Kniphofia caulescens

Kniphofia caulescens
Kniphofia caulescens 
torch lily, red hot poker
SIZE/TYPE mid-sized perennial
USUAL HEIGHT 0.6-1m
USUAL WIDTH 0.4-0.6m
LEAVES semi-deciduous broadleaf
COLOUR OF LEAVES blue-green
FLOWERS showy
COLOUR OF FLOWERS kombinovaná:yellow a red
BLOOMING TIME July
LOCATION full sun
USDA zone (lowest) 6   (down to -23°C)
WINTER PROTECTION  
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Perennials
Summer blooms
Exotics
Rarities
náhled fotonáhled fotonáhled foto

This torch lily originates in South Africa (Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Lesotho) where it grows in moist or even marshy areas because it is quite thirsty. In its home frost-free environment it is an evergreen perennial with semi-woody base (just like yucca), but it can be cultivated down to zone 6 where it is deciduous or semi-evergreen. It is a rhizomatous perennial forming compact colonies and self-seeding in hot climates.

In midsummer rise almost a meter tall, particularly thick stems (leek is a popular nickname) with massive spike-like inflorescence (botanically it is an upright raceme). It is composed of numerous, soft scarlet red funnels which open from the bottom upwards, and as they open, they turn bright yellow with protruding stamens providing a fascinating bicolour effect.

Other varieties of torch lily can easily be mixed up but you won’t confuse this one. Its massive foliage is the tell even before flowering time. The leaves are 5-7 cm wide, almost one meter long and bending in half, and significantly glaucous (blue green). In warm climates they are evergreen, and in areas on the border of its hardiness they benefit from tying up before winter, to form a canopy over the crown protecting it from excess moisture and deep frost. Release them again in spring and cut back all bad or unsightly leaves leaving about 10 cm above the crown.

Torch lily needs a location in full sun and humus-rich, moist but well drained soil. Feeding is not necessary, but a good phosphorus-based fertilizer will enhance production of new flower buds and the clump will grow faster and stronger. Just beware of slugs that can severely damage flowers buds, especially as they are borne at the ground level, but they also often climb the stems at night to feast on the unopened buds at the very top. In spring after all frosts remove old and dry leaves from the bottom of the plant. It is hardy to about -25°C if mulched well. Further crown protection is required in frost-prone areas as written above.

Last update 30-08-2020
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Kniphofia caulescens
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GLOSSARY
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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