In your first section on these plants you advise to cut back foliage and spent blossoms after bloom. Then in a supporting section you say cutting foliage is a decisive no. I'm a little confused. I put about eight of these in about 2-3 weeks after bloom time for ones already in the ground in the local area (western NC). They did not bloom, but provided attractive foliage for the season and even a couple of volunteers. It's now mid-October. The plants are still green, but it's getting down into the upper 30s at night. What's the next step(s) to assure a successful overwintering? Thanks, Willie G.
Red Hot Poker
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
To clarify, the red hot poker flowers themselves can be removed after they fade (deadheading), but the leaves should not be cut back at that time.
The leaves should also not be cut back in fall. The best method is to wait until the leaves die and turn brown, then tie them together over the base of the plant. This will help protect the plant from cold. Red hot poker is winter-hardy in NC, so it won't need any other winter protection.
In the springtime, cut back the dead foliage from the year before and allow the new foliage to emerge.