THREE STATELY RED-HOT POKERS (KNIPHOFIAS)
Chosen by plant hunter
Red-hot pokers are a stately and architectural choice for the keen gardener. Their long-lived nature means they are rewarding perennials that are well worth the space they require to grow. Their unmistakable upright stems hold ragged bi-coloured blooms above evergreen and deciduous spiky grasslike foliage that splays outwards to form clumped mounds. They make exceptional cut flowers, and are also loved by pollinating insects. Deadheading should occur after flowering to encourage successional blooms, although the blooms hold well on the plants and create excellent vertical interest throughout winter. To ensure optimum performance, select sites with full sun and fertile, welldrained soils.
This variety forms compact clumps suited to smaller gardens. ‘Little Maid’ forms neat mounds of foliage that provide a perfect backdrop to the subtle flower colouration. First emerging in June, its lime-green hues slowly transform to ivory. It’s a great specimen to plant among purple perennials to add a contrasting pop of colour. Its flower size measures over half the length of each flower spike. Height 2ft 2in (65cm) and spread 1ft 4in (40cm).
Descriptively referred to as having rounded, fat, spherical flowers, this award-winning specimen is ideal for planting in larger, sunnier borders. Its impressive wands of brilliantorange and gold flowers rise from robust arching evergreen foliage from June to September and, once established, it makes an eye-catching specimen. Very easy to grow, it multiplies through division. Height 5ft (1.5m) and spread 3ft 3in (1m). Hardy to -15C.
This rufa ‘Rasta’ is a very rare and funky specimen. Its impressive stature is graced with unusual pendulous lime-green and coral-orange tubular flowers from July to October. Its composition is open and exotic, which appeals to the unusual-plant hunter and associates well with tropical planting schemes. Height 3ft 3in (1m) and spread 1ft 6in (45cm).