This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
Still popularly known under the old name of Tritoma, this genus contains several species of very ornamental herbaceous perennials. The trade done in them is, however, almost entirely confined to the nurseryman, under such popular names as "Torch Lily", "Red Hot Poker", and "Flame Flower". The illustration (fig. 214) will give a good idea of the general appearance of the plants when in blossom, the large conical heads of flowers, often flaming red in colour, standing well above the sword-like leaves. Perhaps the kind most useful to the market grower is K. aloides (still well known as Tritoma Uvaria). It is a magnificent South African plant, 3-5 ft. high, with stout spikes of brilliant orange-red flowers in August. There are several varieties, amongst the best being glaucescens, 6 ft., vermilion; grandiflora (or densa), 6 ft., coral red; nobilis, 8 ft., still finer; Pfitzeri, 6 ft., crimson scarlet; Saundersi, orange scarlet; and others. These all flourish in most parts of England and Ireland and the south-west of Scotland, but are scarcely suitable for the colder parts of the kingdom. They may be increased by division in spring, and may also be raised from seeds, which will produce flowering plants in a couple of seasons. For cut-flower purposes they are valuable in late summer, and the plants may also be sold with other "root" crops in spring. Other kinds of Kniphofia sold are: breviflora, 2 ft., bright yellow; Burchelli, 2-3 ft., bright red and yellow; caidescens, 2-3 ft., deep red turning to yellow; comosa, 2-3 ft., canary yellow; citrina, 3 ft., pale yellow; corallina, 3 ft., coral red; foliosa (or Quartiniana), 4 ft., bright yellow; Leichtlini, 3-4 ft., red; longicollis (or primulina), 3 ft., yellow; Macowani (fig. 215), 1-2 ft., bright orange red and yellow; modesta, 2-3 ft., white; Nelsoni, 2 ft., orange scarlet; Northioe, 6 ft., deep red to yellow; pumila, orange red; Rooperi, 2-4 ft., orange red to yellow, early; rufa, 3 ft., yellow with red tips; sarmentosa, 2-4 ft., red and yellow; Tucki, 2-3 ft., pale yellow, tinted red. Besides these species there are several fine hybrids and seedling forms that have been raised of late years; some of them are particularly fine, and ought to develop into good market plants. The flower spikes are taller and bolder, and the colours of the flowers are much more brilliant.
Fig. 214. - Kniphofia maxima (grandis).
Fig. 215. - Kniphofia Macowani.