The red hot poker plant or torch lily ( Kniphofia uvaria ) is an unusual plant for my garden. I am in love with pastels so the bright “torch” of red and yellow seemed like something I would not like, but I didn’t have one. And so I picked one up at our local Plant Sale in the fall about four years ago. So I have had four springs for growing this plant to decide whether I like it or not. See more of my posts about the Backyard Flower Garden here.
I still can’t decide.
I like the fact that it is something different. Not everyone’s yard has these. I hate to have a plant that everyone else is growing so the fact that it is “different” appeals to me. I have it planted in a small bed filled with some iris and peonies. These are small iris and the peonies aren’t huge bushes anyway, so it seems that the Red Hot Poker Plant is a bit of a bully. And I might say a Big bully.
It has grown from one torch or poker last spring to about a dozen this spring. I kid you not!
Hummingbirds Love My Red Hot Poker Plant
Those hummingbirds love to flock to this plant and it is easy to see why. It is red which attracts them, but also it just oozes with nectar. The nectar drips from the flower openings sometimes running down the stalk of the plant. We tasted it and it is very sweet. Ants love it too. I caught a film of the hummingbird sipping from my Red Hot Poker. I was taking some still images of the garden and all of a sudden, there she was, flitting around the plant. So I got a quick video of her.
Red Hot Poker Plant Statistics:
- Zone 5-9 USA
- Herbaceous perennial ( dies back to the ground and regrows in the spring)
- Height: 30-40 inches
- Spread: 36-48 inches
- Bloom time: May – June
- Full sun, medium water habit, doesn’t like moist soil
Problems with the Plant?
I like the look of the plant overall. It is just lily foliage which usually looks good all the time. The newly sprouted torches are also nice and I am surprised that they have multiplied so well. This was a small plant that fit in a gallon pot and now it has spread and is nudging the peonies and iris. I think it wants to take over.
But the problem is that the “prettiness” of the torches leaves quickly. They start to be extinguished almost immediately and really seem to look tacky to me. Maybe it’s because mine is at the entrance to the garden. Or maybe it is due to the Collision with a Black Walnut tree that occurred as the blooming peaked. I will have to write that post later.
Do you see how straggly it is? I just don’t like that. They all come at once and they are all extinguished at once, it seems. Maybe your plants behave differently, but this is my experience so far. I guess this is normal. I just want a few months with beautiful torches and hummingbird visits. I am not greedy, am I?
Here is a video from my YouTube Channel called Kim’s Gardens. You can see the plant a little more up close and personal. Forgive me for some of the errors in the video. I am struggling with my Sony Vegas still. How am I cutting out parts of my audio? I will keep doing this until I get it right!