Kniphofia

Torch Lily in Early Spring by Abe K

A reader wanted TheGardenLady to identify a flower that she liked. It is an Kniphofia (the k is silent) and people seem to pronounce the name in a few different ways as you will hear when you watch this video.

It also has a number of common names including Tritoma, Red hot poker, Torch lily or Poker plant.  See here.

This African native plant is named after Johann Hieronymus Kniphof, an 18th century German physician and botanist.  TheGardenLady also liked this unusual flower and has three clumps in her garden. Two have the orange band around the flower and one is a greenish white- though I prefer the more orange-colored flowers.  There are 70 species of evergreen or deciduous Kniphofia. Most are clump-forming. They are attractive to butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

Kniphofia seem to be a very easy flower to raise.  (see here)  They grow in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 10. In cooler areas of zone 5, however, the plants may require some winter protection. They like deep, fertile humus rich, moist but well-drained, preferably normal or sandy soil, in full sun or partial shade.  Those in full sun have more flowering.   They bloom early through late summer as they send up more stems of flowers. They tolerate drought, heat and humidity. They have few pests but may be affected by crown rot or thrips. Mulch young plants with straw or leaves for the first winter. To see all the different varieties, look them up in the A-Z encyclopedia of Garden Plants, which your local library should have in their reference room if not in their lending library.

Kniphoria can be purchased online in many nurseries like Wayside Gardens (see here or here). This last website gives planting instructions. Or you can buy the plants at many of the better nurseries in your area if you live in temperature zones where it is hardy.

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