Growing Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia)

Growing Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia)


Gardens look better for some variety in the height in the planting. I try to grow a variety of perennials including Red Hot Pokers to give some tall plants chance to shine. As part of the lily family these Kniphofia are sometimes called Torch Lily.

Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia) have flowered well this year and they throw up their well known spire of blossom in shades from deep red, orange, yellow and white even to a new greenish form (Kniphofia Green Jade).

Red Hot Poker

Growing Red Hot Pokers

  • Red Hot Pokers have long sword like narrow leaves and the flowers can last in a vase for up to two weeks.
  • The Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker or Torch Lily) needs abundant moisture during its growing period so good draining  soil rich in organic matter, is ideal.
  • Red Hot Pokers need full sun to flower upto 4 feet tall in mid summer. Prune the spikes  after blooming.
  • To propagate remove young plants from the edge of a clump  in spring or they can be grown from mixed seeds from Thompson & Morgan.
  • Provide adequate spacing to encourage clumping up as they may spread up to three feet.
  • Although Red Hot Pokers are drought tolerant they will do better if they are given plenty of water during hot weather.

Growing White Hot Pokers

  • Kniphofia known as Red Hot Pokers come in a range of colours and I like the cream or white.
  • This variety K. citrina is a stately lemon coloured spire of flower about 3 foot tall. They are good clump forming perennials with narrow strappy evergreen leaves.
  •  For other yellow flowers try Candelight, Little Maid (AGM) or Atlanta.
  • The sword like, strappy leaves, clump together well.
  • The plants look good when massed together in clumps.
  • Pokers are generally hardy herbaceous perennials -try Kniphofia Citrina a 3 foot lemon colour or giant 6 foot Royal Castle.
  • If space is limited Kniphofia hirsuta is 18 inches high and forms dense, tidy clumps. The flowers are good for cutting.
  • If the leaves are untidy in Autumn cut them down to half their height.
  • Kniphofia combine well with many shrubs, grasses and Yuccas. They like well drained soil in a sunny position.
  • White Hot Pokers can also look good in a Mediterranean gravel or paved area.

AGM varieties to grow

  • Kniphofia ‘Brimstone’ Slender spikes of golden-yellow from green buds.
  • Kniphofia caulescens Coral-red, fading pale-yellow.
  • Kniphofia galpinii Dainty spikes of very intense, rich orange
  • Kniphofia ‘Royal Standard’ Deciduous. Bright yellow, scarlet in bud
  • Kniphofia ‘Toffee Nosed’ Creamy-white tipped toffee-brown.
  • Kniphofia ‘Bee’s Sunset’ Deciduous. Soft yellowish-orange
  • Kniphofia triangularis Free flowering. Reddish-orange

Other Resources

Royal Horticultural Society RHS ‘Gardening for All’
National Council for Conservation of Plants and Gardens ‘Conservation through Cultivation.’
Garden Organic National Charity for Organic Gardening.
BBC Gardening

Red hot poker

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