Red hot poker, an aloe-like succulent with huge fiery poker flowers!

Red hot poker

The red hot poker, known as kniphofia and previously tritoma, is a beautiful perennial native to South Africa. The poker plant‘s bloom is unique and the ornamental impact is out-of-this-world!

Key facts to remember

Name – Kniphofia
FamilyLiliaceae
Type – perennial
Height – 20 to 50 inches (50 to 150 cm)

Exposure – full sun
Soil – chalky
Flowering – June to November

Caring for this plant is surprisingly easy, and 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.

  • Planting distance and guide for red hot pokerProperly 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.

  • Caring for red hot poker lets you get many flowers from a single plantRemove wilted flowers regularly, this is called deadheading.
  • 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

Poker plant flowerTruly an original flower, this perennial also has creative common names: tritoma and torch lily, to name a few. 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!

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.

Smart tip about the red hot poker plant

Adding fertilizer in spring can increase the blooming.

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Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
Public Domain Pictures: Kecia O’Sullivan
Pixabay: Beverly Buckley, psusmith, Elisabetta Daniele