Red Hot Poker Plant – Over the years Red Hot Poker plant (also known as Torch lily) has changed its latin name from Tritoma to Kniphofia, and the hybridists have also extended its color range. A word of caution – you can buy a Red Hot Poker and it may be all-red, yellow or even white, so choose with care if you want the traditional red-tipped variety. Whatever the flower color, all produce clumps of grass-like foliage and spikes bearing long tubular flowers.
Mulch in late spring and water in dry weather. Cold winters can be a problem. Flowers develop during the summer and last for weeks. In fall remove the flower spikes, tie the leaves together and cover with peat. Red Hot Poker plant will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle in spring.
Red Hot Poker varieties
The popular choice is a variety or hybrid of K. uvaria – height 2½ to 5 ft, spacing 3 ft, flowering period July – September. For a ‘true’ poker – red or orange at the top and yellow at the base, choose ‘Royal Standard‘, ‘The Rocket’, ‘Springtime’ or ‘H.C. Mills’.
For single colors, pick ‘Alcazar‘ (orange), ‘Maid of Orleans‘ (white) or ‘Bees Lemon‘ (yellow). The giant is ‘Samuel’s Sensation’ (5-6 ft, red color). There is a dainty orange dwarf – K. galpinii.
Kniphofia ‘Bees Lemon’
Site and soil
Any well-drained garden soil will do – thrives best in full sun. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available. Red Hot Poker plant will not survive in soils that are water logged.
Divide overcrowded clumps in spring.
A favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies, this unusual plant is easy to grow, even for beginners.
Kniphofia Lemon Popsicle