Germinating clivia seeds

karyn1(7a)August 7, 2006

I've finally bought some clivia seeds. The instructions that came with them said to plant in a high quality potting mix (duh!) about 1/2" down then to water and place in a dark area with temps at about 65-70F. It also said that it might take up to 16 weeks for germination! I've purchased from this person previously and have always received high quality seeds and plants so I'm sure the seeds are fresh. What I would like to know is that the correct way to germinate clivia? There was no mention about soaking the seeds or nicking the seed coat. It didn't say whether to keep the seeds moist or to let the soil dry out between waterings. I'd also like to know what the average germination rate is for clivia seeds. I only bought 5 and am really hoping that at least 2 or 3 grow.

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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Please. No nicking! No soaking! Just plant as directed.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 12:35AM
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karyn1(7a)

That's what I did. I put them in as dark an area as I could find, it's dim, not dark though. The only dark place would be the garage and it gets quite warm in there this time of year. Will they still germinate if they aren't in complete darkness? I really don't want a pot in my cabinets or closets.
Karyn

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 6:50AM
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beth_b_kodiak(zone 5a)

No real need for darkness as we lay then on top of the soil and just cover container with a paper towel.
Ditto on no nicking or soaking.
Do a search on this forum for more about various ways to start those seeds. There was a rather long thread on that recently.
Good luck.
BB

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 11:29AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Well a friend who specialized in Clivias for a more than few years gave me some seed last summer.

He told me to pot it up small in a light mix (I used my own AV mix, equal parts of peat, perlite & vermiculite) & kept it covered w/ tin foil over the top (he suggested it as a way to keep it dark).

I think I might have peeked every 7-10 days & given it the lightest of misting, if I recall correctly, it took a few months to germinate. Only one of the 2 seeds took.

I'm happy to say a year later I have a lovely, young plantlet, which just recently sprouted its 2nd leaf (don't be startled, once it sprouts, it only grows one leaf, not the usual pair as most other plants).

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 1:29PM
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karyn1(7a)

Thanks for the info. I hope I don't forget about them before/if they germinate.lol I have one mature flowering size clivia and didn't realize that I could have let the flower stay on the plant until the seeds ripened. Hopefully my husband won't throw away the clivias in the shop when their blooms are spent again either! I told him to bring the plants home but he forgot and in the dumpster they went : (
Karyn

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 2:43PM
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birdsnblooms

Now I understand why clivias are so expensive..they take forever to germinate..if they do.
I'm almost tempted to try again, try placing them in the dark. I sowed my about Feb and nothing. But I put the sowed seeds under gro lights.
But I also read on a Clivia site/s, that they should be soaked in water for 24 hours or knicked. Too many choices to choose from..Toni

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 3:07PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Dear Toni,

Even tho' you read that on a Clivia site, I'd ignore it. My friend (mentioned above) had a greenhouse full of Clivias (including Japanese varieties, variegates & dwarves) 'til he started scaling back on them.

If he didn't tell me to soak or nick 'em (he'd know for sure), I'd say they don't need it. I can't tell you how many Clivia 'fruits' I've seen him give to friends to try & grow. From all that he told me, the hardest part is actually to get the seeds out of the fruit w/out damaging them; I was extremely gentle & careful when doing so.

(PG) Karen

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 5:51PM
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birdsnblooms

Karen, thanks for the info.
I can't recall who suggested going to the Clivia site, but someone here on house plants gave me the addy.
If your friend has a gh filled w/Clivias that haven't been knicked or soaked, obviously it doesn't need to be done.
I thought because I hadn't done either was the reason my Clivias didn't germinate. So, I've basically given up. I have 3 now which is more than enough.
When you say Clivia fruit, are you talking about the green/red berry's they produce after flowering?
If ever I do decide to try sowing again, think I'll try sowing in the dark. Maybe that's the secret..Toni

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 8:44PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi again,

Yes Toni, by fruit, I mean the largish berry sort of thing that becomes bright red as it ripens. That's what he gave me that contained the 2 seeds. (I don't recall seeing them start on the mother plants, but I do believe they appear (well one, they appear singly, after the bloom). My friend Colman leaves them on the plants & let's them ripen into bright red before detaching them.

