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Kniphofia uvaria (Red Hot Poker)

Red Hot Poker, Torch Lily, Kniphofia burchellii, Kniphofia aloöides, Kniphofia patersoniae, Tritoma recurva, Kniphofia bachmannii, Kniphofia occidentalis, Kniphofia odorata, Tritoma burchellii, Tritoma uvaria,

Kniphofia uvaria, red hot poker, Kniphofia burchellii, Kniphofia aloöides, Kniphofia patersoniae, Tritoma recurva, Kniphofia bachmannii, Kniphofia occidentalis, Kniphofia odorata, Tritoma burchellii, Tritoma uvaria,

Kniphofia uvaria is a popular garden plant, known for its dramatic and colorful flower spikes. It’s an excellent choice for gardeners looking for a low-maintenance plant that adds height, color, and textural contrast to their garden spaces.

Kniphofia uvaria: An In-depth Look

Kniphofia uvaria, commonly known as the Torch Lily or Red Hot Poker, is a striking perennial prized for its tall, vibrant flower spikes that stand out in any garden. These blooms emerge from a base of grass-like foliage, creating a visually appealing contrast.

Native: It is native to South Africa, thriving in open grasslands and rocky areas, which contributes to its hardiness and adaptability.

Plant Type and Habit: This semi-evergreen, rhizomatous perennial forms a clump of linear, arching leaves with upright flowering stalks. It is herbaceous and known for its bold, architectural form.

Size: The plant typically reaches about 3-4 feet in height (90-120 cm), with flower spikes that can extend even taller. The spread is generally around 2-3 feet (60-90 cm).

Flowers: The drooping, tubular flowers are arranged densely on 6-10 inches long spikes (15-25 cm), and usually display a gradient of color from yellow to orange and red. The blooming period is primarily in the late spring to early summer, offering a vibrant display when many other plants are just starting to grow. Following flowering, it produces small, capsule-like fruits, though these are not particularly ornamental.

Foliage: Kniphofia uvaria has long, narrow, bluish-green, grass-like leaves that form a lush clump at the base of the flowering spikes.

Uses: It’s ideal for adding vertical interest to borders, cottage gardens, and wildflower gardens. Its dramatic flower spikes are also popular in cut flower arrangements.

Hardiness: It is hardy in USDA zones 5-9, tolerating a range of climates

Toxicity: There is no significant toxicity reported for humans or animals.

Wildlife: The flowers attract pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds.

Deer and Rabbit: It’s relatively resistant to deer and rabbits.

Drought: While it appreciates regular watering, it is moderately drought-tolerant once established, making it suitable for various garden settings.

Invasiveness: Kniphofia uvaria is listed in the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States.

Benefits: Apart from its aesthetic appeal, it is low maintenance and attracts beneficial wildlife. It also adds a dynamic element to garden designs with its striking flower spikes and lush foliage.

Red Hot Poker Growing Tips

Light: Thrives in full sun, requiring at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. It can tolerate light shade but may produce fewer flowers. Needs protection from strong winds.

Soil: Prefers well-draining soil; tolerant of a range of soil types. Soil pH can be neutral to slightly acidic.

Water: Requires regular watering, especially during dry spells. Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings to prevent root rot.

Fertilizer: Feed them with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring to encourage strong growth and flowering.

Pruning: Deadhead spent flower spikes to encourage more blooms. Cut back foliage in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.

Propagation: Propagate by dividing clumps in spring or fall.

Mulching: Mulch around the plants to retain soil moisture and suppress weeds. However, be careful not to mulch too heavily around the plant’s crown, as this can lead to rot.

Pests and Diseases: Generally resistant to pests and diseases. Watch for aphids, thrips, slugs, and snails. Root rot can be an issue in poorly drained soils.

Requirements

Hardiness 5 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Asphodelaceae
Genus Kniphofia
Common names Torch Lily, Red Hot Poker
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 3' - 4'
(90cm - 120cm)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spacing 24" - 36"
(60cm - 90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Semi-Evergreen
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Rabbit
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Prairie and Meadow, Informal and Cottage, Gravel and Rock Garden
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Kniphofia ‘Lucky Lemons’ (Red Hot Poker)
Kniphofia ‘Creamsicle’ (Red Hot Poker)
Kniphofia ‘Fire Glow’ (Red Hot Poker)
Kniphofia ‘Rocket’s Red Glare’ (Red Hot Poker)
Kniphofia ‘Solar Flare’ (Red Hot Poker)
Kniphofia ‘High Roller’ (Red Hot Poker)

Recommended Companion Plants

Achillea (Yarrow)
Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan)
Echinacea (Coneflower)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

Hummingbird
Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker)
Best Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 5 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Asphodelaceae
Genus Kniphofia
Common names Torch Lily, Red Hot Poker
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 3' - 4'
(90cm - 120cm)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spacing 24" - 36"
(60cm - 90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Semi-Evergreen
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Rabbit
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Prairie and Meadow, Informal and Cottage, Gravel and Rock Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker)
Not sure which Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker) to pick?
Compare Now

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