Germinating the seeds
» Your seeds should be planted the day you receive them
» They may sprout during shipping, so be careful when opening the packet, to avoid damaging the root.
Getting started -- Rinse the seeds in plain water.
If you have germinated other Clivia seeds before, you may use the same technique that worked for you. The method below works well for me.
You may plant them all in a single, small container, since they will be removed once they sprout. Use pots about 3 inches (8 cm) tall with drainage holes. Fill with perlite. Use small- or medium-size perlite, not large chunks.
Push the seeds into the surface so the top of the seed is even with the surface. If the seed has a dark spot or line, place that sideways - the root and leaves will emerge along that side. Space the seeds about 1 inch (3 cm) from each other. Water the perlite thoroughly. Make sure the top of the seed is visible (but not sticking out of the perlite).
The optimal germination temperature is about 66-77° F (19-25°C) during the day. A little cooler at night is ok. Avoid letting them get above 80° F (27°C). I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.
Ensure that the perlite always stays moist. If you enclose the pot in a bag or clear plastic container to maintain moisture, leave it open slightly for fresh air to enter. You may need to drip some water over the seeds each day to keep them moist.
Keep them in bright light out of direct sun. A fluorescent or LED bulb placed 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light to help with germination.
The seeds will first grow a root, followed by a leaf 2-4 weeks later. They tend to sprout at different times, with most of them sprouting between 1 and 2 months. Occasionally they can take up to 6 months, so as long as the seeds are firm and white, don't give up on them! Once they sprout, continue giving bright light, with no direct sun for the first 3 months.
Once the first leaf appears, gently dig it up and repot into the soil mix described in the next paragraph. Use a pot with drainage holes, at least 5 inches (13 cm) tall. I prefer to use 1 pot per seedling, but you may use a communal pot - just place the seedlings 3 inches apart (7 cm).
Soil -- Use a loose, well-draining medium. A typical mix is 1 part fine-grade orchid bark, 1 part quality potting soil and 1 part perlite or coarse horticultural sand. A simpler mix is 1 part potting soil to 1 part perlite. Don't add lime to the mix. After filling the pots, don't compress the soil.
Climate -- Clivia caulescens has similar requirements to the common Clivia. Ideal temperatures are below 85 degrees F (29°C), with nights that are cool. The plants can survive a few degrees of frost, but the leaves will be damaged, so it's best to protect it from all frost, especially the first 2 years. Bright shade or filtered sun is best. Avoid strong sun exposure. Over about 40% humidity is best.
Watering - The plants like to have their roots kept moist, so aim to keep the soil evenly moistened, although not constantly saturated. Don't let it dry out completely, and don't let the pots sit in a tray of water.
If your tap water is very "hard", meaning high in minerals, you might need to use bottled water or rain water if your plants seem stressed.
Fertilizing -- The first 2 months, i recommend feeding every 10-14 days with a small amount of dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer. Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for young seedlings, since it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients. After 2 months, you may switch to a granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package. Or continue feeding with liquid fertilizer at 1/8 strength every 10-14 days.
Re-potting -- Plants under 2 years old may be kept in a 1 gallon (4 liter) pot. After 2-3 years, move them to a 5 gallon (20 liter) pot, where they may stay for at least a few years.
Flowering -- It's likely that this species needs cool nights in winter to trigger flower, like the common Clivia. So once the plants are 3 years old, try to expose them to temperatures between 40 and 60° F (4-15°C) for about half the day for 4 to 8 weeks during Winter. Reduce watering slightly in cooler temperatures, but don't let the soil dry out.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
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