Fertilizing Red Hot Poker

Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia spp.) is a vigorously growing, low maintenance perennial that needs little more than infrequent water and space to grow. Typically, Red Hot Poker does not need regular fertilization to be successful, especially if steps are taken to ensure that it is planted in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. In the early spring, you can apply granular organic fertilizer to encourage new growth. Continuous fertilizer through the growing season, however, is not necessary. Avoid using nitrogen-rich fertilizers in the summer while Red Hot Poker is blooming as it may encourage the plant to grow leaves rather than flowers. 

If Red Hot Poker is planted in a pot or planter, you may need to fertilize a bit more regularly than those in a garden bed. Potted plants experience a faster rate of nutrient depletion since there is not as much decaying organic matter, insects, and water retention as you might find in a garden. A slow-release balanced fertilizer can be applied in the spring, and one that is higher in phosphorus or potassium is best when Red Hot Poker is blooming.


How to Fertilize Red Hot Poker

Apply a balanced granular organic fertilizer around the base of Red Hot Poker in the spring. Avoid applying fertilizer to the leaves, blooms, or crown of the plant as it may cause them to burn. Avoid using nitrogen-rich fertilizers around Red Hot Poker in the summer. 


Best Time To Fertilize Red Hot Poker

If you decide to fertilize Red Hot Poker, do so in the early spring to aid in the production of new leaves and roots. It is not necessary to continue fertilizing Red Hot Poker through the summer. If Red Hot Poker is having trouble producing blooms, it is rarely due to a lack of fertilizer.


Best Fertilizer For Red Hot Poker

In general, many perennials can thrive when planted in nutrient-rich soil without the use of fertilizer, and Red Hot Poker is no exception. Perennials can benefit from balanced organic fertilizers in the spring, with an NPK ratio of 4-8-4 or similar. We like using Down to Earth Organic Rose & Flower Fertilizer Mix, or AgroThrive Fruit and Flower Organic Liquid Fertilizer, to fertilize Kniphofia. Over-fertilizing perennials can do more harm than good, causing them to become leggy or detracting from their flowers. The best way to limit the amount of fertilizer you are applying to your garden is by amending your soil during the planting process. 

Red Hot Poker Fertilizing Tips

  • Generally, Kniphofia do not need to be fertilized throughout the year.
  • Add slow-release fertilizer in the spring.
  • Potted plants may need additional fertilization.


-Always wear protective gloves and a face mask when handling chemical fertilizers.

-Closely follow all directions and storage guidelines that are on the fertilizer label.

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 Author Lynn Gusman - Published 9-21-2022