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Products > Clivia miniata 'Vico Yellow'
Clivia miniata 'Vico Yellow' - Smithers Select Yellow Clivia

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Clivia miniata 'Vico Yellow'
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Bulb/Tuber/Rhizome etc.
Family: Amaryllidaceae (Onions)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [C. x Kewensis 'Vico Yellow', 'Smithers Yellow']
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Clivia 'Vico Yellow' (Smithers Yellow Clivia) - An evergreen bulb-like perennial that forms a clump to 2 feet tall and wide with narrow long dark green blunt-tipped leaves. Usually orange flowering, this cultivar has full heads of flowers with large wavy rounded soft yellow petals and a deeper yellow throat. As with the species this plant typically commencing to flower in mid to late winter and continues through early spring. After flowering, plants can produce showy fruit which, like the flowers, are yellow.

This very tough evergreen plant is best suited to dry shaded locations in fairly frost-free gardens, but it will tolerate situations with regular irrigation as well as winter temperatures into the low 20s F. In colder climates plants can be brought in during the winter.

Yellow clivia plants collected in the wild from Eshowe Forest in South Africa were noted by Lewis Palmer, the Treasurer of the Royal Horticultural Society, to be growing at the home of Sir Charles Saunders, then the administrator of Zululand, in 1925. Sir Saunders gave Palmer two plants, which he returned to England with. Both plants flowered and produced seed but shortly thereafter they both perished for unknown reasons. The one plant in a glasshouse at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew plant was growing with typical orange flowering Clivia miniata and when its seedlings flowered, they all had orange flowers. Kew hybridist Charles Raffill (1876-1951) backcrossed these orange flowering plants and selected several, including one pale yellow flowering plant he named C. x kewensis 'Cream'. Others from this backcross were of varying shades of oranges. In 1970 Sir Peter Smithers (1913-2006), a Tory politician and hobiest gardener then living in Vico Morcote in southeastern Switzerland, obtained a single plant of C. x kewensis 'Cream' and one plant each of two of the orange flowering sister seedlings, labeled as C. x kewensis 'A' and 'B'. The following year he crossed these plants using the pollen from 'Cream' to pollinate both the 'A' and the 'B'. This resulted in more seed than Smithers had space for, so he discarded some under the greenhouse benches. The seed set in trays all bloomed orange four years later but the discarded seed under the bench produced two plants that flowered yellow a couple years later. The better of the two grew well and this plant he later named 'Vico Yellow' for the location of his garden. Sir Smithers sent plants of this variety to Dr. Shuichi Hirao and from him it came into the possession of the renowned clivia breeder Yoshokazu Nakamura at the Clivia Breeding Plantation.

In 1997 we were informed by Sir Peter Smithers that Yoshokazu Nakamura had notified him that it was his opinion that 'Vico Yellow' was "the world's best yellow Clivia, the one to beat" and that Miyoshi & Company in Yamanashi Japan had successfully micropropagated the plant - this was very big news as up to this time not one lab had been successful in micropropagating a single clivia. Stephen Vinisky of Cherry Creek Daffodils Nursery in Sherwood, Oregon arranged to receive the first shipments of the flasked micropropagated (tissue cultured) plants of this Clivia from Miyoshi in May 1998 and we received 5 plants in a flask from him. Of the 5 plants we received, only one remained vigorous and from this one plant we built up a crop by dividing every 3 to 4 years and in 2020, we felt we had enough stock to begin selling this historically important yellow clivia variety. Since 1993 we have also grown our introduced 'San Marcos Yellow', a large flowered selected form we released in 2005 called Clivia miniata 'Arturo's Yellow' as well as Dave Conway's for 'Lemon Chiffon' that served as our original seed parent for the 'San Marcos Yellow' plants. 

This information about Clivia miniata 'Vico Yellow' displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.