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Red Hot Poker

Kniphofia

Add this can’t-miss perennial to a cottage garden or mixed border for an eye-catching burst of color that is both whimsical and architectural. Red hot poker blooms intermittently from late spring until fall and adds bold texture and color to the scene. Exceptionally easy to grow with a wide hardiness range, red hot poker is a great addition to any full-sun planting spot.

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Light:

Part Sun, Sun

Type:

Height:

3 to 8 feet

Width:

1 to 2 feet wide

Flower Color:

Foliage Color:

Problem Solvers:

Zones:

5-9

Propagation

Poker Partners

Play with shape and texture when choosing planting companions for red hot poker. With red hot poker's bold, upright spikes, a host of mounding plants and perennials with curved leaves and flowers make excellent planting companions. Consider these favorites: purple coneflower, all types of perennial salvia, agave, Russian sage, and sedum.

Red Hot Poker Care Must-Knows

Plant container-grown plants in early spring in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Spread a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch over the plant's root zone to preserve soil moisture and prevent weeds. Water newly planted red hot poker weekly for the first growing season in the garden. Clip spent flower blossoms to promote rebloom. Plants will send up a flush of flower spikes in late spring or early summer and continue blooming through the growing season if spent flowers are removed.

Red hot poker doesn't tolerate division well, but you can divide the plant if you want to create more plants. Divide using a sharp spade to slice through the plant's root system. Transplants should have a large mass of roots and many aboveground stems. Replant all divisions in the spring, and be prepared to wait 2 to 3 years before the transplants bloom.

Grow These New Varieties

'Pineapple Popsicle' dwarf poker, a hummingbird favorite, is a reblooming cultivar with yellow pineapple-colored spikes that bloom all season long. Its grassy foliage grows about 2 feet tall. 'Flamenco' red hot poker has 8-inch spikes of red, orange, and yellow florets on the same stalk and makes a dynamic cut flower. 'Mango Popsicle' dwarf poker has yellow-orange blooms and 12- to 18-inch-tall reed-like foliage. 'Redhot Popsicle' poker is a dwarf plant with foliage growing just 14–16 inches tall and flower spikes standing 20 inches tall.

More Varieties of Red Hot Poker

'Shenandoah' Red Hot Poker

Kniphofia 'Shenandoah' produces thick, leafless stems topped with robust pokers that are yellow below and red on top. These appear in early summer. The deciduous triangular leaves are strap-shaped. Zones 6–9

'Shining Scepter' Red Hot Poker

Kniphofia 'Shining Scepter' blooms in midsummer with tangerine yellow pokers on 3- to 4-foot stems. Zones 6–9

Plant Red Hot Poker With:

Helenium
Long-blooming helenium lights up the late-season garden with showy daisy flowers in brilliant yellows, browns, and mahogany, centered with prominent yellow or brown discs. Many of the best cultivars are hybrids. All are excellent for cutting. Deadhead to extend bloom time, and divide the clumps every couple of years to ensure vigor.
Artemisia
Grow artemisias for the magnificent silver foliage that complements nearly all other perennials and ties together diverse colors within the garden. They're nothing short of stunning next to white or blue flowers. They thrive in hot, dry, sunny conditions such as a south-facing slope. A number spread rapidly to the point of being aggressive, so consider limiting yourself to varieties that are well-behaved.
Salvia
There are hundreds of different types of salvias, commonly called sage, but they all tend to share beautiful, tall flower spikes and attractive, often gray-green leaves. Countless sages (including the herb used in cooking) are available to decorate ornamental gardens, and new selections appear annually. They are valued for their very long season of bloom, right up until frost. Not all are hardy in cold climates, but they are easy to grow as annuals. On square stems, clothed with often-aromatic leaves, sages carry dense or loose spires of tubular flowers in bright blues, violets, yellow, pinks, and red that mix well with other perennials in beds and borders. Provide full sun or very light shade, in well-drained average soil.
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