Kniphofia hirsuta 'Fire Dance'
Common Name: red-hot poker 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asphodelaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 1.50 to 1.75 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 1.75 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Orange and yellow bicolor
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Best grown in evenly moist, well-draining soils in full sun. Hardy in Zones 7-9. Possibly hardy to Zone 6. This species of red-hot poker is one of the most cold hardy due to the relatively high altitude of its native range.

'Fire Dance' is more cold hardy than the species, and will survive in Zone 4. A winter mulch is recommended in the colder parts of its hardiness range. Wet winter soils will also prove fatal to this plant, so well-draining soil should be provided. Tolerant of some drought and drier soils once established. Deadhead to encourage reblooming.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Kniphofia hirsuta, commonly known as red-hot poker or hairy red-hot poker, is a low-growing, compact species native to the Southern Drakensberg region of South Africa and Lesotho where it is found on exposed, grassy slopes at altitudes between 8,000-9,000'. The stiff foliage (up to 2' long and 1" wide) is narrow and lance-shaped with a prominent center fold and fine hairs on both the upper and lower surfaces. Flowering stalks (up to 2' tall) emerge in early summer from the center of foliage clumps, topped with a dense, cone-shaped cluster of tubular blooms. The unopened buds are a muted orange color and mature to a light yellow-green as they open. Plants are typically solitary but may form small colonies from offshoots. Attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and other insect pollinators.

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

The specific epithet hirsuta means "hairy" in reference to the fine hairs on the foliage of this species.

'Fire Dance' is a compact, floriferous and showy selection of Kniphofia hirsuta. This plant will form dense clumps of basal foliage that will reach up to 20" wide. The flower stalks (up to 20" tall) typically appear from early through late summer, and are topped with orange and yellow bicolor clusters of tubular flowers. The blooms make excellent cut flowers, and are highly attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and other insect pollinators.


No major pest or disease problems. Root rot can occur if soils are too heavy and wet. Deer and rabbits tend to avoid this plant.


'Fire Dance' is a compact selection and well suited to smaller spaces. A unique specimen for the front of a mixed border, rock garden, or container planting.