My neighbour’s kniphofia

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Kniphofia, otherwise known as Red hot poker, is not a plant that I’m usually drawn to. I’ve often seen it looking rather forlorn, a tatty garden plant that looks out of place and uncomfortable in its surroundings. But one of my nearby neighbours has planted them along her south-facing verge and they’re thriving. I think this is K. rooperi but it might be K. uvaria; I’m not familiar with the varieties.

Hailing from the Eastern Cape of South Africa, Kniphofias are tough, hardy evergreen or herbaceous perennials. They like a sunny site, well-drained, fertile soil, and will cope with dry areas such as the base of a hedge, as here. The RHS website says they prefer acid to neutral soil, but the soil here is alkaline and they don’t seem to mind.

They flower from late summer to winter – I remember these flowering well into deep winter last year; it was extremely mild. I love they way they glow in the autumn sunshine and look, well, rather magnificent. I might have to change my mind about them.

(The photos were taken with my phone and don’t bear close inspection.)

 

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19 thoughts on “My neighbour’s kniphofia

  1. Thanks Sam, They are looking good at the moment! That’s only because I had a really good snail and slug removal recently! It is quite therapeutic picking these slimy or crunchy creatures out by the handful on a damp evening. Or maybe it is because it has been dry for a while. Either way they can eat through all the flowers very quickly given half a chance. The red hot pokers are growing on builders ruble and chalk – there is practically no top soil there at all. But they appear to thrive – somehow!

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      1. I agree, I think it’s hard to site them where they look ‘at home/right’ and, unlike your neighbour, I’ve not got a good spot for them here. Often, they seem to have been plonked into a border and so stick out like sore thumbs. Maybe the more subtle yellow/pale ones are easier to accommodate in UK gardens?

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  2. We had them in the garden when I was little and the sparrows absolutely loved them. They always look quite tropical don’t they. It’s always good to see a plant that’s really thriving and happy in its situation. CJ xx

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  3. I just can’t. But your photos (and your neighbour’s garden) make as convincing a case as I’ve seen pled. . . They just always looks so aggressive to me, phallic, truth be told. . . but they do provide a splash of colour, and massing them downplays their pushy individual shapes.

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    1. Ha ha, your comment made me laugh. I’ve always thought of them as rather vulgar plants but I think they do look great in this situation. I don’t want any in our garden; David really likes them, though, so I may have to compromise. We’ll see…

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  4. That’s a wonderful display. I have never grown this variety in the garden. We did grow a variety which were yellow and called Little Maid in our previous garden that we used to love. Sarah x

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