Common name: Torch lily, Red-hot poker
Botanical name: Kniphofia spp. Family: Asphodelaceae (Aloe family)
“Red Hot Poker” is the local nickname for these bold, handsome natives of
Madagascar and tropical South Africa. Brought to England in 1707, they were
kept as greenhouse treasures until 1848, when someone had the bright idea of
planting them outdoors, and their abiding hardiness was discovered.
The old-fashioned orange and yellow form has survived years of neglect in
abandoned gardens here on the coast; the new hybrids and species we offer, in
versatile creamy yellows, chartreuses, soft melons and bolder colors, are more
suitable to modern schemes, but are just as hardy and reliable. The thick,
almost succulent leaf blades are evergreen, and of interest even when the
cylindrical flower spikes are absent. Heat and drought tolerant.