Kniphofia praecox

Botanical Name: Kniphofia praecox Baker

Common Name:          Red Hot Poker

Plant Family:               Asphodelaceae

Origin:                            Southern Africa

References:                   Joffe p.259, Pienaar 1 p.62, Sheat and Schofield p. 184, 240.


Description:  Forms large clumps of strap shaped leaves with stunning poker shaped heads of bright orange flowers.

Features of Particular Interest:  Poker shaped bright orange flowers carried on tall (about 1.5m) spikes becoming yellow as they open. Flowers in winter.

Height and Spread:  Individual plants up to 0.5m x 0.4m.

Periods of Interest:

Leaf:  All year round.

Flowering:  April to August.


Soil and Moisture:  Requires compost enriched soil, and plenty of water. New seedlings must be kept moist at all times. Its natural habitat is marshy places.

Aspect:  Requires full sun.

Hardiness:  Frost hardy.

Maintenance and Pruning:  Do not move unless absolutely necessary or flowering will be affected. Older clumps should only divided when flowering deteriorates. Lift clumps and divide with spade, discard older portions and replant younger rhizomes.

Propagation:  Best by division (see above); also from seed in spring to autumn, planting out seedlings when 5 – 6 months old.

Problems and Drawbacks:  Tends to spread.

Use and Associated Planting:  Looks attractive next to natural water feature, or in mixed shrub border. Plant in bold clumps grouped with Agapanthus. Ideal to edge driveways and for the wild garden or marsh gardens.

Notes:  Attracts sunbirds and insects. Regarded as most widely distributed species in nature.