Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’

cogon grass, thatch grass, Japanese blood grass

(9 customer reviews)

£15.95

Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ slowly grows into a dense clump of upright, flat leaves that start the season almost completely green and gradually turn blood red from the tips downwards until, by autumn, they are almost glow like flames.

Silvery flowers are produced in late summer. The colour and habit of the Japanese Blood Grass make it one of the most effective contrast plants it is possible to grow, with some ultra-stunning combinations possible, toning in with, say, Heuchera ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ or contrasting with primary colours like Agapanthus ‘Cobalt Blue’.

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Origin: Asia
Genus: Imperata
Species / Cultivar: cylindrica var. 'Red Baron'
Common Name: cogon grass, thatch grass, Japanese blood grass
Synonym: Lagurus cylindricus

Plant Biography

Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ originates in many parts of Asia and has been introduced in the 18th century to many other parts of the world as an ornamental grass.

In the wild, the cogon grass spreads very easily and is responsible for many wildfires due to its highly flammable nature, even when green. The quick and hot fires will consume most of the aerial part of the plant and stop other plants’ seeds from sprouting, but the Imperata cylindrica will re-emerge from rhizomes deep in the ground asserting its dominance.

The red tipped cultivar ‘Red Baron’, known also as Japanese blood grass, has serrated foliage that is unattractive to rabbits and slugs, and the rapid growth habit fills in hillsides quickly to help with erosion control.

Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron'
Soil: Well drained
Soil that does not show much signs of moisture, either visibly or when handled.
Growth Rate: Fast
Expect to see prolific growth, especially during growing season.
Water Requirement: Medium
Once it is established, this plant is likely to only require watering during drier periods.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Full Sun to Part Shade
Enjoys direct sun most of the day, but tolerant of fewer sunlit hours or light dappling.
Eventual Height: 0.1 - 0.5m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 0.1 - 0.5m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Semi Evergreen
May only remain evergreen in milder winters, or only loose leaves for a short period.
Lifecycle: Perennial
This plant is persistant and does not die off after flowering. It will return each season indefinitely, if provided with suitable growing conditions.

Plant trivia

In The Philippines, the expression "Ningas Kugon" (cogon bush fire) is used colloquially to describe a tendency among individuals to start a new venture or task with too much enthusiasm and effort, but after some time will take a pause or will suddenly stop working, until such time that they lose interest in the venture or task. Leaving things incomplete. Just like a wildfire burning out quickly.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

This vigorous plant needs little care to thrive. However, keep an eye on blood grass, as it can quickly get out of hand. While the red form is not technically invasive, due to environmental factors it can revert to its green form, at which point it may become invasive.

Ideally, the Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ should be planted in full sun, to encourage the red tips to form.

Provide your Japanese blood grass with moist, well-drained soil. The plants grow well in sandy soils, and can even thrive in coastal gardens. Once established, it can tolerate drought fairly easily.

No fertilizer is needed to grow Japanese blood grass successfully, as the plants will grow in poor soil. Extra nutrients may cause the grass to grow aggressively.

Expert Tip

Japanese blood grass is easy to propagate by division, even for beginners. Cut into the plant with a spade in the spring or fall, when growth is most active. Don't be afraid to make many small divisions as needed, as the plants will grow and mature rapidly.

9 customer reviews for Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’

Transplanted and already new growth appearing. A lovely specimen plant. With an excellent delivery and well packaged.

Gordon Collett

Still very young, but it will be quite stunning when mature

Jane Romyn

Very disappointing. I bought 7 x 2L pots but the ones delivered didnt have enough root to fill a 9cm pot. Also the pots as delivered were all upside down and because there was so little root, soil and grasses had come out of the pots and were all over the bottom of the box.

Tricia Callow

Bought eight lovely plants at an exceptional price.Planted immediately and already growing well,wish I had got more now excellent delivery and well packaged

lee