Growing Red Hot Pokers

Kniphofia come mainly from South Africa, which is home to about 70 species of the plant. Commonly named torch lilies, red hot pokers or poker plants, they’re popular in gardens worldwide. Different types of kniphofia provide color through most of the year and will only abandon the gardener in the depths of winter.

Varying a lot in color, kniphofia can be green, yellow, red or orange. Often, they’re a mixture of two or three colors, the classic red hot poker being a warm red or orange color at the top and a cooler yellow or green below. And no, poker plants have nothing to do with the challenging card game played at 777 casino, for instance. Mind you, in stud or Texas hold ’em poker there is a pot that grows, so there is some similarity between horticulture and gambling. You can turn up at an online casino dressed in your gardening togs, too, since there’s no dress code.

Growing Red Hot Pokers

Large, upright perennials, red hot pokers must be given enough space when planting to accommodate their mature size. These plants like direct sunshine and aren’t too fussy about soil types. They must be planted in an area with good drainage and watered regularly.

You’ll typically buy red hot pokers as transplants in small pots, but they may also be grown from seed. Ideal as showy, ornamental plants, kniphofia are also attract to butterflies, so they’re a good choice in a wildlife garden.

Popular Cultivars

By choosing the right species of kniphofia, you’ll enjoy color in your garden from late spring to late fall. Here are just a handful of the popular choices:

1) Kniphofia ‘Elvira’ blooms between late spring and early fall and produces impressive spikes of bright orange flowers.

2) Kniphofia ‘Jenny Bloom’ is a summer plant with lovely pink-orange flowers that fade to cream.

3) Kniphofia rooperi is one of the most popular red hot pokers, producing spectacular red and yellow flowers in the summer and fall.