For me, growing Clivia from seed is a challenging and rewarding endeavor. I get a lot of warm fuzzies from being able to provide not only an environment that causes the seed to germinate but also for the plant to thrive (and buying seed is cheaper than buying plants, so it enabled me to start the hobby on a smaller budget). When I start thinning my collection, knowing that I started nearly the entire enterprise from seeds, why will I sell plants only while they’re blooming?
One of the major challenges with buying seeds from crosses of any type of plant is that seeds and the resultant seedlings are recombinations of genes. Some plants it doesn’t matter, you’ll still get something very like the parents, particularly when selfed (the pollen from the flower is used on it’s own pod) Others are far too unpredictable to guarantee any sort of flower, color, shape, leaf, etc. Clivia can be one of those. Orchids and Adenium are probably less volatile (I haven’t bred them yet, so I can’t say for sure), so it probably wouldn’t be necessary to do that with them but I will just to be consistent. The only exception will be those varieties that die after they flower, which tend to be some of the Japanese Clivia. In their common sense way, the Japanese (I guess) figured the plant spends 90% of it’s time without a flower, one may as well enjoy beautiful leaves, so they have developed varieties that are never flowered.
Another challenge is you can’t necessarily be sure what you’re getting. How would you know whether the seed you received was actually the one advertised? If you’re buying from a reputable breeder, you’re more than likely going to get what you paid for but there are people that could see what people are paying for seeds and just breed whatever together and say it’s something else. I recently did a search for Clivia images and one that came up was actually a Dahlia flower photoshopped onto a Clivia plant being pitched as a new color Clivia. “Buyer beware” is sort of the motto for buying seed and seedlings off the internet. The only thing you would know for sure is that it is or is not a Clivia seed. When I bought my first batch of “super special” Adenium seed, the only one to bloom looked exactly like the sort of generic bloom you see everywhere. Still beautiful, but not what I thought I was getting.
I’d like to show an example from my collection to illustrate at least the recombination of genes portion of my post. I have two plants from the same seed pool, (Beach Bum x Berties bronze) x Hirao. If you’ve already browsed my collection you will have seen them, but here they are again so that we can speak about them in specific.
The first listing in any pedigree is of the “pod” parent or the “female” or the part of the flower with the ovaries. The second is the pollen contributor. In this case, the pod parent was a combination of Beach Bum and Berties bronze and the pollen parent was Hirao.
Shown here, we see the parents of the sisters. It looks like “Ruby” got the flower shape from Hirao, but almost no color contribution, her color nearly identical to Beach Bum x Berties Bronze. “Jessica” on the other hand looks more like what you might expect from this cross. A broader flower with not a lot of curve (termed reflex) in the petals and a more washed out color.
So, the reason I won’t be selling my offerings unless they’re blooming is because I want you to be delighted in the plant you choose. I want you to fall in love at first sight. I don’t want you to spend the time and effort germinating and tending only to be disappointed in a flower that looks nothing like it’s parents or how you imagined it might turn out. If it doesn’t matter to you what the bloom looks like or that it might take five to ten years to get to it’s blooming size (or that it blooms at all), then I encourage you to buy seed or seedlings from a reputable breeder and raise them up yourself, you’ll probably get good deals and love the plants as you grow them on. It can be rewarding. If, on the other hand, you’re willing to pay more for one already blooming, come back and see me. What you see on my site is what you get.