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Kniphofia not flowering but looks healthy… ?

Mariam_86Mariam_86 Posts: 79
edited July 2021 in Plants
Hello…

I bought a kniphofia (papaya popsicle) plant last year, in flower. I planted it in the garden and then, in spring, I dug it out and left it in a pot for a month whilst I dug over the soil and added soil improver. When I dug it out it clearly had been thriving based on how much the roots had grown.

Since planting back in the ground it has put on a lot of green growth but no signs of flowers. My soil is heavy clay but I don’t think this is the problem. It looks healthy. 

What could be the problem? Will tomato feed help? 

It’s planted in a sunny spot, was watered during dry spells and hasn’t been directly fed (though I did add some composted manure and soil improver/organic compost to the soil to help with drainage).

Here is a photo (the flower heads are from the liatris spicata planted behind)




Thanks 

Posts

  • WilderbeastWilderbeast Posts: 1,415
    Our kniphofia never come into flower till our annual holiday which is in 2 weeks. Think it depends on variety, others around us have been and gone already. Don't panic I'm sure it will flower 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,761
    edited July 2021
    The fact that you've moved it a few times  means it will probably flower a bit later anyway. 
    I have popsicle, and split mine last year and moved them, and they're not yet flowering this year. I wouldn't expect the division to flower at all, but it might. The original plant will be later.  :)

    Heavy clay certainly isn't the best for them, especially if you're in a wetter area, but if you're improving the soil that'll help. They're best in a sunny site, with free draining soil  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Mariam_86Mariam_86 Posts: 79
    Thanks both. I guess it’s just a waiting game then.

    @Fairygirl - they seem fine in the soil, they are listed by the RHS as plants suitable for clay soil:
    https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=305
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,761
    It's not the soil so much as the climate, and what it does to it, hence my comment, as I don't know whereabouts you are.  :)
    Clay is an excellent growing medium, and that's what I have here, but in colder, wetter areas like this, it takes longer to dry out and warm up, and therefore isn't good for that type of plant, unless it's amended well enough.   In a warmer, drier area, it doesn't create the same problem. 
    Mine are in raised beds against house walls or fences, with loads of compost, so that the clay is really well adjusted and is freer draining. :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Mariam_86Mariam_86 Posts: 79
    @Fairygirl - thanks for explaining that. I’m in London and unfortunately it means my soil is waterlogged when it rains. I’ve dug it over and added in soil improver and manure but I’m also realistic that it won’t have such a big impact at least in the short term. 

    Many of the plants that I planted last year - hebes, lavender, even alliums, didn’t do well but the kniphofia was amongst the few that seemed to be thriving. Let’s hope so! I’ll send an update if it flowers.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,761
    It's why I have to amend my soil if I want to grow anything that needs free draining conditions. Our soil never really dries out, whereas many warmer, drier areas [in the south mainly]  have wet conditions in winter, but ground drying out and cracking in summer. 
    All the other plants you mention also prefer better drainage, and will struggle with clay which is wet and heavy, so that may explain why they've not done too well either. 
    It does require a bit of effort to get it in better nick, but it makes it easier to grow a wider range of plants, and have them thriving. If you make your own compost, that's also a great soil conditioner, and adding compost regularly to your beds and borders will gradually improve the structure. Any organic matter added each year will help, and having plenty of plants in a border also helps take up excess moisture, especially if you have some trees and shrubs. 
    I still can't do anything about temperatures, or what falls from the sky all year round, but at least I can mitigate it a fair bit by addressing the soil condition, and then I can grow plants which would struggle here otherwise   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Mariam_86Mariam_86 Posts: 79

    @Fairygirl good to know you’ve seen the benefits of improving the soil, gradually. Hoping I’ll be seeing some improvement soon, too. Last year the soil was rock hard, but this year with all the rain, I imagine it’s very similar to the soil where you are - always wet! 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,761
    I suppose the difference is that we're used to it @Mariam_86 :)

    We've had a drier June than normal here, so we've had to do more watering than usual. July has been pretty standard so far though, with a bit of everything, although quite warm. All part of the challenges in gardening  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Mariam_86Mariam_86 Posts: 79
    @Fairygirl @Wilderbeast

    Just an update - I saw a flower bud today! 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,761
    Result! Enjoy it when it flowers  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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