Japanese Blood Grass
There is an incredible splash of vibrant red to be had in the fall if you are in a location where this Japanese Blood Grass can be grown.
The snag is that it is not very hardy, tolerating only USA zones 5 to 9. It is native to southeast Asia, India, Indonesia, Australia, and eastern and southern Africa. Freezing is not tolerated, but otherwise it is a perennial that is relatively easy to maintain. Actually Japanese blood grass is at its best in large clumps as illustrated here.
Photo: Gapphotos/Adrian Bloom
It likes moist, well drained, cool locations with plenty of sunlight. With insufficient light the vibrant red color of the Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’ or ‘Red Baron’ shown here is lost and the plant can then become invasive. The more sun exposure it gets, the deeper the red color becomes. Although weekly watering is recommended in a dry summer or if the plant is in pots, this should be stopped in the winter when the plant becomes dormant.
It spreads through its underground rhizomes and can overwhelm its neighbors. The invasive tendencies have resulted in the plant being banned in some states.
Slugs like to attack this plant, so vigilance and evasive action are called for.
As with most ornamental grasses, Japanese blood grass should be cut down to the ground in the spring to allow the new growth to develop and show its best.
Featured photo: Suttons Seeds