The bright red, orange and yellow torch-shaped flowers add a theatrical, upright structure to the garden.
Held upright on strong stems, the brilliant flame flowers rise above the mound-like, arching herbaceous foliage.
Red Hot Poker plants are also known as Torch Lilies. Not a true lily, Red Hot Pokers is botanically known as Kniphofia, a genus of approximately 73 species in the Asphodelaceae plant family.
Native to South Africa, Red Hot Pokers are rhizomatous perennials that make a great display in sunny, warm areas of the garden.
Best of all worlds, Red Hot Pokers attract birds, bees and butterflies with abundant nectar while being exceptionally resistant to rabbits and deer.
Long-flowering, drought-tolerant plants can be aggressive and outcompete less aggressive plants.
Some varieties of Red Hot Poker are even considered invasive in some states, including parts of Oregon and California.
A showy specimen or perennial border, most Red Hot Poker plants grow 2 to 4 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet wide.
Red Hot Poker’s long-lasting cut flowers make it a perfect perennial for cut flower gardens.
Hummingbird, bee and butterfly gardens will also buzz with this extravagant nectar producer.
Snapshot of Red Hot Poker
|Common names||Red Hot Poker, Torch Lily, African Flame Flower|
|type of plant||perennial herb|
|indigenous origin||South Africa|
|USDA hardiness zone||5 to 9|
|flower color||Red, orange and yellow|
|flowering period||Early, mid and late summer|
|growth and size||2 to 4 feet tall, 1 to 3 feet wide|
|Appropriate soil and pH||Average, fertile to poor soil. Alkaline to slightly acid pH tolerant|
Plant Care Overview
Planted in the right place, Red Hot Poker plants are easy to grow and maintain.
This South African native likes full sun, but a bit of afternoon shelter is appreciated in very hot places.
As long as the soil drains well, Red Hot Poker will excel in the perennial bed for years to come.
Perennial with rhizome, the planting depth is shallow, leaving the crown of the plant above the ground.
- Area: 5 to 9
- Light: full sun
- Floor: Average to poor, well-drained soil with neutral pH.
- Original habitat: South Africa.
- Temperature and humidity: Relatively dry, warm and temperate conditions.
- Humidity: Water well until established. Tolerates dry to dry conditions once established.
- Interview: Simple.
- Power source: It is rarely needed. In exceptionally poor soil, use a high-phosphorus root and flower fertilizer, such as bone meal, at planting time.
- Size / Headless: After the flowers have finished blooming, cut the flower stalks from the base of the plant to allow the delicate, elegant foliage to show through better.
- Hibernate: In cold weather, it protects the Red Hot Poker crown. Use mulch and/or plant foliage to provide winter protection. In the spring, remove mulch and dead plant matter to make room for that season’s new growth.
Varieties and hybrids.
Proven Winners® is hosting a wacky series of Red Hot Poker, aptly named Pyromania® with exceptionally fun names like ‘Orange Blaze’, ‘Solar Flare’, ‘Backdraft’ and ‘Flashpoint’.
Many Red Hot Poker cultivars have won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit in 2020. Again inspired by spectacular blooms, names include ‘Bees’ Sunset’, ‘Coral Flame’, ‘Fiery Fred’, “Moonstone” and “Royal Standard”. . ‘.
Common varieties of Red Hot Poker available at nurseries, also with inspiring descriptive names, include ‘Echo Rojo Red Hot Poker’, ‘Fire Dance Red Hot Poker’ and ‘Papaya Popsicle’.
How to Spread Red Hot Poker
Grow Red Hot Poker from Seeds or Roots
It is possible to grow Red Hot Poker from collected seeds. However, there are a wide variety of cultivars available. These cultivars may have mixed or uncertain ancestry. This is because they were bred from the wide variety of ornamental species in the genus. For this reason, the seeds may not grow true to the parent plant.
To grow the desired variety of Red Hot Poker, grow seeds of a named variety purchased from a nursery or garden center. Germination would occur in 21 to 28 days at 70° to 75° F.
In addition to seeds, the garden center may have Red Hot Poker bare root available. You can grow them yourself. This saves a considerable amount of time, and is also profitable compared to the purchase of adult perennials.
In spring, plant the rhizome in the ground up to the neck, leaving the crown of the plant exposed. Water as established by the Red Hot Poker factory.
Cultivate Red Hot Poker of the Rhizomatous Roots Division
If you or a friendly gardener have Red Hot Poker plants, it’s a good idea to divide those plants every few years. This refreshes the perennial plant from overcrowding. Just dig up the plant and tickle the roots. Extra roots can be planted in new areas of the garden or given as gifts to other adventurous gardeners.
Save Common Hot Poker Pests and Diseases
Red Hot Poker is generally pest and disease free. Especially when grown in well-drained soil in full sun in zones 5 to 9. Slugs and snails in abundance can be a problem for these plants. If the soil drains poorly, Red Hot Poker is susceptible to root rot.
Complementary plants for Red Hot Poker
Hot Color Scheme Flowers to plant with Red Hot Poker
flower blanket (gaillarde)
An exciting and spectacular plant, Red Hot Poker makes an attractive addition to the flourishing backyard.