Kniphofia: Planting, Growing, and Care for an Unusual Plant

Kniphofia is a widespread perennial ornamental plant native to Africa. This is a rather unusual plant, 50 cm to 3 meters high, with a spike-shaped inflorescence of tubular flowers. The flowers periodically change their bright color from red to orange and yellow, which is clearly visible in the photo. Flowering lasts almost all summer, from July to the beginning of frost.

Kniphofia: Planting and Care in the Open Field.

Indeed, despite the typical recommendation for plant cultivation in southern regions with warm winters and hot summers, Kniphofia can successfully establish itself even in the northernmost zones.

This flower boasts approximately 75 varieties, categorized into several primary types:

  • Tukka is the most frost-resistant variety; It takes root well in Central Russia. Up to 80 cm high, the cniphophia inflorescence reaches 15 cm. Flowering begins in July and lasts more than a month.
  • Berry is a tall and hardy plant (up to 2 m), grown in open ground. It has a large inflorescence up to 25 cm. The flowering period is 65 days. It is the most decorative of all species. On this basis, most hybrid varieties have been obtained.
  • Hybrids constitute a category of garden plants created by crossbreeding the berry variety with other species. These hybrids typically have a shorter height, reaching up to 130 cm, and their flowers display a variety of shades. However, they retain all the key characteristics of the Kniphofia plant, such as the duration of flowering and the size of inflorescences, among others.
  • During the flowering period, Macowena reaches a length of 80 cm, and its inflorescences can grow up to 10 cm. The buds are orange-red and turn yellow when they bloom. This plant also exhibits good tolerance to humidity.

Reproduction and Planting of Kniphofia.

You can grow Kniphofia either from seeds or vegetatively by dividing the bush. When growing from seeds, sow them in the second half of March or early April in specially prepared boxes or pots. The soil for Kniphofia planting should be loose and light. Evenly distribute the seeds on moist soil without burying them too deep, and lightly cover them with soil. To expedite germination, cover the containers with aluminum foil and place them in a warm, well-lit location.

Seedlings typically emerge in about three weeks, and at that point, you should remove the film. Once the plants have developed 2-3 leaves, transplant them to another location to facilitate better acclimatization. You can expect the first inflorescences to appear only after 2-3 years. In late May, it’s advisable to plant the seedlings in open ground, spacing the cniphophia bushes 20-35 cm apart from each other.

We carry out the division of the bush at the end of April or the beginning of May. To do this, first, the socket is removed from the box and then carefully separate the secondary sockets, the slices are dried and sprinkled with charcoal. After a few hours, you can start planting plants to grow in a permanent place. As a result of this procedure, the plant can bloom next year.

Planting Time for Kniphofia

Kniphofia is a heat-loving plant and is quite sensitive to low temperatures. Therefore, it’s advisable to plant the bushes in open ground after the frost has ended, typically no earlier than mid-June. The best soil for planting is a mixture of clay and sand. You can prepare a mixture by combining grass, leafy soil, sand, and humus. To ensure excellent water permeability and prevent water from stagnating near the roots, it’s essential to incorporate proper drainage measures.

Plant the Kniphofia plants on the sunny side, ensuring there is ample space between the bushes because Kniphofia tends to grow quite large. Space the plantings at a distance of 30-40 cm from each other and water them generously. Provide shade for the sprouts from the sun’s rays for a period to help them establish better root systems.

Plant Care.

Plant Care

Features of growing Kniphofia Growing by seed and vegetatively, caring for plants is not particularly difficult. All that is needed is regular watering, weeding, and mulching of the soil. Watering should be moderate since excess moisture negatively affects the plant. However, on sunny days it becomes more abundant.

During the winter period, we prepare Kniphofia in a special way to protect it from freezing. After the flowers bloom, we cut the flower stems, tie the leaves in bunches, and then cover everything with sawdust, fallen leaves, or coniferous spruce branches. We also add roofing material on top, leaving small ventilation holes to prevent overripening.

If the winter experiences low snowfall or excessive moisture, freezing can result in plant fatalities. To ensure their survival, we transplant Kniphofia bushes into special containers that need occasional soil moistening. These containers are stored in a dry basement at a temperature between 1 and 8 degrees Celsius. We exclusively plant these bushes in open ground at the end of May or the beginning of June.

If the bushes have been buried in the ground, they should be gradually exposed to sunlight for acclimatization. It is not advisable to prune the leaves during the winter period because Kniphofia is an evergreen plant. Pruning during this time could potentially have a negative impact on flowering. In the spring, as the new season approaches, we initiate plant care. We carefully examine the plants, removing dry leaves and trimming healthy ones as needed.

Top Dressing and Fertilisation of Kniphofia

We fertilize twice throughout the season. After the young leaves appear, we apply mineral fertilizers containing nitrogen and organic substances. You can dilute chicken manure for this purpose. Organic fertilizers like compost, humus, and peat are also suitable. In the latter half of summer, after the flowering stage, we apply potassium fertilizers or ash to help the plants survive the winter. We can place dark stones near the Kniphofia, as they emit additional heat required for flower growth.

Plagues and Diseases.

Plagues and Diseases

If the plant receives proper care, regular watering, and feeding with the necessary fertilizers, then it is not susceptible to diseases and feels good. Overwatering can cause root rot.

In this scenario, the treatment approach for Kniphofia involves using fungicides. If we are unable to treat the plant successfully, we must promptly remove it to prevent the potential contamination of other flowers.

The insects that can damage a plant are aphids, spider mites, and thrips. They are destroyed by spraying them with an insecticide.

Plant Growing and Care Tips.

  • It is best to plant cniphophia bushes or seeds in an elevated, sunny location; there should be no cold drafts on the site.
  • To promote better flowering, regularly and generously water the plant, preferably in the morning. Simultaneously, apply mineral fertilizers for nourishment.
  • Kniphofia does not tolerate stagnant moisture and dampness, therefore the soil must be nutritious, moist, and air-permeable.
  • Checking the soil’s moisture content is essential to prevent plant rot. Weeds can also contribute to this issue, so it’s important to care for the flowers and weeds regularly.
  • We propagate, divide, and plant cniphophia shrubs every five years.
  • If in winter the air temperature drops to -15 degrees, it is better to transfer the plant to a special room.

Growing and caring for cniphophia flowers is not very difficult. For several years, plants continued to retain their decorative properties. In landscape design, they are often used both in one form and in combination with other plants … In the photo, you can see the compositions of the Kniphofia in the form of an alpine slide or rockery.