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What are the best plants for hot colour in the garden?

If you’re looking to add sparkle and give your borders the X-factor this summer, then Ladybrook Nursery would suggest you opt for bright and bold colours. Hot colours will create the greatest impact. There are lots of perennial plants to choose from, but when it comes to hot summer colour our own personal favourites are Kniphopias and Echinaceas. Here’s a little information about these spectacular plants.


Kniphopia, also known as the red hot poker or torch lily, is a native South Africa plant and grows best in moist peaty soils. Although technically Kniphopia is often classed as a drought tolerant plant, it doesn’t produce flowers as freely in dry conditions. Red hot pokers thrive best in moist peaty soils. For typical British gardens red hot pokers need good humus-rich soils and plenty of summer moisture, but freer draining conditions in the winter. So add plenty of grit when planting if your soil is cold and wet in the winter. Kniphopia looks best when planted amongst dark coloured plants as these help to showcase its hot spectacular flower heads.


The classic Red Hot Poker comes in shades of lemon though orange into deep red. Kniphopia is an evergreen plant with thin, grass-like leaves and an erect stem. It has a number of tubular flowers that make up a spike resembling a torch. The colouring becomes more intense towards the tip of the spike. Before planting it’s worth considering the positioning of the plant in the border as they can grow up to 1.2 metres tall and 0.6 metres wide. After the flowers have faded, their spikes should be removed and mulch applied around the base of the plant. The foliage should be cut back to the ground in spring in order to keep it looking fresh.


Echinacea, or the cone flower, is a member of the daisy family, comes in a range of colours from yellow, orange and tomato red through to magenta purple. It is one of the best perennial plants for late summer and early autumn flowers. Like all daisies, echinaceas are composite flowers with a chunky central cone (hence the name coneflower) and a collection of tiny fertile flowers or florets. Once these florets are fertilised by pollinators the florets fall off leaving the cone seedhead.


Echinacea prefers light, loamy, well-drained soil and a sunny position, but it will tolerate dappled shade. The long-lasting flowers which bloom from July through to the end of September have backward-pointing flower petals look great in mixed borders. They look particularly spectacular when grown through ornamental grasses. The flower heads can reach 10cm-13cm in diameter, and long stems 60cm-90cm high. They are slender plants, but they are by no means delicate. In fact echinacea is a stout and robust plant.

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