The clivia plant is one of the favorite houseplants in the world, as it is relatively easy to look after but produces some spectacular flowers along with its stunning evergreen leaves. It is native to South Africa as the relatively mild climate is perfect for growing the plant. Here are some interesting facts that you may not know about this popular plant.

Highly Poisonous

Not generally known by plant lovers is that the clivia is highly toxic and quite poisonous, but as long as you always wear gloves and wash your hands after tending the plant you will be fine. The problem often occurs with pets when they try to eat the plant or rub up against it.

The Name

The clivia is also called by two other names, the kaffir lily and the bush lilly. The name clivia came about after the plant was named for Lady Charlotte Florentina Clive, who was the granddaughter of the Duke of Northumberland, Robert Clive. In fact many people simply call the plant Clive pronouncing the surname as it is said.

Its Origins

Originally the clivia was native to South Africa, but can now be seen growing in the wild in Australia and parts of the Tropics. Of course the plant is now grown all over the world by keen gardeners and has become a highly popular houseplant.

Older Varieties

There have been some discoveries of older clivia plants that have been found growing wild in forests, the color of their blooms was predominately orange and yellow. But today the plant has adapted and has been cultivated to produce a myriad of different colors. Now the plant can be seen in bloom with bright orange colors, as well pale cream or even white. Commonly they are a striking red-brick color. New varieties include bi-color flowers such as yellow and orange.


The best option is to grow your plants from seed, as blooming clivias are not common in nurseries for sale. If for instance you were looking to buy a yellow flowering clivia then expect to pay around $50. Orange clivias are a little more common and can be purchased for about half that price. If you wanted to buy a seed then expect to pay around $10 per seed.

Growing Climate

For such a relatively expensive plant to buy, it is relatively easy to grow. Clivias can be grown inside or outdoors and they thrive in a wide range of climates. The main consideration is to keep them away from direct sunlight and away from frost. Almost anything else is okay and your plant will flourish with little maintenance. Clivias are now to be found in just about every part of the world as a houseplant. It is not just the attraction of its colorful flowers that makes clivia so popular the verdant evergreen leaves provide a rich background to any conservatory or window. Clivias are now to be found in formal gardens in China, America and Belgium such is the esteem it is held in.