HOW TO GROW THE RED HOT POKER

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The Red Hot Pokers - Kniphofia species include some of the most exotic flowering plants that you can grow in a northern European garden. Named after Johann Hieronymus Kniphof (an 18th-century German physician and botanist) Kniphofia is a genus containing some 70 species of herbaceous plants.

Native right across the African continent, all kniphofia species produce spikes of upright, brightly colored flowers in shades of red, orange and yellow, although they can often be bicoloured. The flowers produce copious amounts of nectar and are particularly attractive to bees. When grown in central America they can also be used to attract hummingbirds and orioles.

Kniphofia will grow best in full sun and are adaptable to almost any garden soil so long as it is well drained. Be aware that kniphofias will not thrive in wet  or poorly drained soils. Neither will they perform well on richly manured soils. However it is worth applying a light organic fertiliser in the early summer.

Plant kniphofia in September and october or in April making sure that the holes are sufficiently deep to accommodate their spreading roots. Do not allow the plants to dry out while they are establishing themselves. On heavy soils and in cold, wet areas the or bracen during the first year plants will need a 6 inch deep covering of straw or bracken during its first year in order to protect the flesh crowns from frost damage.

In spite of the height of the flower stems kniphofia will not need staking. Remove any dead or dying flower heads as they appear to encourage further flowering. In November or December tie up the remaining leave to protect the crown against excessive moisture.

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How to Grow the Red Hot Poker
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THE SEA HOLLY - Eryngium × Oliverianum
THE LESOTHO RED HOT POKER - Kniphofia caulescens

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