23 May 2012

Dueling Red Hot Pokers

OK. Que up the music from Deliverance. The red hot pokers (Kniphofia uvaria) are playing out a duet yet sparring with each other. Here's their updated story.

They were planted from seed about four years ago after I saw them and thought they looked really cool and different. (I'm a sucker for those botanical attributes.) Three plants took and grew and bloomed in their second year. And grew. And grew. I wrote about their first bloom two years ago [posted 26.06.2010] and the reasons I fell out of love with them:
  • they bloom a very short time
  • they look like a tangled mess for half the year
  • they take up too much space

I moved them to a new location in the side yard last year. These things required no finesse during the transplanting, and this year, are blooming better than ever.

I found, however, that one of the plants is different from the other two normal ones, although they all have spread into a giant blob of leaves. The redneck plant has flower stalks that are taller than the others and with a greater diameter - about the size of a silver dollar (4 cm). The flowers are longer at about 9 inches (20 cm). The flowers are a different red-orange color with no discernible yellow in them, and the leaves are bigger and lighter green. They appear to be fighting with the two normals in the background, which are now spreading out with new shoots.

So in two years they have grown into yet another mess, only this time they are right along the walking steps to the back yard. I think that once again I must move these brutes to a new location (maybe to the neighbor's yard). They can't seem behave themselves.

For The Record:
  • Heavy clay soil with gypsum & organic amendments
  • Full sun
  • No fertilizer
  • Leaves partially die back in winter
  • Needs lots of space
  • Short bloom time

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: salvia, calendula, nicotianas, coreopsis, cactus, eschscholzia


flwrjane said...
They do grow in my neighbor's yard, about a 10-12 feet separation between our two side beds.

They're fun to look at from the window but I don't miss them when they're done blooming.

Not like her peonies.

But you're right they're fun for about a week. Then again that could be said about me!

xo Jane
Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...
The hummingbirds love them, I have some planted along the lower side of the property. Different varieties bloom at different times during the growing season, have a neighbor whose bloomed well after mine.
Swimray said...
Your blog belies your last comment.

Wow. Hummingbirds. I wish. My tamed Wayside Flame blooms in summer.
Sheds said...
My aunt used to have plants like this one and I kept wondering what is its name. Cool!