Kniphofia uvaria

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Common Name: red-hot poker
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae
Native Range: Southern Africa
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Top flowers red; lower flowers yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought

Culture

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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Kniphofia uvaria, 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.

Common names refer to the purported resemblance of each flower spike to a red hot poker or torch.

Genus name honors Johann Hieronymus Kniphof (1704-1763) German physician and botanist.

Specific epithet means like a bunch of grapes.

Problems

No significant insect or disease problems. Watch for root rot in poorly-drained soils. Thrips may appear in some areas.

Garden Uses

Specimen, small groups or mass in the perennial border. Great for small garden spaces.