I know sowing them in the dark sounds counter-intuitive; struck me as rather odd too, since it seems all seeds would need light to grow. Personally, I have very little experience growing anything from seed (except reefer when I was a teenager) ;>)

But I followed his instructions & the little seed did its thing beautifully. Only when it got abt 1" tall & was too tall for its tin foil cover did I uncover it & exposed it gradually to the light, say a couple of hrs. a day over a few days.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 10:29AM
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karyn1(7a)

Karen do you have to worry about the foil cover holding in too much moisture? What about using a dark cloth or do you want to keep the potting mix damp? BTW I fondly remember "growing my own" many moons ago. My parents questioned why I was covering a closet in foil and had grow lights strung up. I just told them it was for a science project. lol They were so gullible back then.
Karyn

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 1:23PM
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GrowHappy(z7 MD)

I was given about 15 clivia seeds in March and was told to plant them in light mix and keep the soil moist. I'd also read on the various clivia sites that you should soak the seeds for 24 hours and keep them in a dark place during the germination process. I soaked the seeds for probably 48 hours and then planted them in Pro-Mix, but didn't cover the seeds with soil. Kept the soil moist and set them in bright light. It took about 5-6 weeks for the first one to germinate. Only about 8 of the 15 germed. Only 4 of them now have the one long strap like leaf(let?). The others seem to be stagnated.

So, what makes them germinate? It seems different strokes for different folks? LOL

Growhappy

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 6:09PM
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birdsnblooms

Karen and Karyn..seems you guys were busy enjoying 'plants' back in the day..LOL. When I was married to my ex, he decided to grow his own and add w/my plant collection.. We were teens btw, when this ocurred. Anyway, his grew about 6' tall, thick and sturdy..Then one day he watched as I fertilized my plants and decided to do the same..The idiot thought if he added more than recommended it'd grow faster. So, what does he do? Pours straight fertilizer in the soil, about half a bottle..the next day the 'weed' was leaning over on its side. LOL. The plant died that week. Oh well, I wasn't thrilled growing it in the house..what if the police would have stopped by..
Another incident, my son's teen friends would compliment my plants..More than one friend said I should grow pot. W/o my knowledge, someone planted pot seeds in my 'front,' of all places, garden..the plant grew..I had no idea what it was. At the time I was into annuals and grew all types of rare types from seed and assumed it to be something from the nursery..WEll, it was over 4', had several stems, in the center of my garden. One day while outside I walked in the center and looked the plant over..that's when it dawned on me..I thought, "oh my God, what if the police spotted this thing?" it was a pot plant..I plucked it up and threw in the compost..lol..and there was quite a bit to pluck. To this day I don't know which 'frined' sowed the seed, and I'll probably never find out, but what a surprise..lol..
Growhappy, I once had a 10 gal fish aquarium used as a terrarium..it got very little light..When the berry's from my oldest Clivia matured, I placed them in the terrarium..a few months later, little tiny plants emerged..I didn't even remove them from the red berry, just tucked in the soil..I got 3 plants, but can't recall how many seeds I sowed. The point is, they grew, I gave the plantlets to friends. I didn't soak them, but they did grow in a dark area, so I don't know if that's the reason they worked or not..it was an experiment btw. Toni

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 7:20PM
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dries(South Africa)

Try the links on my website. I trust it contains some valuable links. Btw, I have grown Clivia for years and firmly believes in soaking the seeds for 36 hours in luke warm water. It works!!
Enjoy the ride!!
Regards
Dries

Here is a link that might be useful: My Website

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 3:39PM
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birdsnblooms

