Kniphofia northiae is without doubt my favourite amongst the ‘Red Hot Poker’ family with a spectacular brick red-orange flower early in the season that is reason enough to grow this plant but for me it is the broad Aloe like leaves and stately exotic appearance. It’s not often I’m completely obsessed with one plant but I’ve always fancied this plant and especially love its ease of cultivation, not something you could say about many of the hardy exotics we grow. It was love at first sight when I saw my first specimen growing in the Cotswolds standing almost 1.5m high like a giant Aloe, many years ago.
Originating from the Eastern Cape of South Africa you’d think it would be fussy about our often grey damp and cool climate but no – Kniphofia northiae possitively revels in our balmy U.K weather, hardy as you like. I grow mine positioned in as much sun as possible in our relatively heavy clay soil here in West Sussex providing regular autumn mulches of well rotted horse manure where it has luxuriated forming a large open almost otherwordly clump.