Knock-out kniphofias (aka: Red Hot Pokers) are a surefire way to add exciting vertical interest to any garden.
Beginning in mid-spring, slender, snake-like stalks rise from a clump of grass-like foliage (sometimes appearing to grow a few inches a day!)
Then, look out as the flowers begin to put on their show, slowly opening from the bottom and working their way to the top of the ‘torch’.
Last year, I added several ‘Gladness’ kniphofias in my garden, creating a drift of soft orange spires.
In fact, I use spire-shaped flowers as often as I can to inject a bit of energy in a garden bed. Click here to see more of my favorites.
While visiting a client’s garden, I was amazed at the size of these kniphofia uvarias (left.)
One year prior, I planted them from tiny little 1-gallons and now they’re at least 3-feet tall!
I can’t wait until the ‘Iceberg’ roses behind them start to bloom – the contrast of colors and shapes will be fantastic.
I don’t understand why kniphofias aren’t planted in gardens more often.
Maybe they’re not as popular as they should be because people assume they’ll all turn into large and imposing clumps?
In fact, ‘Mango Popsicle’ (left) is a tiny little treasure, topping out at just 18 inches.
And as you can see, below, bees love them almost as much as hummingbirds do.
Or, maybe it’s because people think they’re too tender, have a short bloom time, or bloom only in the spring?
But that’s not the case either!
Kniphofias bloom over the course of several weeks. And varieties such as ‘Bees Sunset’, are hardy down to Zone 5, and even have repeat bloom times.
While most bloom in early summer, there are varieties that bloom in the fall, and even early winter.
Can you imagine seeing fiery blooms like this on a dreary winter day?
And while some sites might say they prefer rich soil, I see them blooming best when totally neglected, like these I found along the roadside in Sonoma.
On top of everything else, they’re very drought tolerant AND deer-resistant, too.
Have I convinced you of their greatness yet?
What are your favorites? I’d love to know about them!