Clivia, Saint-Joseph’s lily, growing, potting and care


Clivia, or St Joseph’s lily, is an elegant flower-bearing indoor plant.

Key Clivia facts

Name Clivia
Family – Amaryllidaceae
Type – indoor plant

 – 16 to 24 inches (0.4 to 0.6 meters)
Exposure – well-lit or part shade

Soil: soil mix  –  Foliage: evergreen  –  Flowering: spring

It makes our houses and apartments look lively with its elevated ornamental impact and its unique flowers.

Planting and repotting clivia

Clivia will only grow outside if the weather doesn’t ever get cold. It’s a tropical plant that isn’t hardy at all.

Growing Clivia in a pot

Clivia is a plant that shouldn’t be moved around too much. It likes living in tight spaces and doesn’t cope well with being repotted frequently.

Clivia containerSo you should thus only repot every 2 or 3 years and preferably in spring.
Repot your clivia in a pot that is slightly larger than the previous one.

  • Clivia roots hate excess water.
    Double-check that the pot always has a hole at the bottom.
    Increase drainage with a layer of gravel or clay pebbles along the bottom of the pot, to make water flow through more easily.
  • Good soil mix is needed.
    Clivia, when it lives indoors, needs soil mix because that is the only source for the nutrients it needs.

Pruning, and caring for clivia

Remove wilted flowers regularly by snipping off the floral scape at the base.

Also eliminate yellowing leaves.

Where to place your clivia at home?

The best place to set up your plant is near a window that lets a lot of light through, but isn’t in direct sunlight during the warmest hours of the day.

  • Clivia exposureIt is indeed vulnerable to excess sun that might dry the plant up.
    To enhance the blooming, you can nonetheless offer it a bit of sun in the morning or in the evening.
  • Absolutely avoid setting it near heat sources such as radiators, because moisture is what this plant needs most.
    Ideal temperatures are around 70°F (20°C).

Watering clivia

Clivia wateringRegular but moderate watering is called for.
All year long and especially during summer, spray water on the leaves to recreate the moisture levels of its natural habitat.

In spring and summer

Keep the soil mix moist and check that water drains properly.

Add flower plant liquid fertilizer every 8 to 15 days during the growing phase.

  • Spray the leaves on a regular basis with calcium-free water.

In fall and winter

Reduce watering and wait for the soil to be dry before watering again.

  • Stop adding fertilizer in fall.

Common diseases that infect clivia

Most diseases targeting the plant are common indoor plant diseases and particularly scale insects.


  • If the leaves dry out and turn brown, it means there was too much sun.
  • If the leaves turn white and the flowers are small, add fertilizer more often.
  • If your clivia doesn’t bear flowers, it probably needs to be in a cooler spot.
  • If the base of the plant starts rotting, stop watering and only water every time the soil is completely dry.

Learn more about clivia

A marvelous indoor plant, clivia is however very poisonous and must be handled with gloves to avoid risking intoxication.

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Images: 123RF: Farhad Ibrahimzade; depositphotos: Niky Emmert, P. Stedrak; Pixabay: Alun Davies