Dries, I think that was my mistake when I sowed my Clivia seeds (that never germinated) I never soaked them.
I realize some ppl get by w/o doing this, and end up w/beautiful plants, but not I. Uh Uh..I still have to soil under a plant light, but nada. If I ever decide to buy seed again I will soak at least overnight..Toni

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 5:28PM
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karyn1(7a)

Dries thanks for the link. Your plants are just lovely! Unfortunately I planted the seeds earlier this month and didn't soak them. I'll just cross my fingers and hope for the best. I've sent you an email about the clivia through your website and will wait to hear back. I'm just wondering if shipping will be prohibitively expensive. Is a agricultural permit (don't remember the proper name) required to send plants from S. Africa to the US?
Karyn

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 11:34PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Karyn,

Is CITES the permit name your looking for?

Hi Dries,

Quite a wonderful site you have w/ a superb collection of plants, thanks for sharing it w/ us. I had no idea Clivias came in such an assortment of colors. Made me wish I could grow them indoors (I currently have a 1 yr. old plantlet I grew from seed, but don't know how I'll give it the cooler nights I hear it will want to bloom eventually).

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 11:15AM
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birdsnblooms

Karen, can you place the Clivia close to a window? Believe me, these plants can grow near a cold window and live. When my gh heater went out in winter, (coldest night that year) I lost about 1/3 of the Clivia leaves, but the plant survived. I'll never keep in gh again..it stays in the house in a cool room overwinter.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 3:44PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Toni,

It's a thought, really just a maybe as I am primaily a succulent collector & as such, those get dibs on all the prime space on windowsills. As it is, the kitchen window collection of Aloes fear being unseated by 1/3 of the Hoya collection who all started asking for the window space a couple of yrs. ago. As the Aloes pre-date 1/2 the Hoya collection, it's a bit of tug of war.

Other windows (I only have a total of 3 in apmt (excluding a small, frosted bathroom window which is all happy Hoyas all the time) are all (1) assorted Crassulacae; (2) asst'd Euph. millis, various Kalanchoes, some Aloes. Maybe I can swap out some Haworthias for the Clivia when it needs it. It's a thought tho' so thanks.

Do you think a young Clivia (just a yr. old plantlet) would need the cold window this winter? Am a Clivia newbie & as it only just sprouted its 2nd leaf, I'd be worried to lose it to the cold.

Thx for the suggestion & yr. help on this!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 4:52PM
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birdsnblooms

Karen, if your Clivia is 1 year old, then I wouldn't think it needed the cold since Clivias bloom when older..My oldest, started from seed took about 8 yrs before it's first flower. Did you have the Clivia for a yr or did the seller tell you it was a yr when you bought it? Toni

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 5:36PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

No Toni,

My friend who used to grow a greenhouse full of them, gave me a Clivia fruit last summer, from which I carefully extracted the seeds. Following his instructions (tin foil-covered to germinate in the dark), I germinated it (only one of the two seeds took).

Since I myself grew it from seed last Aug., I can say w/ confidence that the plantlet is just a yr. old (& only just made its 2nd leaf a month ago).

As I don't often grow from seed, I am an extremely proud Mama on this one!

So OK, no cold window for it for another couple of yrs. at least, huh? Thanks Toni!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 6:28PM
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birdsnblooms

Karen, that's right, you did mention your friend in a previous post..Keep the date written down so you know when it was started.
Do you keep a plant journal? Someone here on GW started a spreadsheet which I thought a great idea. She listed all her plants, when they bloom,etc..
I keep stuff written in a journal..I list the name of plant, where it was bought, when in bloom, when fertilized, etc. It's nice going back to previous yrs, seeing what I bought and when.
Do you know what color flowers your clivia will produce? I like the orange, but can't wait until the yellow flowers..Now I'm tempted going to Ebay and buying seeds..LOL..Toni

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 6:37PM
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GrowHappy(z7 MD)

