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Clivias

Clivia is a key part of our Conservatory display, with beautiful blossoms adding color to our East Conservatory from late winter into spring.

Clivia is also a key part of our research program at Longwood. When Dr. Robert Armstrong first began breeding Clivia at Longwood in 1976, available plants were orange-flowered varieties, while yellow flowers were rare and the yellow flowers that did exist were not of the highest quality. Thus the original goal of the breeding program was to produce a superior yellow-flowering plant, which was a long process due to the slow growth of Clivia from seed.

Thirty-five years in the making, Clivia miniata ‘Longwood Debutante’ made its debut at the 2011 North American Clivia Society’s International Symposium and Show. This plant’s slightly fragrant, buttery yellow flowers have overlapping petals that produce a beautiful floral display. 

The second release from the program in 2012 was also a yellow-flowered plant, Clivia miniata ‘Longwood Fireworks’, so named because its blooms are presented on a round umbel with stamens that appear to shoot out of the flowers like fireworks.

We released Clivia miniata ‘Longwood Sunrise’ in 2014, with beautiful orange petals with raised centers, or keels. The keel changes the shape and appearance of the flowers and gives them more depth and texture. Keeling Clivia flowers are rare and occurred randomly in Longwood’s seedlings, but our breeding efforts resulted in beautiful, consistently keeling flowers. Future Clivia releases will include unique yellow and orange keeling varieties.

In 2016 Longwood Gardens is pleased to announce the release of Clivia miniata ‘Longwood Chimes’. The flowers are a complex blend of bronze and burnt oranges with dark red overtones and a green throat. The red flush of the flowers, framed by leaves of dark olive green, deepens to dark red as the flowers age. Now that orange and yellow Clivia flowers are common, collectors crave new and exciting colors like the red flowers of ‘Longwood Chimes’.

An incredible green-flowered seedling with large flowers has also been created through the Longwood program. Most greens available in the trade today have come from the same breeding lines that contain the green-flowered Clivia ‘Hirao’. Longwood’s green is from a new genetic line, and is a much larger plant than ‘Hirao’. We hope that within the next decade, there will be enough of the green-flowered Longwood plant to allow its naming and release.