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How and When to Divide Clivias in Australia

The best time to divide your clivias is once they’ve finished flowering. This is usually in spring as these pretty plants will flower in winter.

Clivias are wonderful and easy-care plants that add a splash of bright winter colour to shady spots in your garden.

However, as Clivias grow from underground rhizomes, they do need to be dug up every few years and divided.

This is important when the clumps get too large as they’ll become overcrowded and you’ll notice a reduction in flowering.

Clivias 1 | Plant care

Another advantage of dividing your clivias is that you’ll end up with extra plants that you can grow elsewhere in the garden.

When should you divide clivias?

The best time to divide your clivias is once they’ve finished flowering. This is usually in spring as these pretty plants will flower in winter.

You can also divide your clivias in autumn before they flower. This means that you can spread some colour around your garden before the colder weather starts.

Ideally, you want to divide your clivias once every three to four years.

How to divide clivias that are growing in the ground

Clivias 2 | Plant care

Clivias can easily be divided by digging up each clump. Use a sharp spade for this and dig generously around each clump so that you get all the fleshy roots out without damaging any.

Once you have dug up your clump, place it into a wheelbarrow or garden cart and hose off all the soil from around the roots.

After you’ve done this, you should be able to easily see the individual plants and identify any new young plants around the outer edges of the clump.

The larger, older plants will flower the following season (or the current one if you’re doing this task in autumn). Take extra care with those so that you don’t damage any of the fleshy roots.

On the other hand, the young plants around the edge of the clump could take up to three to four years before they will start flowering.

Take a sharp knife and cut through the crown of the clump. This should allow you to gently start pulling the clump apart. Make sure that each plant that you separate from the clump has a good root system attached to it.

When you’re separating the small plants or pups from around the outside of the clump, always make sure that there are a few roots attached so that the new plant can continue to grow.

Once you’ve divided your clump, use the hose to wash the plants to get rid of any old soil as well as any pests that may be hiding in the foliage.

Your clivias are now ready to be planted back into the ground. Enrich the soil with some compost and make sure that it is free-draining.

Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the rootball of each plant and backfill with more soil. Water well so that the soil can settle around the roots of your plants.

How to divide clivias that are growing in a pot

If you have clivias that are growing in a large pot, after three or four years, they’ll become overcrowded and won’t be as healthy as they should be.

The first thing you want to do is take them out of the pot. The easiest way to do this is to gently tap the sides of the pot on the ground or on a table to loosen the soil. 

Then, turn the pot upside down, support the foliage with one hand and give the pot a good shake. Your clivias should come out easily. 

The video below details the dividing process but we’ve also explained it in full underneath.

Now your plants are out of their pots, it’s a good idea to hose off all the potting mix so that you can easily see the individual roots.

Next, follow the same steps as described in the previous section to gently separate the entire clump into large plants and smaller pups by using a sharp knife and teasing the roots apart.

Once you’ve separated your clump into individual plants, hose off all the old potting mix. Hose down the green foliage of the plants as well to get rid of any pests that may be hiding among the leaves. 

Your clivias are now ready to be repotted. Choose small pots for the young plants as they will take a while to grow and fill out the pot.

Clivia in pot | Plant care

For the large plants, select a pot that is just large enough to accommodate the roots of each plant. Make sure that the pot has plenty of drainage holes and use a free-draining orchid mix to fill it.

FAQ

When do clivias flower in Australia?

This can vary but generally, clivias will flower from autumn through to spring providing a splash of colour to your winter garden.

Where should you plant clivias?

Choose a spot that receives dappled shade. Some early morning sun is fine but make sure that the clivias are protected from the midday and harsh afternoon sun.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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