How to Grow Kniphofia Plants

Guide to Growing Red-hot-poker, Torch Lily, Tritoma, and Poker Plant

The genus Kniphofia contains hardy perennials that reach from 60 to 150 cm (2 to 5 feet) in height.

They have grassy leaves, that give rise to long stems with a head of downward facing tubes of flowers.

The flowers are orange, yellow or green and Kniphofia blooms from Summer to Autumn.

Some of the common names for Kniphofia are Torch Lily and Red Hot Poker.

Kniphofia uvaria

Red Hot Pokers
Photographs: Kniphofia uvaria by Jill Clardy and Red Hot Pokers by Zabdiel.

Kniphofia Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Red-hot-poker, Torch Lily, Tritoma, Poker Plant.
Scientific Names: Kniphofia uvaria; Kniphofia caulescens; Kniphofia rooperi; Kniphofia flamenco.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 24 to 60 inches (60 to 150 cm).
Native: Africa.
Growing Region: Zones 5 to 9.

Flowers: Species dependent: Summer and/or Autumn.
Flower Details: Red, orange, yellow, green. Upright. Multicoloured. Clusters. Tubular. Drooping.
Foliage: Strap-like.

Sow Outside: Rhizome: 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm). Spring or Summer. Spacing 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm). Seeds: 1/4 inch. (3 mm) Start of spring - before the last frost, or towards the end of autumn.
Sow Inside: Germination time: one week to one month. Temperature: 70 to 75°F (21 to 24°C). Use peat pots. Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost or in autumn.

Requirements and care: Full sunlight or partial shade in hot areas. Good drainage. Soil pH 6.0 to 7.0.  Deep soil, rich soil, moist soil. Plenty of water at the start of the growing season in the spring. Cut back flower stems to the ground in autumn. Propagate: by dividing established plants (older than four years) in the spring. May not grow true from seed.
Miscellaneous: As many species produce large amounts of nectar they are attractive to birds, such as Hummingbirds and Orioles.

How to Grow Torch Lily and other Kniphofia Plants

Torch Lily and other Kniphofia can be grown either from seeds or Rhizomes.

The seed should be sown at a depth of 6 mm (1/4 inch) before the last frost of spring. The rhizomes should be planted about 6 to 7 cm (2.5 inches) deep, in either spring or autumn.

They prefer to grow in sunny parts of the garden but may require partial shade in very hot areas.

Torch lilies should be grown in a soil that is rich and deep. Ideally the pH should be 6 to 7.5.

If you prefer to start torch lilies off inside, then they should be prepared about 6 to 7 weeks before they are due to be planted out. Either in the autumn or after the last frost of spring.

Torch lilies take from one to four weeks to germinate at a temperature of 21 to 23 degrees Centigrade (70 to 73°F).

Caring for Torch Lily and other Kniphofia plants

Although Kniphofia are pretty easy to look after, it is important not to disturb them to often.

If you require more plants then they can be divided in the spring time, but do not do this more often than every 5 years.

While growing, torch lilies should be watered regularly until the buds have set. Following flowering the stems should be cut back to their base.

Common Questions

How many members does the Kniphofia plant genus have?

The Kniphofia genus comprises around 70 species. These are commonly known as Red hot pokers or Torch lilies due to their distinctive, fiery flower spikes.

Do members of Kniphofia make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Kniphofia plants make excellent garden or landscaping plants. Their unique flowers make for a striking addition to any landscape.

Which Kniphofia species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Kniphofia uvaria (Red Hot Poker) is the most frequently grown species. It has vibrant, red and yellow flower spikes.

Are members of the Kniphofia plant genus fragrant?

While some Kniphofia species have a mild scent, they are primarily grown for their stunning, torch-like flower spikes.

What is the perfect location to grow Kniphofia?

Kniphofia prefers a sunny location with a well-drained soil. They are great for borders or as a focal point in the garden.

Is Kniphofia invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Presently, Kniphofia is not listed as an invasive species in the USA.

How do I remove Kniphofia plants from my garden?

To remove Kniphofia, dig up the entire clump, ensuring to remove all of the root system to prevent it from regrowing.


The Kniphofia genus is part of the Asphodelaceae family. It includes perennial plants native to Africa. Known for their bright, torch-like flower spikes, these plants are often used in borders.

Kniphofia plants enjoy full sun and well-drained soil. Regular watering is necessary, especially during dry periods. Propagation is typically done through division in the spring or fall.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Kniphofia plants. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Taxus baccata, Agastache plant, and Rosmarinus plants.