Kniphofia brachystachya

Common Name: red-hot poker 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asphodelaceae
Native Range: South Africa
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.75 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Yellow and dark brown
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Tolerate: Deer, Drought


Best grown in moist but well-draining soils in full sun. Tolerant of some drought once established. Hardy in Zones 7-9. This plant is known to set seed and can also be propagated by division.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Kniphofia brachystachya is a species of red-hot poker native to Lesotho and eastern South Africa where it is found growing in moist, mountainous grasslands. Plants can reach 12-20" tall (flowering stalks reaching 25-30" tall) and will spread slowly to fill a 2' area. The upright foliage is narrow and grass-like. In summer, conical to cylindrical clusters of small flowers emerge atop green scapes. The unopened buds at the top of the clusters are yellow, and the blooms turn a dark chocolate-brown as they open and mature. This creates a showy, bicolor appearance. The blooms are also lightly fragrant, and can be used in cut flower arrangements. Attractive to hummingbirds.

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

The specific epithet brachystachya comes from the Greek and means "short spike", in reference to the height of the flowering stalks compared to other species of Kniphofia.


No known pest or disease problems. Deer tend to avoid this plant.


Mixed perennial border fronts (where the unique blooms can be appreciated). Rock gardens, alpine gardens, cutting gardens.