Red hot poker plants look great on their own or depending on their height. If you get a variety, you could easily have non-stop blooming from May through October. The best time to plant your red hot poker plants is in the spring or fall months.
It is hardy in the U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 6 through 10, but for those of us living in a zone colder than 6, it does grows as an annual. They grow to heights of 2 to 3 feet with a spread of 1 foot. The flowers come in a variety of colors such as red, orange, cream, coral, and yellow. Some flowers are bi-colored like red and orange or yellow and cream.
Find the right location. Red Hot Poker plants need full sun exposure to grow their best, but they can also grow in an area that receives some shade. The soil should have a pH level of 6.0 to 6.5 and be well drained.
Prepare the Soil
Prepare the soil by removing the grass and weeds. Amend the soil with 2 inches of organic compost by tilling or digging it into the ground. Rake the soil to make it smooth and level. Pick up any rocks, sticks or other hard debris that the rake brings to the surface.
Planting the Red Hot Poker Plants
Dig the planting holes that are twice as wide as the rootball, but keep the depth the same as the rootball. If you are planting more than one red hot poker plant, space the holes 12 inches.
Very carefully remove the pot or container. These plants do not like their roots disturbed so do not break the rootball. If the roots are visible, gently tease them away from the sides of the rootball.
Center the root section in the hole. Before you backfill with soil, check to make sure that the top of the rootball is level with the surrounding ground. If it is too high or too low, adjust the soil accordingly. Backfill the hole with amended soil and firm the soil with your hands to collapse air pockets.
Water the red hot poker plants thoroughly. Although these plants can withstand periods of drought, you should provide water during the hot seasonal months. Keep the soil evenly moist for better growth.
Place a 3 or 4 inch layer of organic mulch over the soil around the plants. The mulch prevents weeds from growing and helps the soil to retain moisture.
Feed the plants early in the spring with an organic fertilizer. Read and follow the label directions for proper amounts.
Remove the flower stems after the blooms fade. This will encourage more flowers to set on.
Red Hot poker plants do not always make it through the winter in a colder zone. To help your plant make it through the winter, cut the foliage off at the base or tie the leaves together at the top. This prevents water from entering the plant’s crown, which will cause them to rot. Cover the plants with a thick layer of organic mulch.
Remove the mulch in the spring. If you left the foliage on the plant during the winter months, trim the leaves away.