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Top 5 Methods To Grow Red Hot Poker Plant: Growth & Cultivation Perennial Flowering Plants

Top 5 Methods To Grow Red Hot Poker Plant: Growth & Cultivation Perennial Flowering Plants

Kniphofia (/nphofi/) is a genus of perennial flowering plants belonging to the Asphodelaceae family that was originally described in 1794. Africa is home to many species. Tritoma, red hot poker, torch lily, and poker plant are some of the common names given to this plant.

Adaline Fritz
Last updated: Sep 10, 2021 | Sep 06, 2021

Table of Contents

Kniphofia (/nphofi/) is a genus of perennial flowering plants belonging to the Asphodelaceae family that was originally described in 1794. Africa is home to many species. Tritoma, red hot poker, torch lily, and poker plant are some of the common names given to this plant.

While the Red Hot Poker plant may seem to fit into the Southern California desert, it is really very resilient and requires more water than you would expect. USDA zones 6 through 9 are suitable for Red Hot Pokers. If you can grow Adam's needle (Yucca filamentous) in a chilly climate, you can probably plant Red Hot Poker. Water drainage, on the other hand, is crucial.

While the crown and roots are resilient, they can not tolerate sitting in wet soil, particularly throughout the winter and early spring.

The best way to ensure that your perennial Red Hot Poker returns each spring is to plant it in sandy loam soil or in well-drained raised beds that have been extensively treated with compost.

Aside from the exotic appearance, many gardeners are drawn to red hot poker plants because of their ease of cultivation.

Apart from the crown decaying in wet soil, red hot pokers have minimal disease issues. Deer and rabbits tend to avoid the plants, and they don't seem to be bothered by bug pests.

Red Hot Poker Plant Features

The popular name for kniphofia is red hot poker, which is understandable. In mid-to-late summer, this tough-as-nails perennial produces towering spikes of red, yellow, or bi-colored blooms. The nectar-rich blooms of the red hot poker will attract butterflies and hummingbirds from far and wide.

Red hot poker's lance-shaped leaves provide interest and texture to the garden even when it is not in flower. Red hot poker is evergreen in the northern portion of its range, providing color to your landscape even in the winter. Red hot poker is a rabbit and deer-resistant plant that grows 2 to 3 feet tall. Zones 5–9 are suitable.

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Growth Patterns Of Red Hot Poker

The plants vary in height from 5 feet tall for the 'Royal Standard' to 1 to 2 feet tall for the 'Little Maid.' There are additional color options besides the classic and most popular red hot poker type, which features orange or red blooms that become yellow as they mature. The flowers in 'Springtime' are coral and yellow. The flowers of 'Goldmine' are amber in hue. The blooms of 'Tawny King' are cream and apricot in hue. The blooms of 'Bees Lemon' are yellow and green.

Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees like the blossoms, which are really clusters of tiny tube-shaped blooms. Most types begin flowering in early to mid-summer and continue into the autumn, particularly if spent flowers are deadheaded (removed). The aloe-like leaves contrast well with the long, torch-like stalks with bright blooms at the end. In warmer areas, the leaves stay evergreen, while in colder temperatures, they become deciduous.

Red Hot Poker should be conspicuous in your garden because of its lengthy bloom period and individual blooms that may endure up to 18 days. To show off the bright blooms, plant red hot pokers in front of an evergreen hedge or along the edge of an evergreen tree. Instead of one solitary plant, put them in clumps for a more dramatic impact. Red Hot Pokers may also be planted near a pond or wetland region, as long as the soil is well-drained.

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Companion Plants For Red Hot Poker

As a companion, plant other perennials that do well in full sun and well-drained soil. Combine Red Hot Pokers, salvia, echinacea, rudbeckia, and artemisia in the middle of the summer. Plan to have Russian sage, Joe-Pye weed, and Verbena bonariensis flowering near you while your Red Hot Poker continues to flower later in the summer and autumn, for a spectacular, multicolored impact. The blue and purple blooms, in particular, stand out against the Red Hot Pokers' typical colors of yellow, orange, and red.

Fall color partners include asters and sedums, as well as dahlias and cannas. Consider dahlia and canna types that will compliment the color of your Red Hot Poker plant's blooms and leaves. Red Hot Pokers and decorative grass are also a winning combination. Although both plants have a grassy appearance, the flowers and grass seed heads contrast wonderfully, giving color and architecture to the landscape.

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Method To Grow Red Hot Poker Plant

Deadheading will promote profuse blooming in this repeat-bloomer. The blooms at the bottom of the flower stalk are the first to dry out and fade, becoming a light brown color. The fading continues up the remainder of the stalk until it reaches the top bloom, which is the last to fade.

