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Home » Kaffir Lily Plant – Crimson Flag

Kaffir Lily Plant – Crimson Flag

by Elyssa Goins
This article was fact checked.
Helpful: 100%


The clusters of springtime flowers make this species well worth the effort needed to enable it to flower well.

The Clivia Miniata (scientific name) needs a resting period during the winter, and very little disturbance – to prevent it from wilting.

Something important to be aware of if that the Kaffir name of this plant is extremely offensive. It is such a gorgeous plant with a name that invokes such a negative response. This name used in South Africa is a racial slur used to hatefully describe someone of color. I would implore you all to use one of the alternate names of this plant out of respect for others. Let this plant be a lesson to teach us all to respect every human being and even embrace those who are different than yourself. Thank you Thomson for bringing this to our attention.


Growing and size: The Crimson Flag lily is fairly easy to grow (within a greenhouse, conservatory, or house) if basic care instructions are followed (see below). They also enjoy a period of time outdoors in summertime, shaded. It can grow up to 18 inches in height and width once it’s fully matured, although they are slow growers so expect two to five years, for full maturity.

Blooming: You can expect these to bloom in early springtime, although some growers can get them to produce flowers at other times. They can also bloom sporadically at other times..earlier than spring or much later than spring. You will need some patience to see your first years bloom, which could be approximately 2 -3 years. The flowers last for a couple of days and then they should be removed (when they are deteriorating) to allow new growth and others to bloom. When they are in bloom, do avoid moving the plant.

How they look: When the Clivia miniata is in full bloom (usually between spring to summer) it’s a beautiful-looking species, with approximately 10 – 20 trumpet-shaped, orange-petalled, and yellow-centered flowers. There are also a variety of other colors (red, yellow, and white), although these are by far, the most popular.

The leaves are a wide strapped shape and fairly dark green in color, which arch over each other. The cluster of flowers produced grows from the end of a stem, so they sit displaying themselves above the foliage.

Poisonous: These should be kept away from cats and pets that like to nibble plant leaves. They contain a poisonous substance – called Lycorine. In small doses it may upset the stomach and the digestive system, however, large amounts can be dangerous.


Origin:South Africa.
Names:Kaffir, Crimson Flag and bush lily (common) — Clivia miniata (botanical/scientific).
Max Growth (approx):18 inches in height.
Poisonous for pets:Toxic to cats and dogs.

Close up of Crimson Flag Lily Flowers

Crimson Lily Care

Temperature:Temperatures from cool to average room 60°F/15.5°C – 75°F/23.8°C are best suited. The resting period needed within the winter needs the temperature to be much cooler – at 40°F/4.5°C – 50°F/10°C.
Light:Bright light is best (it can also be fine with less) and avoid direct sunlight.
Watering:Keeping the soil fairly moist (to touch) within summer is advisable. Water sparingly in wintertime and allow the soil to become quite dry, for about two months (this may encourage an early bloom).
Soil:A good organic soil that drains well is ideal to use.
Re-Potting:Keeping the soil fairly moist (to touch) within summer is advisable. Water sparingly at wintertime and allow the soil to become quite dry, for about two months (this may encourage an early bloom).
Humidity:If the temperature is correct there will be no need for concern about the humidity. Sponging the leaves gently will help. Stuffy rooms with central heating should be avoided.
Propagation:These are propagated through division (from the parent plant and roots attached) or seeds. Propagating should be done after flowering, with great care taken when dividing them.

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Janet Cho
Janet Cho
1 year ago

I have this lily indoors, it’s over 20 years old, but in the last 6-7 years it has not flowered. It’s just dark green leaves. What should I do?

Mary Lloyster
Reply to  Janet Cho
9 months ago

This is a big question with lots of variables but I can tell you the most common reason is lighting, not enough. The plant needs to see the cycles of nature so it can tell the seasons. Try moving it to another spot, that’s what I would do first.

Robert DeZwaan
Robert DeZwaan
10 months ago

How deep do Kaffir Lily need to be planted. I have a couple for years and has only bloomed once. Sometimes the leaves tend to rot at the base

Mary Lloyster
Reply to  Robert DeZwaan
9 months ago

Plant deep enough to almost bury the white part of the stem. Remember it likes light, descent water in growing months, very little in winter. Bets of luck!

thomson james
thomson james
9 months ago

also known as bush lily, “kaffir” is considered a very serious slur in south africa (where the plant originates) akin to the n word, perhaps change the name listed for this reason.

Elyssa Goins
Reply to  thomson james
9 months ago

Thomson thank you for brining this up, we have respectfully made changes to the article.

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