Kniphofia ‘Papaya Popsicle’

‘Papaya Popsicle’

I seem to be apologising a lot lately. The latest dearth of posts has been because WordPress would not work. It suddenly seems to have come back to life but in an updated (at least different) form that I am not familiar with so here goes.

As I have been meaning to post about this kniphofia for a few weeks here goes! We have been weathering a storm that has caused some severe damage in the garden. Cosmos are flattened, helianthus torn limb from limb and my beloved pair Malus toringo (well at least I have been pleased with how they have been growing) have become less than symmetrical because one has had a third of the crown ripped from it. But, among all this chaos my clumps of ‘Papaya Popsicle’ stand unaffected.

This is one of the ‘Popsicle’ series bred by Terra Nova nurseries, the people that brought us so many heucheras, in Oregon. Kniphofias are a bit of a guilty pleasure. I know many people dislike them and they can be a bit ugly. But, if Terra Nova have been playing with them you can be sure they have done something special. The popsicle series have narrow, grassy foliage and slender flower scapes and a long flowering season. For some reason, because I rarely buy plants in multiples (which I know I should) I bought three of these and they went in last spring. Last year they did quite well. This year each became a massive shuck of fine leaves, rather like a respectable ornamental grass. By early July there was the sign of something good to come as the first flower scapes appeared deep in the centre of some of the leaf clusters. A few weeks later the first flowers opened.

Too many plants are described as fireworks in the border. But this is the very best sort of firework. The sort you want to buy even though, as a child, the only ones I could afford sparkled a bit , shot up a flare, then another and then fizzled out, exhausted. This is so much more than that, sending up spike after spike after spike. It is a blooming machine. Better still, because the scapes are slender, as they go over they don’t spoil the effect as new flowers appear. Yes, I should deadhead them, but I haven’t yet and they still look OK.

Curiously, it grows taller than the 50cm Terra Nova state, being about 80cm at the moment.

On the back of this display today I popped to the garden centre and, among all the shrubs and trees on their sides (it was early in the morning) I found ‘Lemon Popsicle’ and snapped it up.

Geoff’s rating

Garden rating


8 Comments on “Kniphofia ‘Papaya Popsicle’”

  1. Meriel in Wicklow
    August 21, 2020 at 11:06 am #

    Truly fantastic. I used not to be very keen on Knifofias but changed my mind in recent years. That is one I shall look out for & the lemon variety.

  2. tonytomeo
    August 21, 2020 at 5:07 pm #

    10?! I can understand that for the species. I know how resilient it is. The cultivars are more prolific than the straight species that I remember. However, I am in the habit of comparing the color. I still expect them to be fiery orange like I remember them to be. This one is a good compromise, since it is so brilliantly colored, without being too cartoonishly orange like those that I like. Someday, I will grow the straight species that I remember . . . but just might try one of the modern cultivars too, and might even try a pastel color!

    • thebikinggardener
      August 22, 2020 at 9:03 am #

      I think there is a ‘Red Hot Popsicle’ which may appeal more!

      • tonytomeo
        August 23, 2020 at 12:08 am #

        That one is pretty keen, and I do like all that red, but I still compare it to the straight species. I will likely find it growing on the side of the road somewhere, and just take a few shoots. If I try a cultivar,I may try one of those yellowish white sorts, just because it would contrast so well with the straight species. Of course, the rich red sorts contrast nicely with the yellowish white sorts.

  3. Paddy Tobin
    August 21, 2020 at 9:19 pm #

    I must admit that the name put me off buying any of these – a bubblegum name! But, that’s just showing my age! They are really good plants, a great splash of colour. One doing especially well for me at the moment is ‘John Benary’, a small plant, lots of flower.

    • thebikinggardener
      August 22, 2020 at 9:02 am #

      I know what you mean about the name. Oh for the days of restraint and sanity with ‘Pink Beauty’ or ‘Azure Gem’.

  4. Jackie Knight
    August 22, 2020 at 8:58 am #

    I love these, I have ‘Mango’ and one other, but they are not doing as well as yours. I agree a very good plant.

    • thebikinggardener
      August 22, 2020 at 9:01 am #

      Well I have ‘lemon Popsicle’ now too. I would never not plant something because it has a short flowering period if I liked it. But credit where it is due and this thing just cant stop – and I appreciate it.

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