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Greater Red-hot Poker

Kniphofia x praecox

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asphodelaceae (Asphodel)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Cliffs, gardens, grassland, meadows, mountains, rocky places, sand dunes, sea cliffs, seaside, wasteland, woodland.

Red, 6 petals
A vibrantly-coloured, erect and dense terminal flower spike. The pendulous and tubular, showy flowers are red to begin with and then later turn yellow. Similar to Common Red-hot Poker (Kniphofia uvaria) but with stamens protruding upwards to about 1.5cm tall. Common Red-hot Poker stamens barely protrude at all.
The fruit is not particularly conspicuous, as the plant is primarily cultivated for its striking floral display. After the flowering period, it may produce seed capsules containing small seeds. These capsules are typically inconspicuous and do not contribute significantly to the plant's ornamental appeal. Gardeners may choose to deadhead the spent flowers to encourage prolonged blooming and prevent the formation of seed capsules, redirecting the plant's energy towards its vibrant floral spikes.
The keeled leaves are long, slender and sword-like in appearance. The leaf tips of the similar looking Common Red-hot Poker are quite blunt. The Greater Red-hot Poker has sharply pointed leaf tips. Common Red-hot Poker is also shorter in height than the Greater Red-hot Poker. Evergreen garden escape species.
Kniphofia x praecox, commonly known as the Greater Red-hot Poker, does not possess a distinctive aroma. The primary allure of this plant lies in its visually striking appearance rather than any notable scent. The tubular flowers, arranged in a spike-like inflorescence, contribute to its vibrant and captivating display, but they are not associated with any fragrance. Gardeners and enthusiasts appreciate Kniphofia x praecox for its bold and fiery visual impact rather than relying on olfactory characteristics. As a result, the plant's appeal is centered around its colour palette and architectural presence in garden landscapes, making it a popular choice for ornamental purposes.
Other Names:
Fire Poker, Praecox Red-hot Poker, Torch Lily.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Kniphofia x praecox, also known as praecox red-hot poker, is a hybrid plant in the genus Kniphofia. It is a cross between Kniphofia uvaria and Kniphofia caulescens. This plant is a perennial that is native to South Africa. The plant has tall spikes of tubular, brightly colored flowers in shades of red, orange and yellow that bloom in the late spring to early summer. The foliage is evergreen, and forms clumps of long, narrow leaves. It is a popular ornamental plant, often used in cottage gardens, mixed borders, and naturalized settings. It is also used in traditional medicine for various ailments.

It is important to note that there is a wide variety of kniphofia with many hybrids, cultivars, and different common names. The plant may be known by different names depending on the region and the specific cultivar.


This perennial plant is native to South Africa and is a member of the Asphodelaceae family. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the Greater Red-hot Poker and why it could be a great addition to your garden.

Appearance and Features

The Greater Red-hot Poker is a tall plant that can grow up to 5 feet in height. It has long, narrow, strap-like leaves that form a clump at the base of the plant. The flowers are the most striking feature of the plant. They are arranged in dense, upright spikes that can reach up to 4 feet in height. The flowers are tubular, with bright red-orange color, and can last for several weeks. The plant blooms in late spring and early summer and attracts bees and hummingbirds.

Growing Conditions

The Greater Red-hot Poker is a hardy plant that thrives in a variety of growing conditions. It prefers full sun but can also tolerate partial shade. It needs well-drained soil and can grow in a range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils. It is drought-tolerant but can benefit from occasional watering during long dry spells. The plant is also cold-hardy and can survive temperatures down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Care and Maintenance

The Greater Red-hot Poker is an easy plant to care for. It requires little maintenance, except for regular watering during the growing season. The plant can benefit from a layer of mulch to help retain moisture in the soil. It should be fertilized once a year with a general-purpose fertilizer. After the flowers have faded, the spent flower stalks should be removed to encourage new growth.


The Greater Red-hot Poker is a great plant for adding color to a garden or landscape. It can be planted in borders or as an accent plant. It can also be planted in containers. The plant is low-maintenance and can be used in xeriscaping, a landscaping technique that reduces the need for water. The plant is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, fever, and arthritis.

The Greater Red-hot Poker is a stunning plant that is easy to care for and adds vibrant color to any garden or landscape. With its tall, striking flowers and hardy nature, it's a great choice for gardeners who want a low-maintenance plant that provides maximum impact.

More Information

One of the great features of the Greater Red-hot Poker is that it is a long-blooming plant, with its flowers typically appearing in late spring and continuing into the summer months. This makes it a great addition to any garden or landscape where you want to have continuous color and interest. The flowers are also very attractive to pollinators, such as bees and hummingbirds, making it a great choice for wildlife-friendly gardening.

