove the pulp and membranes around them. The seeds will be large with a pearly sheen.
- Wash the seeds with an anti-fungal solution or a weak solution of dishwashing liquid and water.
- Fill a seed tray with coarse, damp river sand (the soil should not be sopping wet). Push the seeds into the medium so that about 50% of their surface is above ground. Alternatively, you can use coconut husk or peat as the medium. You get these in handy blocks that you submerge in water – the product then absorbs water and makes a full 5l of awesome growing medium!
- Cover with a layer of vermiculite – this forms a warm ‘blanket’ for the seeds to be able to germinate in. Place the tray in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. Although further watering is not needed, check that the sand remains damp.
- Sprouting should be within 4 – 6 weeks.
- Fill small pots or a deep seed tray with milled bark or commercial potting soil. Water the soil medium well and make holes of about 2cm deep with a dowel stick. Gently plant the sprouts in them, leaving half of the seed body above ground.
- Place the seedlings in a warm, protected spot in the shade and water them with a gentle sprayer once or twice a week.
- The seedlings are slow-growing, and can remain in their containers for about two years before they will be strong enough to plant out.