The red hot poker is a flower native to South Africa with succulent leaves.
Key facts to remember
Name – Kniphofia
Family – Liliaceae
Type – perennial
Height – 20-50 inches (50-150 cm)
Exposure: full sun – Soil: chalky – Flowering: summer, fall
The poker plant‘s bloom is unique and your guests will definitely give you a “Wow”! Caring for this plant, also known as Kniphofia (and, previously, Tritoma), is surprisingly easy.
It will quickly settle in the background portions of your garden flower beds.
Planting red-hot poker
Recommended is to plant red hot poker in spring and space plants at least 30 inches (40 cm) between neighboring plants.
- Properly draining soil is strongly recommended, especially for winter.
- Prefer full sun to ensure more bountiful blooming.
- Planting depth is about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm).
- Cluster about 3 or 4 red hot poker plants for a square yard or meter, the “group effect” will look very ornamental.
You can mix soil from your garden together with flower plant soil mix, this will lead to better results.
Pruning and caring for poker plants
A very easy plant to care for, red hot poker won’t give you any problems, especially if it’s well settled-in.
- Remove wilted flowers regularly. This is called deadheading. It helps trigger repeat blooming.
- Cover the base with mulch, it helps lock moisture in the ground in spring and summer: red hot poker doesn’t like dry soil.
Even though the poker plant resists freezing pretty well (down to 8°F or -13°C), it helps to protect the foot of your poker plant with good mulch during winter if the climate in your area is cold.
Learn more about red hot poker
Truly an original flower, this perennial also has creative common names: tritoma and torch lily, to name a few.
Hardy enough to survive in our temperate climates, red hot poker will survive low temperatures, even below freezing. With luck, the flowers will keep coming up deep into December.
The poker itself is a flower that produces and abundance of nectar. It will contribute to attracting pollinators to your garden.
Different types of poker plant
Colorful hues of red, orange and yellow definitely make this plant look like fireworks. Its tall, upright bursts of flowers will catch the eye of every casual passer-by – even from the back of the flower bed! Imagine the impact in an indoor bouquet!
Main species include Kniphofia uvaria, shown in the main picture of this article at top, but there are around 70 in the entire family.
Varieties of red hot poker within K. uvaria come in many different colors and sizes:
- ‘Primrose’ – cute two-color blooms, purple and red
- ‘Torch lily’ – certainly the most classic, shown just here above with orange-yellow flowers
- ‘Fire Dance’ – tallest of this small selection, nearing 5 feet tall (actually K. hirsuta)
- Pyromania ‘Orange Blaze’ – stark orange color
- Propagate your poker plants through clump division
Smart tip about the red hot poker plant
Adding fertilizer in spring can increase the blooming.
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