Native to Africa, they are cold hardy to zone 6 and suffer when temperatures go below 14°F (-10°C).
Several years ago I planted Red Hot Poker from seed and it did really well here but did not stick around more than a couple of years. Since they enjoy well-drained soil, they might have drowned (root crown rot).
Thompson and Morgan has seeds for Traffic Lights.
Oooo, and Harris Seeds has Flamenco which blooms early with
orange and yellow flowers (500 seeds, $14).
Seeds are planted uncovered at 68 degrees and take 2 weeks to emerge.
Torch Lily flower spikes are so dramatic, emerging out of a mound of long, grassy leaves. They fit in everyplace. Here they benefit from afternoon protection from the intense sun and heat. Part sun is best for them.
Itsaul Plants (Istaulplants.com) in Georgia has a new innovation in Kniphofias - re blooming plants.
Their Kniphofia Echo Rojo has a flower that is close to Red Hot Poker's traditional reddish orange.
Kniphofia Echo Duo flowers are the red orange on the top and a beige-yellow on the bottom.
Kniphofia Echo Mango has flowers that are yellow orange.
These beautiful new varieties are definitely not seed started - they are propagated by cloning.
Several plant sellers have the new ones, including: Skagit Gardens, Jackson and Perkins, Wayside Gardens.
Digging Dog Nursery offers Alcazar, Bee's Sunset, Bleached Sunset, Border Ballet, Bressingham Sunbeam, well, the list goes on and on. Go to http://www.diggingdog.com/pages2/kniphofia.php to see them all.
Consider adding them to your seed list this winter or to your plant list next spring.