Regal torchlily – out of Africa – again!

Harriett McMillan, Echter’s Greenhouse & Garden Center, Arvada, wrote about this 2010 winner for us…
     Here’s another beautiful plant from South Africa to welcome to your Western America garden. The torchlilies also known as red hot pokers are familiar to many, but this particular species brings a unique twist to the typical color and texture of the foliage. The strap-like leaves are a rich blue-green and form a very structural rosette of foliage supporting sturdy, upright scepters of colorful torchlilies that flower in the later weeks of summer. These plants hold their own in exposed, sunny locations and will grow into large clumps that contrast nicely with finer textured plants such as Artemisias or with a stately backdrop of ornamental grass. The torches of flowers burn bright, their upright aspect lending an elegant and eye-catching form to the garden.
     Regal Torchlily is easy to grow and prefers well-drained soil that has been lightly amended with compost. Native to the high slopes of the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa it adapts comfortably to our regional conditions and looks quite at home in local gardens.
     But make no mistake, this is not the typical red hot poker we’re accustomed to seeing in many gardens; the foliage is quite exceptional in color and form supporting impressive stalks of flowers. Visit Denver Botanic Gardens and Kendrick Lake Garden in Lakewood to see this plant in garden settings and then head off to your local garden center and introduce it to your garden. It will settle in beautifully among the other Plant Select ice plants, gazanias, twinspur and sun daisies that have become happy transplants from South Africa in our regional gardens.

Photo by Diana Reavis, Eason Horticultural Services

What you need to know about Regal Torchlily (Kniphofia caulescens)
Perennial
Height: 40 inches
Width: 24-30 inches
Blooms: Late July to September
Sun: Full sun or part shade
Soil Moisture: Moderate to dry – Xeric with occasional deep watering during prolonged dry spells.
Hardiness: USDA zones 4b-9 (up to 7000’)
Culture: Thrives in traditional perennial borders, or in xeriscapes that get occasional deep watering. Does best in loamy soil.


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This entry was posted in Award winners, Care and maintenance, Design, Gardening, water wise. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Regal torchlily – out of Africa – again!

  1. Claire Gabriel Dunne says:

    Hello, I am new to your beautiful site, and would like to suggest you title your articles with the name of the plant rather than “Out of Africa again” A photo and the name will make it faster to find the plant I am looking for. Thanks for all your efforts to bring us water-wise plants. We are introducing them to the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming through our master Gardeners program.

  2. Pat Hayward says:

    Great suggestion – just posted an article about partridge feather and used your idea. Good to know what makes it easier for readers. Sounds like a challenging area to garden in!

  3. jon nelson says:

    I just saw these blooming in the Denver Botanic Gardens. Even though this is a much overused work, they can only be described as spectaculer. I’m going to try one in Estes Park even though we are at 7500 feet (assuming I can find one).

  4. jon nelson says:

    I just saw these blooming in the Denver Botanic Gardens. Even though this is a much overused word, they can only be described as spectaculer. I’m going to try one in Estes Park even though we are at 7500 feet (assuming I can find one).

  5. Pat Hayward says:

    They’re actually on a second course of blooming. Might be best to wait until a spring plant at this point – please let us know how they do for you. Thanks for the comment!

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