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How to Grow Kniphofia Uvaria Red Hot Poker

Red Hot Poker

Red Hot Poker

The Red Hot Poker or Kniphofia Uvaria is a favorite of many gardeners and for good reason. This plant features tall spikes tiped with red and yellow flowers. Actually, each spike end is comprised of many little flowers to form a cone like structure at the end of the stem. What’s great about these is that they grow fast and will give you flowers in it’s first year! Even bare root plants will give you nice flowers after a month or so in the ground. The rest of the plant features grass like foliage so the Red Hot Poker can essentially be used just like an ornamental grass and the colorful flowers will make this an wonderful feature plant in your garden. The flower spikes can measure up to 30″ tall and the foliage can grow about 24″ tall.  As it ages, it gets wider and wider similar to an ornamental grass. I have seen some specimens that about 4′ in diameter so they do need a bit of room.

Growing these is very easy.  Simply grow them in full sun in some well draining garden soil. Mine are growing in the front of the house where they get full sun. To plant them, I simply amended the clay with a humusy garden soil and some cow maneur mixed in.  They should be watered regularly their first month or so. After that, provided that you are not in drought conditions, they do well with just the water provided by mother nature. As I mentioned previously, these grow quite nicely and will take off in their second season.  In general, the red hot poker is not a  fussy plants and can be planted any time though they should be planted in early spring to enjoy same season flowers or fall to enjoy flowers the following season.  These are also quite hardy being able to survive in zones 5-9. They grow absolutely great in zone 7.

If you have not tried or seen these, I highly recommend them. You will not be disappointed by their beautiful colorful flowers and their easy growing nature.  You can get the Red Hot poker at Blooming Bulb quite inexpensively.

Plant Information

Hardiness Zones: 5-9
Sun exposure: Full Sun to Mostly Sunny
Height: about 30″
Width: Varies up to 4′
Bloom time: Summer
Bloom Color: Red with slight yellow
Watering: Average
Soil: Well draining
Availability: Blooming Bulb

1 comment to How to Grow Kniphofia Uvaria Red Hot Poker

  • Cathy

    My red hot pokers stems start the blooming season straight, then snake down and twist around like some kind of rocket gone wild. This year, I put them in a wire support ring when they were about 18″ tall, yet the very next day, two of the stalks bent down and back up again. They have been doing this for several years. We have had plenty of rain this season. They get maybe 4-6 hours of sun. What could be causing this, and is there any remedy?

    Thanks!