Kniphofia northiae

Giant Red Hot Poker


Kniphofia northiae, commonly known as Giant Red Hot Poker is a striking, perennial plant native to South Africa. This hardy species features broad, arching, blue-green leaves and tall flower spikes with dense clusters of tubular flowers. The flowers transition from greenish-white to bright orange or red, attracting pollinators.

Blooming primarily in late spring to early summer, Kniphofia northiae is ideal for ornamental gardens and landscape designs. It thrives in well-drained soil and full sun. Perfect for garden enthusiasts looking to add vibrant colour and unique texture, Giant Red Hot Poker is a standout choice for any garden.


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Origin: Eastern Cape of South Africa
Genus: Kniphofia
Species / Cultivar: northiae
Common Name: Giant Red Hot Poker
Synonym: Tritoma northiae

Plant Biography

Kniphofia northiae, named after the 19th-century botanist Marianne North, is native to the mountainous regions of South Africa. Discovered in the late 1800s, it belongs to the Asphodelaceae family. Marianne North documented numerous plant species through her detailed botanical paintings, contributing to its recognition. If you visit Kew Gardens in London, you can see a whole gallery dedicated to her botanical illustrations.

The plant’s unique appearance and adaptability to diverse conditions led to its cultivation in gardens worldwide. Known for its vibrant flower spikes and robust foliage, Kniphofia northiae continues to be celebrated for its horticultural value and historical significance in botanical studies.

Kniphofia northiae
Soil: Moist but Well Drained
Soil that allows water to drain at a moderate rate, without the water pooling.
Growth Rate: Medium
Expect to see moderate growth during growing season.
Water Requirement: Low
Will grow in a drier position and is unlikely to need regular watering once established.
Maintenance: A little
Easy to look after but may occasionally require some attention in order to thrive.
Situation: Full Sun
Wants direct, unfiltered sunlight most of the day, such as a south facing position.
Eventual Height: 1-1.5m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 0.5-1m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Hardy
Survives unprotected in an average winter. May need protection in extreme long frosts.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Kniphofia northiae, or Giant Red Hot Poker, thrives in well-drained soil and full sun, making it perfect for gardens and landscapes. Reaching up to 1.5  metres in height, this robust perennial requires moderate watering, particularly during dry spells, however keep it on the dry side in winter to prevent crown rot. It’s tolerant of a range of soil types but prefers slightly acidic to neutral pH levels.

For optimal growth, apply a balanced fertiliser in spring. Remove spent flower spikes to encourage new blooms and cut back foliage in late winter to early spring. Kniphofia northiae is frost-hardy but benefits from mulch in colder climates. With proper care, it rewards gardeners with striking, colourful flower displays.


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