- Author: Karen Metz
I have long been a fan of Hot Poker, Kniphofia uvaria. I love their tall, dramatic structural presence in the garden. They are low maintenance, as well, which is a huge plus.
Because of their height, three to six feet tall, they are generally planted towards the back of the garden bed. Recently, some new hybrids are coming in at about 2 feet which allows a little more flexibility. Hybridization has also increased the color choices beyond the standard orangey-red. Now you can choose from yellow, or salmon, or peach colors.
Hot Pokers require sun and well-drained soil. They are hardy from USDA Zones 5-9. The experts disagree about their water needs; some stating regular water and others saying they are drought tolerant. I've grown mine with a mini-sprinkler 10 minutes three times a week. And they made it through the drought years. They attract hummingbirds and are deer resistant. They can be propagated by division or seed.
I was surprised to see their names pop up recently on a list of plants that did better with dead-heading (cutting off fading blossoms to spur further flowering). Somehow that had never occurred to me. Okay, I could do that. Next, I saw them on a list of plants that were good for cut flowers. What? So, I went out and cut some and put them in a vase. Up close, I could appreciate the delicate beauty of each tubular flower and watch as the bloom spike opened from the bottom up over a few days. Enchanting!