All this talk of yellow-flowering Clivias is making me want to spend money I don't have! I have a mature orange flowering one, which I bought this past Spring. Then I have the 7-8 seedlings, also orange, that recently germinated. Karen, I know how you feel about being a proud mom. Everytime I look at those, I feel a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I didn't think they would be so easy to germinate because I'd read so many conflicting articles on the right and wrong way to germinate a clivia seed. I'm most thankful that this person gave me an stalk with a generous head of fruit on it. It was cool peeling the skins away from the seeds. Kinda mushy and slimy, but still fun! It's funny how much I babied those seeds- making sure that the potting mix never dried out. I nearly squealed when I saw the little white sprouts that come before the leaves develop. Oh, what a JOY growing plants from seeds!!!!:)

GH

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 9:18PM
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karyn1(7a)

I really hope my seeds germinate. I also hope that I don't forget about them before/if they do! I've planted a few other seeds that have extremely long germination periods and totally forgot about them. Toni I still get angry every time I think about my husband throwing away those clivias just because they had finished blooming! I doubt I'll ever let him forget that. lol
Karyn

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 11:47PM
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jbf16falcon(Z6b Owasso, OK)

light or no light, it really doesn't matter. Mine all get light and are sown on top of the seed starting soil. The freshness of the seed is the indicator for soaking or not soaking. If the seed is a translucent green and fresh, I don't soak. If the seed skin is more brownish or the seed slightly wrinkled then it gets soaked for at least 24 hours. Don't knick the seed as it doesn't have a hard seed coat, just a skin. You can carefully remove the skin over the micropore if you want but you don't really need to. The soil needs to be consistantly moist (not wet). Your biggest threat is fungus, so plan to have a fungicide ready just in case the seed becomes infected. I plant mine under plastic domes. When the leaves touch the top of the dome, I remove it. Just remember through their life they like a fast draining planting medium more like orchids. Let it go to the dry side before watering again. Bloom time is about the time they get their 13th leaf and a few weeks of cool weather to set the bloom bud in the meristem. Put them outside in a shaded area for a few weeks in the fall and bring them in before first frost, or put them in the garage for 4 to 6 weeks in late fall (a garage that will not let them freeze). Just remember that for the most part do nothing to try and set a bloom until the plant has at least 13 leaves. This is usually about the time the plant is 3 years old. Hope that helps.
I have about 1,200 of these.

Jim Black
Near Tulsa,OK
Zone 6b

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 11:02AM
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cherryirene(Z7)

All this info is old but let me put in my two cents. I don't know where this put them in the daRK CAME FROM. i BOUGHT SEVERAL CLIVIA SEEDS FROM sILVER HILL IN sOUTH aFRICA. i COMPLAINED WHEN NONE OF THEM GREW AN D i EXPLAINED THAT i TOO HAD BEEN TOLD TO PUT THEM IN A DARK PLACE. tHEY THOUGHT THAT WAS FUNNY BECAUSE THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE. tHEY NEED LIGHT TO GERMINATE. i HAD TO AGREE BECAUSE i HAD COLLECTED ALL THE CSEED CONTAINERS AND LEFT THEM OUTSIDE TO BE DESPOSED OF . tHEM THEY STARTED TO GERMINATE CUZ i FORGOT THEM AND LEFT THEM THERE FOR A COUPLE OF WEKS- IN THE LIGHT. Some of theses seed information sites give out the absolutely wrong information !

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 8:14PM
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birdsnblooms

Jon, although your information is helpful, sales is prohibited on GW, against GardenWeb Policy. Toni

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 12:38PM
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karyn1(7a)

How funny to see this old post. Those original seeds have grown into nice plants and bloomed for the 1st time last year. My Mother fell in love with them and somehow managed to talk me into giving them to her. lol I've grown a few more from seed and did nothing special, just stuck them in the soil, and they sprouted just fine.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 6:50AM
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birdsnblooms

Hey Karen...did you get an email or just happen by? lol

My oldest Cliva, started in 1982, was sown just like yours..stuck in soil, it sprounted, and still around today.

It's good your Clivias are around too..:) Toni

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 1:05PM
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