Imperatata cylindrica 'Rubra' - Japanese Blood Grass

AKA: Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron'

FYI: Imperata cylindrica is on the US Federal Noxious Weed List, and therefore we are not able to ship even the red form of it to the US.

Most people familiar with Japanese blood grass will admit that no other grass has such an intense red colour. In warm-temperate climates this grass will spread out in all directions and would perhaps be better grown in a container.

Also, keep an eye out for any blood grass that reverts to its green form, as these will be even more invasive. Growing in containers is the best way to keep this beauty under control.

In our area Zone 5, gardeners find this to be a very slow grower, so spreading is not an issue.

Description: warm season; spreader
Foliage is red; medium blade width; 25-30 cm (10-12") in height
Flowers are uncommon
Form is upright and spreading

Ideal conditions: for best colour, open sunny areas with ample water. Japanese blood grass is drought tolerant but in hot dry climates it is best grown in some shade.

Coldest zone: 5, possibly a sheltered Zone 4 (find your zone; further info on plant hardiness)

Suggested uses: hillsides, meadows, containers. If used in a border it needs to be contained.

Partner with: Sedums, especially S. spurium Fuldagult and S. ellacombianum (we have both available as flats of 25 plugs); Kalimeris incisa

Season of interest: mid-summer on, becoming particularly colourful in the fall

Native to: Japan

When to plant and divide: late spring to early summer

Recommended plant spacing: 30-60 cm (12-24") why such a difference?

Drought tolerance rating: 3 (water to root depth once a week); further info

Pronunciation: Imperata (im-per-RAH-tah) cylindrica (sill-IN-dri-kah)


More ornamental grasses

Compare Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra' to our other grasses in this handy chart.


Imperatata cylindrica 'Rubra' -
Japanese Blood Grass