How To Grow Red-Hot Poker (Kniphofia Uvaria)

If you are looking for a fantastic addition to your garden, you really can’t go wrong with the red-hot poker plant, otherwise known in the scientific community as a Kniphofia Uvaria.  It is a perennial, which basically means that you need only to plant it once.  Yes, it will live forever unless, of course, you neglect caring for it.  The leaves are somewhat long and pointy similar to a sword and the flowers come in a combination of colors such as red orange or creamy yellow.  If the planting is timed right, it will bloom in spring up till late summer.

  • Start with the seedling.  You can purchase red-hot poker seedlings locally at your garden supply store.  If they have none, you can look online for nurseries that sell this particular plant.  In sites like and, you will find many nurseries and amateur gardeners selling seedlings.  Regardless of where you purchase the seedling, you will need to know how to choose the right seedling.  Basically, you will want your red-hot poker seedling healthy and vibrant with signs of fertility and growth by way of its flower stems and leaves.  The best time to purchase the seedling will be in early spring since this is the optimal time for planting.
  • Prep the soil.  Before fiddling with the soil to create the perfect medium for your plant, you will want to find a nice spot where the sun can hit it full and direct.  Once you find the perfect spot, till the soil to loosen it.  You will want it to drain well by natural aeration.  This means that packing the soil tight is definitely a no-no.  In addition, to fully maximize the plant’s growth potential, you will definitely want to mix in a lot of compost into the soil.  If possible, add some fertilizer to the soil as well.  Once the soil has been prepped, transplant the seedling into the ground.  If you are planting multiple red-hot pokers, you will want to distance them at about 2 to 3 feet from each other.  Red-hot pokers will tend to expand at the roots and grow wide so any competition will hinder maximum growth.  After transplanting, water the soil well.
  • Mulch it.  Adding mulch on top of the soil where the plant is anchored is highly recommended.  It will keep the seedling warm and healthy while helping in water retention.  That said make sure to add about 2 to 3 inches of mulch on top for good measure.  Mulching should be done every spring to ensure a healthy red-hot poker.
  • Water it.  This perennial is not water hungry.  The first week will require you to water the plant every 2 days but after that, you can reduce the frequency to a weekly schedule.  If rainfall is heavy, you can refrain from the activity altogether.

When the flowers and foliage grow old and faded, you will want to trim and prune this to encourage new growth and tougher resilience.  The flowers should be trimmed once it fades and the foliage should be trimmed every early spring.


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