How to grow torch lily or red hot poker

tropical_thought(San Francisco)March 13, 2012

I saw a yellow one in a nursery years ago, I bought it but it died. I was hoping to try again. Can I have some tips? Are they water saving? Do they die from cold? I want to find one locally at a reasonable price. I have seen a great one in my area in front of a house. So, I know they can work. Every time it blooms I drive pass daily it and eat my heart out.

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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Full sun, well amended soil with lots of compost when planting in pure sand such as the Sunset district, and at least regular garden irrigation in the dry months. They typically get summer rainfall in their South African mountainside habitat, where many grow at high elevations stream side. They can be relatively drought tolerant in heavier clay soils that are much more water retentive. There is considerable variation in plant size, flower color and type, and season of bloom. Check out Kniphofia thompsonii for something distinctly different and a longer blooming season. Annie's Annuals nursery out in Richmond, California has a particularly good selection of species Kniphofia, and I can recommend the cultivar 'Winter Cheer' if you like them 5 foot tall in bloom for December and January.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 11:44AM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

Mine bloom very well here, half an hour south of San Francisco, on a hot west facing bank with no watering. I just stick them in the ground, water once and go away. They also bloom regularly under alder trees on a south bank. I think the secret is to barely water them. I haven't tried the yellow kind. Min

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 11:45AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Maybe the yellow ones are harder to grow? I would have picked up another, but I have not seen them so I kind of forgot to look for them again. Maybe the red basic ones are the most easy and I should try those? I have rich soil compost sandy soil and I water a lot. Maybe I over watered it? I have a western exposure also. But, less sun then south san francisco. I often go to half moon bay or east bay nursery, I forget to look for them.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 2:40PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

You should check out Flora Grubb Nursery in the Bayview district,they'll have a good selection including some yellow varieties. Kniphofias just aren't drought resistant when growing in former sand dunes. Dwarfed foliaged types are typically less drought resistant. Most all species do come from seasonally wet grasslands of higher elevation grasslands and seasonally(summer) wet marshes in the Drakensberg mountains of South Africa. So they easily tolerate wet soil in the warmer months, but are accustomed to dryer winters in habitat.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 12:24AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Thanks Bahia, I am going down to that neck of woods today so I will check them out. I am trying for red or maybe orange or what ever is easy to grow since yellow failed. My soil is a sand dune, but I use so much compost that it's not in most areas. I could try planting it in the non composted up area, if it would like pure sand, I got that. I can water it a lot, it does not have to be drought resistant. I was just thinking I had over watered it, so if it was drought resistant, I would have to make a effort not to water it. I wonder if red or orange is the toughest? I think the dwarf could be weaker.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 11:19AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I just don't think it will work out. I don't get enough sun and heat, and I don't have an area of excellent drainage. I went to UC Davis arboretum and looked at them. They were in the drought garden. They also had a very nice drought lilac that was in full bloom.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 10:48AM
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