Knifofia, or kniphofia (Kniphofia) is a genus of perennial flowering herbs belonging to the subfamily Asphodelaceae of the Xanthorrhoeaceae family. In nature, they often grow in waterlogged places, along the banks of rivers and reservoirs, where they form large thickets. Many species are very decorative.
- Family: Xanthorrheaceae
- Homeland: southern and eastern regions of Africa, the island of Madagascar.
- Rhizome: thick, short.
- Stem: tall peduncle without leaves.
- Leaves: xiphoid, basal.
- Fruit: box.
- Reproductive ability: propagated by dividing the bush or seeds.
- Illumination: light-requiring.
- Watering: regular without waterlogging.
- Content temperature: thermophilic, hibernates with shelter.
- Flowering time: 1.5 – 2 months in July-September.
General description of knifofiya flowers with a photo
Knifophia, also called tritoms, are perennial , often evergreen plants with long, up to 90 cm, dense, leathery, xiphoid-shaped gray-green leaves, collected in a dense basal rosette. The stem is a bare, round, thick peduncle emerging from the center of the rosette in July-September. Usually its height is about 1 – 1.5 m, although among the representatives of the genus there are both relatively stunted specimens and very large plants, for example, Thomson’s bookworm (K. tomsonii) with a peduncle up to 3 m tall.
At the top of the stem, knifofia flowers bloom, collected in a spike-shaped or sultan-shaped inflorescence.
The buds in it open gradually, in the direction from bottom to top or top to bottom, depending on the type. Each individual flower of Knifophia is a small drooping bell with a corolla-shaped perianth, while the color of the bud is red, then, as it blooms, it gradually changes to orange, yellow and yellow-green. Such an interesting feature gives the inflorescence the appearance of a bright multi-colored cone.
As you can see in the photo, knifofiya in the garden is a colorful sight. It is beautiful not only during flowering, dense gray-green leaves, collected in a dense bunch, in many species having a keel-curved shape, also look very attractive.
The culture looks spectacular in group plantings near water bodies, in mixed flower beds, and is used for cutting.
Flower bookfia “Berry” and “Fleming Torch”
About 70 species are included in the genus, the most common in culture are:
Knifofiya berry (K. uvaria) , one of the tallest, its peduncles reach a height of 2 m, and the length of spike-shaped inflorescences is 25 cm. Bright coral-red buds and yellow-orange flowers bloom in July and adorn the garden for two months.
The plant has been grown in culture since 1707, there is a large-flowered form (K. uvaria var. grandiflora) with peduncles up to 130 cm and inflorescences up to 30 cm.
And several varieties:
Lemon Doctor Kerr
Orange Orange Beauty
Scarlet Red Fire Flame.
Knifofiya Tukka (K. tuckii) , the most stable and cold-resistant species. It grows up to 80 cm, has light red buds and greenish-white blooming flowers, collected in inflorescences up to 15 cm in size. With careful shelter, it can winter even in a temperate climate.
Knifofiya hybrid (K. hybrida) , combines various hybrid forms, including those created on the basis of berry knifofiya.
The most famous varieties of hybrid Knifophia are:
Fleming Torch, up to 60 cm tall, with red-yellow flowers;
The same height is the deep orange Burnox Triumph; tall, up to 120 cm.
Cardinal with long fiery red inflorescences;
Even larger, up to 130 cm, cinnabar-red variety Rocket;
An old but still popular Royal Standard cultivar, with medium-sized yellow or scarlet flowers.
Growing Knifofia from Seeds
When growing knifofia, its African origin must be taken into account. The flower prefers sunny places protected from the wind, needs loose, moisture-absorbing and at the same time permeable, well-fertilized soil. The plant does not tolerate an excess of moisture, so it is better to place it on a well-heated hill, or provide good drainage. Experts also recommend laying out stones near plantings or mulching them with any suitable dark-colored material, which will contribute to additional heating of the soil.
Landing bookfia and care
Due to the lack of frost resistance of knifofiya, planting and caring for it in different climatic zones is somewhat different. In the southern regions, the flower can winter in the open field, but with mandatory shelter. In autumn, its leaves are tied into a bundle and sprinkled with fallen leaves, peat, etc., then covered with spruce branches, and additionally insulated from above with roofing felt or film. During excessively warm winters, there is a risk of the outlets becoming damp, so it is recommended not to press the film tightly, leaving holes for ventilation. Such an air-dry shelter allows the plant to successfully endure a temperature drop to minus 15 ° C. It is removed in mid-March, doing it gradually in order to accustom the flower to the open sun and cool air.
In the more northern regions, the culture in the open field does not hibernate. In the fall, they dig it up, place it in containers and transfer it to basements or other rooms with a temperature not higher than plus 8 ° C. The root system should be kept slightly moist during the winter. Plants are planted in open ground after the onset of steadily warm weather.
Most knifofii belong to evergreens, so it is not recommended to cut their leaves for the winter, otherwise, next season the flower will actively increase the vegetative mass and bloom worse. In the spring, you only need to remove the dried ones and slightly shorten the remaining leaves, which, by the way, tolerate even negative temperatures quite well.
Of the other measures for the care of knifofii, they require regular abundant watering, which is best done in the morning, as well as loosening and mulching. In the spring, when young leaves appear, the flower is fed with mineral fertilizers with a high nitrogen content or organic matter, after flowering – with ash or potash fertilizers.
The flower can be propagated both vegetatively and with the help of seeds. In the middle lane, the seeds do not ripen, so the culture is most often propagated vegetatively. Usually, division of the bush is used, for which, in late April – early May, the bushes are dug up and the daughter rosettes, which are formed in the axils of the lower leaves, are carefully separated. The delenki are placed in pre-prepared planting pits filled with nutrient soil, watered well, shaded for the first time. When planting bookworms, an interval of 30-40 cm is observed. The seedlings bloom in a year.
When growing knifofiya from seeds, purchased planting material is used. Seeds are sown in March-April, covered with a film for better germination. After 20 days, shoots appear, after which the film is removed, gradually accustoming the seedlings to room conditions. Dive in the presence of three true leaves, planted in a permanent place in July. Young plants bloom in 2-3 years.