It’s hotter than bloody blue blazes in the Mile High (triple digits yesterday). And the perfect time to feature a plant that accurately describes those temps. Known as Kniphofia or sometimes called tritoma, they are commonly referred to as Poker Plant or Torch Lilies. These guys are part of the Liliaceae family and thrive in USDA zones 5-9. Classified as an upright evergreen perennial, native to Africa with a clumping habit, there are more than 70 known species. Producing copious amounts of nectar when blooming, poker plants are attractive to bees and hummingbirds. The swallowtail butterflies have been recently seen swooning around them.
These babies need room to spread (note to self, be sure to divide these guys this autumn-notice the one coming up in the Canadian shrub who has also become
insane fairly large-yikes). Preferring full sun they are not fussy about our crummy soil. They do require good drainage and don’t like ‘wet feet’ so no planting in bogs, ‘kay?
Poker plants are hardy and moderately drought resistant although some regular water is required in order for them to reach their full potential. Make sure they received adequate water during hot, dry spells and providing a 2-3 inch layer of mulch will help. Deadheading will encourage more blooms. These guys can be divided in the autumn and their crowns should not be planted deeper than 3 inches. Water throughly upon division and liberally mulch and you should have a new plant next season. Just make sure you provide enough space (something I clearly misjudged when they were planted in a few years ago).
Now it’s time for me to enjoy an extra-large glass of well-iced lemonade and work from inside the house in air-conditioned bliss. I realize many of you have had very hot temps already with the high humidity so I’ll stop whining now. Ummm, after second thought, nope, no I won’t. I’ll just finish by saying, it’s too damn hot!
Have a great weekend and try to stay cool.
Live, love, bark! 🐾