(nip-hoff' ee-ah)

Common name: Torch Lily, Red Hot Poker

Family: Formerly listed in the lily family, botanists now place it in a new family (Xanthorrhoeaceae, subfamily Asphodeloideae)

Height x width: 3-5' x 4'

Growth rate, habit: moderate to fast; upright clump

Foliage: gray-green evergreen leaves 18-36" long, linear to sword shaped, keeled shape in cross section, often rought margins

Flowers: spike-like inflorescences on top 6-10" of leafless scape (flower stem); flowers bright reds to yellows, short-stalked, drooping, tubular; summer

Hardiness: zones 5-8

Soil: well-drained

Light: sun

Pests and problems: none serious, occasionally mites or thrips, crown rot

Landscape habit, uses: 3 or less together in borders as accent or specimen, containers, cutting

Other interest: genus named form 18th century German professor J.J. Kniphof; native to Africa with species first introduced into commerce in 1705

Other culture: remove flowers and stalks after bloom for repeat bloom, if foliage declines cut back halfway as well; tie foliage together in fall to prevent water entering crown causing rot

Propagation: seed of species, division for cultivars after bloom or early fall; cold moist stratify seed 6 weeks, germination may be erratic over 3 months, plants flower 2nd year from seed


uvaria (uu-vair' ee-ah)--Common Torch Lily, cultivars are often listed under this primary species, although most are hybrids with several other species


The following include the most common and available in the U.S.
Cultivars height flowers bloom time
'Alcazar' 3-4' bright red early summer
'Earliest of All' 18-24" orange red, yellow early summer
'Gold Mine' 3' golden amber summer
'Little Maid' 18-24" yellow fading to cream summer
'Pfitzeri' 3' bright orange-red late summer
'Primrose Beauty' 3' primrose yellow summer
'Rosea Superba' 30-36" rose red summer
Royal Castle' 2-3' bright orange yellow summer
'Royal Standard' 3-4' scarlet opening yellow summer
'Shining Scepter' 3' golden tangerine summer
'Springtime' 3-4' upper coral, lower yellow early summer

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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