Useful gardening information
Kniphofia, commonly known as red-hot poker or torch lily, is an upright, clump-forming, rhizomatous perennial that is native to South Africa. From an 18-24" tall basal tuft of coarse, linear, sword-shaped, semi-evergreen, bluish-green leaves (to 3' long and 1" wide) arises a succession of thick, naked flower scapes (typically to 3-4' tall) with dense terminal racemes (6-10" long) of drooping, tubular flowers.
Buds and emerging flowers are red but mature to yellow, giving each spike a two-toned appearance. Flowers bloom from late spring to early summer.
Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers rich, humusy soils. Intolerant of wet, heavy soils. Locate in areas protected from wind. Promptly remove spent flower spikes.
Crowns benefit from winter protection in USDA Zones 5 and 6 (mulch or tie leaves together forming a canopy over the crown so as to prevent water from settling on the crown and freezing). Established clumps are best left undisturbed.
Seed starting information: ( please note that instructions are specific to this species and are not on seed packets, please refer back to this page for seed germination instructions )
Kniphofia seeds need a cold-treatment before sowing. Dampen a paper towel, wring out excess moisture and carefully place the flower seeds on the damp towel. Roll up the towel, place it in a ziploc bag and place in refrigerator for 4 weeks.
After the cold-treatment, sow the seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before planting out, using sterile potting mix and peat pots.
Barely cover the seeds with peat moss and keep flower seed moist. Transplant seedlings outdoors when they are about 2 inches tall. In order not to hurt the growing tap root, plant the entire peat pot into the garden.
Or, sow seeds directly outside. If planting outside, add a little bit of compost to ensure good soil drainage.
Sow the seeds in groups of 3 to 4, spaced 18 to 24 inches apart. Thin to the strongest plant.
TRN421 Regal Torch Lily ( Kniphofia caulescens )
Plant Select 2010! Drop dead gorgeous blue-green foliage is garden worthy in its own right, but by late summer the clump is crowned with glowing crimson, golden and ivory torches that create a focal point in the xeric garden.
Needs well drained soil. Grows about 30 inches tall. For Zones 5-9.
2635 Red Hot Poker ( Knipofia Pfizer Hybrids )
Hot poker like flowers in red, orange, yellow, for garden or
cut, blooms all summer. Grows 30 inches tall, hardy to zone
TRN422 Royal Castle Hybrids ( Kniphofia uvaria )
Large bottle brush flower heads in red, yellow, orange, and bicolor, green grasslike foliage, drought tolerant.
Needs well drained soil. Grows about 30 inches tall. For Zones 5-10.
3606 Traffic Light ( Kniphofia hirsuta )
Very compact, strong stem, unusual flowers - red tip over lime green.
Needs well drained soil. Grows about 18 inches tall. For Zones 5-10.
Share a growing tip or recipe and help other gardeners!
Click on the Contact Form link, place "Tip" in the name line and fill in your information. If we accept your Kniphofia growing tip, we will post it on this page.