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How to grow Kniphofia

Kniphofia (nif-of-e-a)

Commemorating a German professor of medicine, Johann Hieronymus Kniphof, 1704-63 (Liliaceae). Red-hot pokers. These herbaceous perennials from South and East Africa and Madagascar are tolerant of wind, but dislike badly-drained soil. They are often seen in seaside gardens where the milder climate suits them well, as they are not altogether hardy and need protection in the winter in colder districts. There are many good garden hybrids and and varieties of K. uvaria in colours ranging from pure yellow through to reds, some of them being shaded in the spikes. The leaves are strap-shaped.

Species cultivated K. caulescens, 4 feet, buff changing to red, autumn. K. foliosa, 3 feet, yellow tinged with red, late summer. K. galpinii, 2-3 feet, slender plant, orange-red flowers, late autumn. K. macowanii, 2 feet, slender plant, orange-red, late summer. K. nelsonii, 2 feet, bright scarlet tinged orange, autumn. K. northiae, 2 feet, foliage grey-green, flowers yellow at base changing to red up the spikes, October. K. pumila, 4 feet, grey-green foliage, orange-red flowers, to orange-yellow and finally yellowish-green. August. K. uvaria, 4 feet, coral red, late summer. A hardy species from which many hybrids and cultivars have been developed; they include 'Buttercup', 3i feet, yellow; x erecta, 4 feet, orange-scarlet; 'Maid of Orleans', 4 feet, ivory-white; 'Mount Etna', 5 feet, large terra-cotta spikes ; 'Royal Standard', 3 feet, deep gold; 'Yellow Hammer', 3 feet, yellow to orange.

Cultivation Plant in autumn or spring, choosing an ppen sunny position. Divide the clumps in spring as it becomes necessary Kniphofias prefer a rich soil. Propagate by seed, but seedlings will not reach flowering size for about three years and then may not breed true.



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