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Kniphofia northiae

Kniphofia northiae



About this cultivar:

Kniphofia northiae is a robust evergreen perennial with handsome curved leaves resembling an aloe. In spring and summer the stout central stem bears oval flowerheads. Green in bud, the flowers open to a muted red and fade from the base to yellow and brown. The flower isn't very tall but the plant forms a trunk!

In general it is not very hot in colour nor pokery in shape compared to the other Kniphofia we have. However it is huge and the leaves are striking. It looks much more tropical and exotic. The man in the photo is Matthew Pottage, curator at RHS Garden Wisley, and he is 6’ 3!

We don't actually grow this at Ballyrobert but we sell it because people ask. A bit like Gunnera.... In all fairness we haven't got round to trying it in the garden but suspect it is for more temperate parts of Britain. Watch this space!

  • Position: Full sun, partial shade
  • Soil: Almost any soil
  • Flowers: July, August, September, October
  • Other features: Bees and Butterflies, Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit (RHS AGM)
  • Hardiness: H4 - Hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5°C)
  • Habit: Clump forming, Columnar or Upright
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Height: 150- 200 cm (5 - 6.5 ft)
  • Spread: 100 - 150 cm (3.5 - 5 ft)
  • Time to full growth: 2 to 5 years
  • Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial, evergreen
  • Colour: Green, orange, yellow
  • Goes well with: Most things, try grasses

About this genus:

Kniphofia (nif-of-e-a) was first described in 1794 and is named after Johan Kniphof who was an 18th-century German physician and botanist who finished his magnum opus Botanica in originali in 1733. Apparently his name was pronounce 'Nip' not 'Nif'...

Commonly know as Red Hot Poker, it is a genus of South African native perennials that range from 1 ft dwarfs to 7 ft giants. They have a wide range of flowering times from mid-spring through late autumn, depending on the cultivar. The flowers are usually a bright orange and yellow colour; although there are many new cultivars in shades of cream, yellow, red, green, and even flourescent hues. Cream-hot-poker doesn't have the same ring to it though does it?

Most Kniphofia are quite easy to grow in bright sun to partial shade and most types of soil. It is not uncommon to find red hot poker plants growing and producing their beautiful flowers in long abandoned gardens or naturalizing in the countryside somewhere.

The cultivars we sell are not the cheap seed raised ones - but the tough cultivars that do well in our own garden. We plant them near anything, but I must say I quite like them combined with grasses.

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