Red Hot Poker, Torch Lily, Tritoma
Kniphofia uvaria (L.) Oken is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Kniphofia. It was named and described by Lorenz Oken in Allgemeine Naturgeschichte fur alle Stande in 1841. It was first named and described as Aloe uvaria by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.
The Kniphofia genus was named and described by Conrad Moench in Methodus in 1794. Plants of the World Online lists 70 accepted species in the genus including two infraspecific names (hybrids). The genus belongs to the Asphodelaceae Family with 38 other genera.
Kniphofia uvaria is a native of the Cape provinces in South Africa.
I purchased three Kniphofia uvaria from Wagler’s Greenhouse in June 2017. I had decided to rejuvenate the south bed and plant some different plants I hadn’t grown before. I had wanted to try the Red Hot Poker and they have been on my wishlist for quite some time. I was glad to see Wagler’s had a good selection.
There are three rows of plants in the entire length of the south bed. The taller Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ are along the wall and the middle row is for plants that are supposed to be taller than those on the front row. I put the Kniphofia in the middle row.
The front row has Marigold ‘Red Brocade’ (Tagetes patula), Salvia nemorosa (2 cultivars), Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ (on the far right side of the bed), and Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar). The two Salvia nemorosa cultivars are new this year and I have not grown the Marigolds on the south side of the house before. The Jewels of Opar and Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ have been on the south side of the house since I planted them in 2013. I had them in Mississippi before.
Origin: Cape Provinces in South Africa
Zones: USDA Zones 5a-10b (-20 to 35° F)
Size: 24-36” tall
Light: Full sun
Soil: Average, well-draining soil. Prefers rich soil with organic matter.
Water: Average water needs, drought tolerant once established
Flowers: red and yellow flowers on tall stems in May-June
Concerns: Plants need a winter mulch in USDA Zones 5 and 6. Avoid water settling on the crown and freezing during the winter.
I knew the Celosia could grow at least 7 to 9 feet tall that’s why they are always on the back row. What I was expecting was for the Marigolds to grow so HUGE! They never did this in the other beds. I measured the Marigolds the same day I took the above photo and most every plant was 32″ tall x 36″ wide. They nearly hid the Kniphofia so I had to do some trimming.
Apparently, the Kniphofia uvaria did not survive the winter. Maybe I will find more plantsin the spring of 2018 and give them another shot.
There are many Kniphofia hybrids to choose from online or various heights and colors. For entertainment purposes and get your wheels spinning, check out the listings on Plant Delights, Bluestone Perennials, and Brent and Becky’s. There are MANY other very good online sources as well as on Ebay and Amazon. Be sure to check the seller’s ratings and you can also check on Garden Watchdog on Dave’s Garden.
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