Kniphofia Red Hot Poker Torch Lily

January 11, 2014 in Flowers and Bulbs by Christine

Kniphofia Red Hot Poker Torch Lily 

How to grow and plant Kniphofia Red Hot Poker Torch LilyThe Red Hot Poker also known as the Kniphofia, Tritoma or the Torch Lily grows in clumps that produce tall magnificent bottlebrush spikes in colours of red, orange, white or green or combinations of, most of  these colours can be seen on the one flower, from when the flower starts flowering till the same flower has withered. This particular flowering beauty belongs to  genus in the family Xanthorrhoeaceae, subfamily Asphodeloideae, which includes more than 70 species that originally came from South Africa. The red hot poker is a herbaceous perennial and it’s known to our Australian nectar feeding birds especially the rosellas, honeyeater and wattlebirds that dine on the tall striking flower heads between autumn and spring.

Kniphofia Red Hot Poker Plant Care
With a range of different heights, the most common red hot poker flowers grown in Australia for landscaping are Kniphofia Uvaria, Yellow Hammer, Lime Glow, Percy’s Pride, Caulescens, Ensifolia, James Nottle and Traffic Lights to name a few. From 25 inches tall for the dwarf red hot poker Little Maid a small variety that has spikes of creamy white to one of the tallest hot pokers winter cheer that grows to a height of 180 inches this can only be achieved with a quality well drained humus rich soil, like most plants these will bloom and grow best if they are well watered and given proper care and maintenance. The evergreen pokers are fairly drought tolerant, frost resistant, but not completely hardy against the most extremes of climates that we are use to here in Australia. For easy care low maintenance, buy the tougher hot poker varieties which sport distinctively narrower leaves. You can deadhead the red hot poker flowering stalks after flowering by cutting them back down to the crown and in late autumn primarily you can cut the long leaves by half only to keep your hot pokers neat and tidy. These plants are best planted in spring after the last frost if you are introducing them to your garden.

When do Red Hot Pokers Flower
If you want a border of Kniphofias it is best to use the one variety to sum it up this plant species tend to flower at different times of the year aside from this they always look fabulous displayed in one colour or in cottage style gardens used as a feature or just planted here and there. Best results are achieved planting the tallest hot pokers to the back of the garden and the short varieties to the front. If selecting a few different types of red hot pokers from your local nursery they will flower at different times of the year.

How to Grow Red Hot Poker Seeds
Kniphofia will grow by division or seed to begin with, it is best to grow the seed using seed raising mix around April, keep them watered and fertilised and you should see them ready to be transplanted in time for summer but don’t expect the seedlings to flower till the following year only once the seedlings have matured. Once your plants have really matured you can increase your stock by dividing, this will give you the exact same clone. The downside from germinating red hot poker seeds is they will never be the same as the parent plant, but look on the bright side you could breed something special.

Kniphofia Winter Cheer
Winter Cheer is a striking perennial that flowers every year in the middle of winter when all the plants have been pruned or cut back. The spring bulbs are usually still dormant and not much else is flowering in the garden, cheering up the gloomy dull winter garden with their huge orange red bottle brush flowers this really makes them the focal point of the garden. Winter Cheer can bloom for six weeks depending on the size of the clump, how well the plant has been watered and fertilised.

Planting and Caring for Kniphofia Red Hot Poker Plant
These lovely red hot fire poker plants will grow in part shade but prefer full sun with soil that has excellent drainage, they will not tolerate clay soils especially during the colder months. While transplanting create a hole that is about 20cm deep and 10cm wide. Use a mixture of 50% compost and 50% grit to plant the red hot poker plant in your garden. When planting the poker plants never cover the crown with soil deeper than 3 inches otherwise the hot poker may not flower and could even rot. Because hot poker plants flower at different times of the year it is best to divide poker plants strait after flowering preferably in the cooler months of the year. Keep the mulch away from the crown after you have divided and replanted the plant. Red hot pokers are so easy to grow great for the beginner gardeners because of their low maintenance and very easy to care for, why not grow a Kniphofia Uvaria plant today.

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