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Growing Guide: How to Grow Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia)

Growing Guide: How to Grow Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia)

Red Hot Poker is also known by its scientific name, Kniphofia and also given the nickname, Torch Lily. A beautiful and radiant plant that can add life and colour to your summer garden. It's easy to grow, so if you're looking for a way to brighten up your landscape but don't have much experience with gardening or plants in general, this may be the perfect option for you!

Kniphofias are native to South Africa. They have a preference for full sun, although they can tolerate some light shade, especially in hot climates. If you want to grow red hot poker for flowers, you can plant them in spring. They grow best in moist but well-draining soils, but once established they can tolerate many types of soils.

Find out how to grow the popular perennials, Red Hot Pokers here!

Select a Suitable Location:

  • Red hot pokers thrive in full sun, so choose a spot in your garden that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily.
  • Ensure the soil is well-drained, as red hot pokers prefer moderately fertile, slightly acidic to neutral soil.

Prepare the Soil:

  • Before planting, amend the soil with organic matter like compost to improve drainage and fertility.
  • If the soil is heavy and poorly drained, consider adding sand or perlite to enhance drainage.

Planting Red Hot Poker:

  • Red hot pokers are usually propagated through dividing their roots. Start by obtaining a healthy, established plant.
  • Dig a hole that is slightly larger than the root ball of the plant.
  • Place the plant in the hole, ensuring that the crown (where the roots meet the leaves) is level with the soil surface.
  • Backfill the hole with soil, gently firming it around the plant.
  • Space multiple red hot pokers at least 18 inches apart to allow for their mature size.

Watering & Moisture:

  • Water newly planted red hot pokers thoroughly and regularly until they become established.
  • Once established, red hot pokers are fairly drought-tolerant. Water them deeply but infrequently, allowing the top inch or two of soil to dry between waterings.
  • Avoid overwatering or allowing the soil to become waterlogged, as it can cause root rot.

Mulching & Weed Control

  • Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
  • Keep the mulch a few inches away from the crown of the plant to prevent excess moisture accumulation and potential rot.


  • Red hot pokers generally do not require excessive fertilisation. However, you can apply a balanced, slow-release fertiliser in early spring to promote healthy growth.
  • Avoid high-nitrogen fertilisers, as they may encourage lush foliage growth at the expense of flowers.

Maintenance & Pruning:

  • Remove spent flower spikes to encourage additional blooms and maintain a tidy appearance.
  • In late winter or early spring, remove any damaged or dead leaves from the base of the plant.
  • Every few years, divide the clumps of red hot pokers to prevent overcrowding and maintain their vigour

Winter Care:

  • Red hot pokers are generally hardy plants. However, in colder regions, they may benefit from winter protection.
  • Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant in late fall to insulate the roots and protect them from freezing temperatures.

By following these guidelines, you can successfully grow red hot pokers and enjoy their stunning blooms in your garden. Remember to observe the specific care requirements of the particular Kniphofia variety you have, as they may have slight variations in their preferences.

How to Grow Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia)

Meet Ben, our Flower Bulb Specialist
Meet Ben, our Flower Bulb Specialist

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