Kniphofia – Red-hot Poker – Torch Lily – Tritoma – Torch Flower –
There are about 70 species of evergreen or deciduous, rhizomatous perennial in this genus. Found from mountainous or upland areas, often in moist places in rough grass or along stream sides, in Southern and Eastern tropical Africa. Most are clump forming, with arching, tufted, linear to strap shaped, light to mid green or blue green leaves. In deciduous species and hybrids, these leaves are usually thin, grass like, and 4-39” long, in evergreens, they are broader, keeled or strap shaped, and to 5’ feet long. Erect, usually dense, spike race3mes, 2-16” long, of numerous pendent, occasionally erect, tubular or cylindrical flowers, 1/8-2” long, are borne well above the foliage. They are red, orange, yellow, white, or greenish white, some open red, then turn to yellow, making 2 colored racemes. Numerous cultivars have been raised, ranging in size from dwarf plants, 20” tall, to tall plants, to 6’ feet high. Grow in a herbaceous border. They tolerates coastal conditions.
Grow in deep, fertile, humus rich, moist but well drained preferably sandy soil, in full sun or partial shade. Mulch young plants with straw or leave for the first winter. Divide established clumps in late spring. From spring onwards fertilize monthly.
Prone to Stem rot, crown rot, and thrips may cause mottling
K. thompsonii var. snowmen – K. snowmen of gardens – This gently spreading, deciduous, rhizomatous perennial from Uganda and Kenya grows 3’ feet tall and 18” wide. It produces tufts of upright, linear leaves, to 24” long. From midsummer to late autumn it bears a succession of open racemes of few, curved yellowish orange or coral pink flowers, to 1 ½” long.