My neighbour’s kniphofia


Kniphofia, otherwise known as Red hot poker, is not a plant that I’m usually drawn to. I’ve often seen it looking rather forlorn, a tatty garden plant that looks out of place and uncomfortable in its surroundings. But one of my nearby neighbours has planted them along her south-facing verge and they’re thriving. I think this is K. rooperi but it might be K. uvaria; I’m not familiar with the varieties.

Hailing from the Eastern Cape of South Africa, Kniphofias are tough, hardy evergreen or herbaceous perennials. They like a sunny site, well-drained, fertile soil, and will cope with dry areas such as the base of a hedge, as here. The RHS website says they prefer acid to neutral soil, but the soil here is alkaline and they don’t seem to mind.

They flower from late summer to winter – I remember these flowering well into deep winter last year; it was extremely mild. I love they way they glow in the autumn sunshine and look, well, rather magnificent. I might have to change my mind about them.

(The photos were taken with my phone and don’t bear close inspection.)


19 thoughts on “My neighbour’s kniphofia

  1. Thanks Sam, They are looking good at the moment! That’s only because I had a really good snail and slug removal recently! It is quite therapeutic picking these slimy or crunchy creatures out by the handful on a damp evening. Or maybe it is because it has been dry for a while. Either way they can eat through all the flowers very quickly given half a chance. The red hot pokers are growing on builders ruble and chalk – there is practically no top soil there at all. But they appear to thrive – somehow!


      1. I agree, I think it’s hard to site them where they look ‘at home/right’ and, unlike your neighbour, I’ve not got a good spot for them here. Often, they seem to have been plonked into a border and so stick out like sore thumbs. Maybe the more subtle yellow/pale ones are easier to accommodate in UK gardens?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We had them in the garden when I was little and the sparrows absolutely loved them. They always look quite tropical don’t they. It’s always good to see a plant that’s really thriving and happy in its situation. CJ xx


  3. I just can’t. But your photos (and your neighbour’s garden) make as convincing a case as I’ve seen pled. . . They just always looks so aggressive to me, phallic, truth be told. . . but they do provide a splash of colour, and massing them downplays their pushy individual shapes.


    1. Ha ha, your comment made me laugh. I’ve always thought of them as rather vulgar plants but I think they do look great in this situation. I don’t want any in our garden; David really likes them, though, so I may have to compromise. We’ll see…


  4. That’s a wonderful display. I have never grown this variety in the garden. We did grow a variety which were yellow and called Little Maid in our previous garden that we used to love. Sarah x

    Liked by 1 person

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