Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cogongrass, Cogon Grass, Satintail, Japanese Blood Grass
Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra'

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Imperata (im-per-AH-tuh) (Info)
Species: cylindrica (sil-IN-dree-kuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Rubra
Additional cultivar information: (aka Red Baron)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

27 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Fall

Grown for foliage
Good Fall Color

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is resistant to deer
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
4.5 or below (very acidic)
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 34 photos.
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11 positives
1 neutral
6 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Lodewijkp On Jul 3, 2013, Lodewijkp from Zwolle
Netherlands (Zone 7a) wrote:

I grow this one indoors and it seems im the first one to grow it indoors because i never seen anyone talking or writing about growing it indoors.

i was searching for a plant with red/purple colored leaves because i love when sunlight gets filtered by red colored leaves. problem is that most plants with red leaves like croton for example are prone to mites - actually in a warm living room which receives sun for most of the day in all seasons there is always some insect infestation.

so i decided to grow some grass especially red colored grass and i chose cogongrass because it doesn't need a dormant period like other grasses - it doesn't die out of the blue. another reason it that i wanted a spreading plant so i can propagate it and this plant contains natural pesticides - it isn't bothered by any anoying indoor pests like mites , thrips or anything like that.

it looks brilliant when grown indoors also recent studies showed that this plant contains neuroprotective phytochemicals and alkanoids which cause vasodilation, it does have medicinal qualities.

most medicinal plants attracts pests indoors but this one don't and the appearance of this plant is attractive as hell.

it does need full sun and regular watering

Negative MoapaValley On Jun 20, 2013, MoapaValley from Logandale, NV wrote:

I planted one of these about 5 years ago on a mound at the front corner of my yard, in full sun. I live in Logandale, NV, 50 mi. NE of Las Vegas, and did not investigate this plant before planting. I truly did not expect it to survive in this exposure in our 110 deg. days & 90 deg. nights. I was pleasantly surprised at first, then cautious in year 3 when it began to spread, and this year am now wondering how I'm going to restrict it now that it is established. It is truly beautiful on this mound and this year began to get gorgeous plumes, but I don't want it to occupy the entire ~150 sq. ft. area. (Luckily the mound is between the street and a large driveway.)

Positive JenDion On Sep 22, 2012, JenDion from Litchfield, NH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Apparently cold temps help keep this plant in check. While I see it is coded as hardy only to zn 6, I am growing it in zn 5, and have had it for 3 years. I planted a 2X3" plug, and I have a clump about 10x6 now, grown in nearly full sun in rich soil and irrigated.

Negative janiewj On May 20, 2012, janiewj from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is VERY invasive here in Portland. If you're going to put it in, definitely use barriers. I've spent a year now digging out all roots, and I had it in a fairly confined location. It's still coming up, and I have been vigilant.

Positive henryr10 On Oct 2, 2011, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

This appears to be one of those 'Down South' horribly invasive plants.
Here I find it rather well mannered and slow to spread.
BUT, like w/ bamboo which we grow in abundance, I'd use caution.
Taking the advice above, I'd have it 'boo barriered.
Easy to do and we have many grasses and mini-boos done this way.

This clump is at a Friend's Garden and in a rather dry area.
After 4 years it has tripled in spread and now needs to be 'corralled'.
I'll be growing mine in containers as I like the flexibility of moving the beautiful color to bare spots left by our Spring ephemerals and bloomers.

Positive killdawabbit On May 20, 2010, killdawabbit from Christiana, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

One of my favorite grasses. Spreads very slowly for me. I have had it for years. This is the first year I've seen it bloom.

Neutral dixielol On Sep 23, 2008, dixielol from Dunmor, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I know it is invasive in the deep south but does anyone know if this is true for zone 6a also? I am wondering if it would be as invasive here since we have colder winters then they do in the deep south.

Negative robdbeal On Jul 21, 2008, robdbeal from Hickory, NC wrote:

It is a beautiful grass but unfortunately it is an invasive species. It has officially been banned in North Carolina as well, all growers must have it out of their inventory by August '08.