If you reside anywhere on the cooler end of the growth range, mulch your plants for winter protection and cut back the leaves in the spring. The leaves will provide some additional insulation from the cold. You may also tie the leaves together to form a protective cover for the plant's crown (otherwise, removing a few undesirable leaves here and there during the growing season is acceptable). Trim the leaves to a few inches above the ground in the spring before the growing season to give the plant a new start for the growing season ahead.

Rhizomes distribute red hot pokers, which ultimately form clusters that may become overcrowded. To avoid overpopulation, split them in the spring, but remove offsets from the border of clusters rather than separating them along the center. The rhizome structure of the plant may be damaged by division, particularly in mature clumps.


For the finest flowers, place your red-hot poker plants in full sun. They can handle moderate shade and, in hotter areas, may benefit from midday shade.


Soil These plants need well-draining soil. They are strong perennials in general, but one of the few things that can kill them is inadequate drainage. In the winter, damp soil is especially troublesome since it encourages root rot. 


Once planted, water Kniphofia only needs a small amount of water. After planting, water regularly, then less frequently in the following seasons.


Plants in good soil don't usually need to be fed. To encourage flowers, feed them with a slow-release fertilizer if the soil is poor.

Humidity And Temperature

Red hot pokers are native to South Africa and are recommended for planting in zones 6 through 9, although they may be hardy as far north as zone 5 with proper drainage and mulch. Cover the tops of the plants with mulch in cold regions to winterize them.

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Varieties Of Red Hot Poker

Kniphofia 'Red Hot Popsicle' is a dwarf variety with red blooms that grows to 2 feet tall (with blossom) and 18 inches wide. It belongs to the 'Popsicle' line of cultivars.

  • Kniphofia 'Pineapple Popsicle' has yellow blooms and is similar to the previous variety.
  • Kniphofia 'Mango Popsicle' has orange blooms and is similar to the previous variants.
  • Kniphofia 'Ice Queen' has lime-yellow to light-yellow blooms (sometimes described as white) and grows to be 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide (with flowers).
  • Kniphofia uvaria: one of the Kniphofia species plants; two-toned blooms with red at the top and yellow at the bottom; grows to be 4 feet tall (with flowers) and 1 foot broad.
  • Kniphofia 'Lady Luck' is a tall cultivar with white blooms that may reach 5 to 5.5 feet tall and 3 to 3.5 feet wide.

Landscape Uses For Red Hot Poker Plants

Edging plants like red hot pokers are an excellent choice. They're eye-catching and bloom for extended periods of time, making them ideal for use as specimen plants. Their drought resistance makes them ideal for rock gardens, but considering their vitality, available space should be taken into account when deciding where to plant them. They also work well in xeriscape designs.

Red hot pokers may be vigorous growth in favorable circumstances due to their rhizomatous nature; in certain cases, they are even called invasive. 2 Hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies love them, but deer aren't so fond of them.

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Pruning Red Hot Poker Plant Flowers

This isn't to say that you shouldn't engage in red hot poker plant pruning. Snipping is acceptable in some circumstances. For example, when the blooms fade, snip them off since regular deadheading keeps the flowers coming, but don't cut down the plants themselves.

Epsom Salts for Plants: What You Need to Know When deadheading, here's how to cut a red hot poker plant. Simply cut off the plant's stem right below a fading bloom using garden scissors or pruners. That is all there is to it.

Cutting Back Of Red Hot Poker Plants After Flowering

The foliage of red hot poker plants is thin and grass-like. Long, brilliant blooms are carried on stalks that soar above the foliage. By late June, the majority of cultivars had begun to bloom, and some continue to bloom until frost. When the blooms fade, should you trim down red hot poker plants? A resounding nay is a response.

At this time, it is not a good idea to prune the leaves of a red hot poker plant. The foliage should be left alone. The leaves will be collecting sunlight at this time in order to produce enough nourishment to sustain the red hot poker plant over the winter. During the growth season, give your plants approximately an inch (2.5 cm) of water each week.

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Adaline Fritz | Adaline's upbeat, can-do attitude and nurturing disposition make her perfect for understanding each client's wants and needs and skillfully directing them toward their real estate objectives. Adaline has experience in all facets of the real estate process, having started in the administrative sector and progressed to operations before achieving success in real estate sales. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from San Diego State University and Western Oregon University, and returned to the Portland area in 2011 to pursue a career in real estate. She also loves traveling, working out, and spending time on the water during Portland's beautiful summers.


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