Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia uvaria)
Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia uvaria) is a perennial flower that is native to South Africa. The genus name honors German physician and botanist Johann Hieronymus Kniphof (1704-1763). The showy two-tone flower spike blooms of this sun loving species are well known for attracting bees, butterflies, as well as hummingbirds! Red Hot Poker is super easy to grow and is great when used as a perennial border.
Also Known As: Torch Lily and Poker Plant.
Native Range: South Africa
Grown as: Perennial
Maturity (Blooms): May to June
Hardiness: Tender. Crowns benefit from winter protection in USDA Zones 5 and 6 (mulch or tie leaves together forming a canopy over the crown so as to prevent water from settling on the crown and freezing).
Light: Full sun.
Water: Low to Medium.
Soil Moisture: Medium moisture, well-drained.
Suitability: Prefers rich, humusy soils. Intolerant of wet, heavy soils. Locate in areas protected from wind. Resistant to deer and also tolerates drought and rabbits.
Attracts Beneficial Insects?: Yes. Attracts bees, butterflies, and Hummingbirds.
Sow Depth: On soil surface
USDA Zone: 5-9
Produces: an upright, clump-forming, rhizomatous perennial that is native to South Africa. From an 18-24" tall basal tuft of coarse, linear, sword-shaped, semi-evergreen, bluish-green leaves (to 3' long and 1" wide) arises a succession of thick, naked flower scapes (typically to 3-4' tall) with dense terminal racemes (6-10" long) of drooping, tubular flowers. Buds and emerging flowers are red but mature to yellow, giving each spike a two-toned appearance. Flowers bloom from late spring to early summer.
Garden Uses: Specimen, small groups or mass in the perennial border. Great for small garden spaces.
In late fall, you will need to cut the foliage off your plant at the base and remove all the spent flower spikes.
The crowns of Red Hot Poker will need winter protection in USDA Zones 5 and 6. Add 2-3" of mulch over the crown to retain water during hot temps and to prevent water from settling and freezing on the crown at the end of fall. Be sure not to disturb any established clumps.
To attract Big-eyed Bugs to your garden you will need to grow: Caraway (Carum carvi), Cosmos “white sensation” (Cosmos bipinnatus), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Peter Pan Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), and Marigold “lemon gem” (Tagetes tenuifolia).
Hoverflies: Preys on Aphids, Scale insects, Caterpillars, and Thrips.
To attract Hoverflies to your garden you will need to grow: Fern-leaf yarrow (Achillea ﬁlipendulina), Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Carpet bugleweed (Ajuga reptans), Lavender globe lily (Allium tanguticum), Basket of Gold (Alyssum saxatilis), Dill (Anethum graveolens), Golden Marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria), Dwarf alpine aster (Aster alpinus), Masterwort (Astrantia major), Four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), Purple poppy mallow (Callirhoe involucrata), Caraway (Carum carvi), Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium), Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), Cosmos white sensation (Cosmos bipinnatus), Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota), Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum CA), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Poached egg plant (Limnanthes douglasii), Statice (Limonium latifolium), Butter and eggs (Linaria vulgaris), Edging lobelia (Lobelia erinus), Sweet alyssum white (Lobularia maritima), Lemon Balm (Melissa ofﬁcinalis), Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Wild Bergamot (Monarda ﬁstulosa), Rocky Mountain penstemon (Penstemon strictus), Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), Sulfur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta ‘warrenii’), Alpine cinquefoil (Potentilla villosa), Gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia fulgida), Orange stonecrop (Sedum kamtschaticum), Stonecrops (Sedum spurium), Peter Pan goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), Wood betony (Stachys ofﬁcinalis), Marigold “lemon gem” (Tagetes tenuifolia), Crimson thyme (Thymus serpylum coccineus), Spike speedwell (Veronica spicata), Zinnia "liliput" (Zinnia elegans).
Minute Pirate Bugs: Prey on Spider Mites, Cabbage Looper, Insect Eggs, Caterpillars, Aphids, and Thrips.
To attract Minute Pirate Bugs to your garden you will need to grow: Caraway (Carum carvi), Cosmos “white sensation” (Cosmos bipinnatus), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Peter Pan Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), and Marigold “lemon gem” (Tagetes tenuifolia).
Royal Carpet Sweet Alyssum is a cool weather mat-forming annual flower that is native to the Mediterranean region but can be commonly found growing on sandy beaches and dunes throughout the western, eastern, and southern United States. At maturity, this plant features spreading mounds of well-branched stems full of tiny, purple, 4 petaled flowers that smell like warm honey on a cold day! This plant can be grown in a container or hanging basket, attracts bees, butterflies, tolerates drought, it is edible and even has medicinal, properties!
Powder Puff China Aster is a cool weather fall blooming annual flower that is native to China. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 2' and features serrated, 2-3” pointed leaves and fragrant 4-6” full, double blossoms in varying shades of pink, white, red, and purple-blue with pale yellow centers. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts bees, birds, lacewings, hoverflies, and praying mantis, is deer resistant, self sows, and is great as a cut flower!
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Balm: Lemon (Melissa officinalis)
Wild Bergamot is a native perennial clump forming flower that is naturally found growing in dry rocky woods and dry prairies all across the United States. At maturity this plant reaches a height of 2-3' and features a square like stem, aromatic greenish gray leaves, and globular clusters of two-lipped lavender flowers. This plant is best known for its ability to attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, but it also is both edible and medicinal, can be used as a cut flower, is drought tolerant, is used to flavor perfumes, make insect repellents and essential oils, is resistant to deer, and self sows!
Caraway (Carum carvi)
Coriander: Leisure (Coriandrum sativum)
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