While the Greater Red-hot Poker is generally a low-maintenance plant, there are a few things to keep in mind when caring for it. One important thing to note is that it can be susceptible to root rot if it is planted in soil that is too wet or poorly drained. To prevent this, make sure to plant it in well-draining soil and avoid overwatering. Another thing to keep in mind is that the plant can benefit from occasional division, which can help to rejuvenate it and promote more vigorous growth.

In terms of landscaping, the Greater Red-hot Poker is a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of ways. It works well as a border plant, where it can be used to create a dramatic edge to a flower bed or walkway. It can also be used as a specimen plant, where it can be planted on its own or in small groupings to add a splash of color to a garden. Because of its tall, striking flowers, it also works well as an accent plant, where it can be used to add vertical interest to a landscape.

The Greater Red-hot Poker is a beautiful and versatile plant that is easy to grow and care for. Whether you are an experienced gardener or just starting out, it is a great choice for adding color and interest to your garden or landscape. With its bright flowers, hardy nature, and ability to attract pollinators, it is sure to be a favorite among both you and the wildlife in your garden.

If you're looking to incorporate the Greater Red-hot Poker into your garden or landscape, there are a few things to keep in mind. When selecting a location for the plant, it's important to choose a spot that receives full sun or partial shade, as this will help to ensure that the plant thrives and produces plenty of flowers. The plant can also tolerate a range of soil types, but it prefers well-draining soil that is not too wet.

When planting the Greater Red-hot Poker, it's a good idea to prepare the soil by loosening it and incorporating some compost or other organic matter to help improve drainage and soil fertility. When planting, make sure to space the plants at least 18-24 inches apart to allow for adequate air circulation and to prevent overcrowding.

Once planted, the Greater Red-hot Poker is a relatively low-maintenance plant. Water it regularly during the growing season, but be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot. The plant does not require frequent fertilization, but it can benefit from a light application of a general-purpose fertilizer in the spring.

Finally, it's important to keep an eye out for any pests or diseases that may affect the Greater Red-hot Poker. The plant is generally resistant to pests and diseases, but it can be susceptible to spider mites and thrips, which can be controlled with insecticidal soap or other natural remedies.

In conclusion, the Greater Red-hot Poker is a beautiful and hardy plant that is well-suited for a variety of garden and landscape settings. With its striking flowers, long bloom time, and low-maintenance nature, it is a great choice for gardeners who want a plant that provides maximum impact with minimal effort. Whether you're looking to add color to a border or create a dramatic accent, the Greater Red-hot Poker is sure to be a standout in your garden.

20 Greater Red-hot Poker Facts

  1. Scientific Name: Kniphofia x praecox.
  2. Hybrid Origin: Kniphofia x praecox is a hybrid species resulting from the crossbreeding of different Kniphofia species.
  3. Flower Spike: Displays a distinctive spike of tubular flowers, typical of the Kniphofia genus.
  4. Hybrid Vigor: Known for its robust growth and vigor due to its hybrid nature.
  5. Hardiness: Generally suitable for USDA Hardiness Zones 6-9.
  6. Blooming Period: Typically blooms in late spring through early summer.
  7. Color Variation: Flowers can vary in color, ranging from shades of red, orange, and yellow.
  8. Height and Spread: Typically reaches heights of 3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 meters) with a similar spread.
  9. Cultural Adaptability: Well-adapted to a variety of soil types and climatic conditions.
  10. Water Requirements: Moderate water needs; avoid waterlogged conditions.
  11. Sun Exposure: Prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade.
  12. Drought Tolerance: Exhibits good tolerance to drought once established.
  13. Attracts Pollinators: Known to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
  14. Garden Design: Adds a vertical and visually striking element to garden landscapes.
  15. Foliage: Features long, strap-like leaves similar to other Kniphofia species.
  16. Winter Care: Mulching around the base can provide protection in colder climates.
  17. Hybrid Varieties: Various cultivars and hybrids derived from Kniphofia x praecox, offering different flower colors and characteristics.
  18. Companion Plants: Complements well with other perennials and ornamental grasses in garden designs.
  19. Pest and Disease Resistance: Generally resistant to common pests and diseases.
  20. Longevity: With proper care, Kniphofia x praecox can persist for several years in garden settings.


Greater Red-hot Pokers filmed at Lytham St. Anne's in Lancashire on the 12th June 2023.


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