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Kniphofia - An African Guest Will Decorate Your Garden
Kniphofia - An African Guest Will Decorate Your Garden

Video: Kniphofia - An African Guest Will Decorate Your Garden

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Kniphofia is a beautiful perennial for your garden


Plants in our gardens appear in different ways: we grow from seeds, exchange with friends, buy. We also buy in different ways.

Sometimes in a branded package, which indicates the name and growing conditions, and sometimes … like a pig in a poke. The seller will not say the name of the correct one or advise how to grow.

I think I was not the only one who got into such a situation. I want to tell you how unknown what settled in our garden, and how it survived all deaths out of spite. Seeing cute sharp leaves for the pot, I asked what kind of grass-ant was it? In response, I heard something like “trititypoma”, and also that the plant belongs to sedges, winters well, etc. etc. Winters well - it's just fine. We must take. So a new tenant appeared on a rather wet bed. It was more than ten years ago, we didn’t know about the all-knowing Internet, and I didn’t look for information in the literature by an incomprehensible name.

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Summer passed, the grass grew up, prettier and looked good next to roses and zinnias. Their rounded leaves and bright flowers looked advantageous against the background of the beginner's narrow foliage. In the fall, I harvested annuals on compost, sprinkled roses and covered them with spruce branches. In the spring, after removing the shelter, I saw thin light green blades of grass stretching out from under the old half-rotten leaves to the sun. The smoking-room is alive, the seller did not deceive. For the second summer, everything was exactly the same, only one-year-old asters settled down instead of zinnias. During the second summer season, the leaves of the stranger became longer, and the rosette increased significantly in size. And in the third year, our grass appeared … flower stalks! What is it?


Arriving at the next weekend at the dacha, we froze together next to the garden bed and gasped. Three bright, elegant, yellow-orange-red "bottle brushes" flaunted on solid legs. I was most surprised. The African plant Knifofia, or Kniphofia (Latin Kniphfia), overwintered in Trubnikovy Bor. The second will be correct, but usually everyone pronounces and writes the first option.

This plant has several names. Travelers brought unprecedented plants from distant places and called them each in their own way. Then the botanists agreed that the name that was assigned first should be the main and only one. The genus is named after the German botanist Johann Jerome Kniphof (1704-1763). However, you can still hear tritoma or, very rarely, notosceptrum. The genus Knifofia includes about seventy species. All of them are perennial herbaceous plants native to South and East Africa, many of them are evergreen.

Numerous flowers are collected in an ear, the color is yellow, orange, red. The highest is Thomson's knifophy (K. thomsonii), which grows in Tropical Africa, its flower stalks in nature reach a height of three meters. In Ethiopia, leafy cniphophy (K. foliosa) is found - this is the only species with a leafy stem. There are two more types that differ from the rest. In the isoetifolia cniphophy (K. isoetifolia) and the dwarf cniphophy (K. pumila), the flowers in the inflorescences open from top to bottom. But all these curiosities are not suitable for our open ground.


On our garden bed was growing berry knifophya (K. Uvaria) - a species from Southeast Africa. Knowing where the plant comes from, it is easy to guess that it needs a warm, sunny place, rich loam with the addition of sand and, of course, good drainage.

As you can see, none of this happened. The plant survived in spite of everything and thanks to the neighborhood of the "queen of flowers". Since I fed at least a little roses and added ash, the knifofia also got some of the fertilizers. The shelter was also shared by everyone. An inflorescence effectively divided into two parts of different colors, flowers of a bright, cheerful appearance that open up from the bottom up, were liked by many of our relatives and friends.

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Considering that the rosette has already reached half a meter in diameter, I decided to divide it. This decision turned out to be fatal for the flower. Not knowing the ford, do not poke your head into the water. Later I learned that the knifofia should never be divided up in the fall. This operation is carried out in late April, early May, when the plant is just waking up.


Several years passed, and this year we were presented with several copies at once. One, the stronger one, was received by mail, while the others, smaller, were grown from seed.

The neighbor who gave the flowers said that the seed germination from the bag was very good. They emerged in 2-3 weeks and began to grow rapidly. The main thing here is not to miss the pick time. I should have taken these kids home, but it didn't work out. If you have a low area and you are not sure if the plant will survive the winter, take it home. Knifophies winter well in cool rooms. They are rarely watered, preventing the earthen coma from drying out. It is better to take the dishes wide so that the roots feel free.

On the basis of berry knifophya, many hybrids have been bred, for example, Golden Skepter ('Golden Scepter') with a large inflorescence of bright yellow flowers; Prince Maurito ('Prince Maurito') - brown-red flowers; Erecta (`Erecta`) -unusual deciduous form with orange-red flowers; Ice Queen (`Ice Queen`) - white flowers with a greenish tint; Cobra (`Cobra`) - undersized with pale orange buds; Little Maid (`Little Maid`) - undersized with creamy white flowers; Vanilla (`Vanilla`) - with creamy yellow flowers of a vanilla shade. I bought the last two varieties, I hope that they will winter safely. There is one more small but important addition. In autumn, only flower stalks are cut off from plants. The foliage is pruned in the spring.

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