Crop Rotation Group
Fertile, well-drained soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH.
Yes, red hot pokers are cold hardy once established, with the hardiest cultivars tolerating cold to -15°F (-26°C). Some selections are less hardy, so check plant descriptions carefully.
In early spring as buds emerge, feed plants with a balanced organic fertilizer. Mulch around the dormant plants in winter to insulate roots from cold while building soil organic matter.
Single Plants: 1' 1" (35cm) each way (minimum)
Rows: 1' 1" (35cm) with 1' 1" (35cm) row gap (minimum)
Sow and Plant
Plant dormant roots or container-grown plants in spring. Take time to amend the soil with compost or another source of organic matter, keeping in mind that red hot pokers will stay in the ground for several years. Set the plant in the prepared hole so that the roots are covered with 2 inches (5 cm) of soil. After four years or so, when a red hot poker clump reaches mature size, you can start cutting away divisions from the outside of the clump in spring. Even when promptly replanted, divisions make take a year or two to start blooming.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.
With many varieties, red hot poker flowers start out orange or red and change to yellow, creating a bicolored effect. Originally from southern Africa, red hot pokers make beautiful upright accents in the summer garden, or they can be used as carefree boundary plants. Very tall varieties are often less winter hardy than smaller ones.
Gather stems for use in cut arrangements as you need them, removing florets near the base of the stem that may have withered. Prune back spikes as they lose their looks to promote reblooming.
Red hot pokers have few pest problems, and they are resistant to browsing by deer. Wet winter conditions can lead to root rot, so be sure to choose a well-drained planting site. To improve winter hardiness, delay trimming back dead foliage until late winter, so it can shelter the roots through the coldest months.
Planting and Harvesting Calendar
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