Clivia Culture Part 1
Raising Clivia from seed is a very rewarding pastime activity. The grower with an unflowered seedling always has something to look forward to and with this article I hope to increase your success.
Berries are generally harvested when they change colour from forest green to yellow/peach through red/purple depending on the berry plants genes. They can be harvested earlier than this if the peduncle is damaged by disease or mechanical damage and are often viable after four months from pollination. We harvest our seed in mid-May although C. mirabilis ripens several weeks earlier and C. robusta several weeks later.
Seed is extracted from the fleshy berries being careful to remove the thin endocarp layer which if left attached to the seed can host various diseases. Seeds are washed in a solution of Dishwashing Liquid (1 tsp to 1litre) and Sporekill (1ml to 5 litres) then left to dry on paper towels. At this stage seeds can be sown immediately or stored in the fridge for up to twelve months.
The choice of sowing medium is many and varied, anything from moistened paper towels to the same mix used to cultivate adult Clivia. The key is to have your medium damp not wet and be open & free draining. We use moistened Sphagnum moss as it is clean, retains moisture for a long period and has some antibacterial properties. Whatever your choice of medium we recommend sowing your seed on the surface and not buried as this mimics the environment Clivia have evolved to take advantage of. Place seeds with the radicle facing towards the medium, this is the small bump from which the growing point emerges and is located opposite the darkened area where the seed was attached.
Seeds should germinate in two to four weeks at 18 to 24 degrees, the time can vary depending on parentage. If you do not have a warm area set aside for germination you may wish to delay harvesting your seed or store seed for later sowing, but remember the aim is to grow at least four leaves in the first season in order to reach maturity quicker so the sooner the better. Once the roots have reached a length of 25 mm or so the seedlings can be transferred to small pots filled with your preferred potting mix ready for the next stage.
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