Positive wendyelsey On Jun 15, 2008, wendyelsey from Portland, OR (Zone 7b) wrote:

I work in a nursery and know it can be very invasive when it is not property taken care of. I have 2 patches in my yard and with chopping them to the round late fall, they stay compact and do not spread but more than an inch? if that? I also have a very lush garden and am known as a "packer" in the nursery.. there is always room.
You can contain it best by surrounding it with plants sll around it.
Mine is in its 5th year!! and is doing great! The tips are getting more and more vivid as I go along.
Possibly if it is "invasive" in your area.. may be due a lot more sun that here on the eastcoast and down south :)
and with no crowding from other plants as a "barrier" in some places. May be bamboo barrier?
My best suggestion is to pack it in the ground very tight, and cut all the way back to the ground in Fall. Or bamboo barrier.
One more good thing to try:
River rock pebbles
works great!
Dig a fairly large hole, if you are starting with a blood grass in lets say a gallon pot, you want to get A CONTAINER SIZE YOU WANT THE OVER ALL GROWTH TO BE! .It grows fast, so just to your liking, the area yo have room for... (FYI.. you can get the pots that nurserys use for free in a recyclng bin or for very cheep. You want to use plastic, this will be the barrier. NO teracotta!!! Then!
PUT "PLANTING MIX SOIL IN THE CONTAINER", NOT not potting soil.. you csn find "planting mix st reliable nurseries and major chains, like Fred Meyers, Home Depot, Lowes.
the fun part :)
Take the plant out of its original container and gently massage the roots so they will spread with ease. With the potting mix that was ALREADY in the container, place your new plant in the new bigger pot, using the remaining soil and the new planting mix. Pack firmly are make sure the grass is upright.

Now! That the plant is in its larger container!
Now this hole will be large. You want to place your container with plant inside, and dig out with a shovel about 2-4 inches all the way around and about 4 inches below the bottom of the plant. fill in this "gap with gravel between dime and quarter size Pack in all around...The grass should be level now and you can place a layer of top soil, anything so you dont see the rim of the container.

When it started to get bigger, You can tame by sheering downward, taking out the plant from the larger container to CAREFULLY" cut back the roots, add new soil mixture.. and cover again! Problem solved

Happy gardening :)

Negative SCNewbie On May 15, 2008, SCNewbie from Anderson, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

This plant is very dangerous to our ecosystem! It's taking over the south & now banned in South Carolina. It chokes out native vegetation & burns very easily & very hotly.

Clemson University is coming out very strongly against it, and looking for help in eradicating it.

Negative RedBotanist On May 2, 2007, RedBotanist from Charleston, SC wrote:

If there were any plant on the entire planet NOT to plant, this one would be it, folks. It is incredibly invasive and capable of devastating local ecosystems because it outcompetes important native species. Its roots may also emit toxins that will kill other plants in your garden.

Positive Moby On May 30, 2005, Moby from Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have found that "Red Baron" does spread, but very slowly here in zone 5.

Positive AllenGardens On Oct 10, 2004, AllenGardens from Long Beach, CA wrote:

They are available as propogated plants through a few growers online. I was actually able to find on on Ebay.
On this topic, I did find out that it is quick to take over many the area it is planted in, as well as being virtually invulnerable to herbacide to get rid of it. I guess you could put this in a class with bamboo. Once it's in the ground, you are stuck with this plant coming up all over that area.
On the plus side, it is beautiful and will gain you much praise and inquisitive remarks by visitors to your garden.
My best advise is to put this in a planter or fixed seperated area only. I'm currently growing this in a seperate rectangular area surrounded by concrete (along my driveway). It works well when contained.
Ahh, one more thing... I recommend removing plantings that turn out only green. They are a related and dominant version of the plant and will eventually take over. The point of this plant is the beautiful red turning leaves.

Positive docturf On Jul 11, 2004, docturf from Conway, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

Japanese Bloodgrass prefers a constantly moist, full sun location to do its best.When given these conditions, it will provide you with all the color you want. I have not found it to be invasive in Zone 8.

Positive jhyshark On Jul 10, 2004, jhyshark from Scottville, MI (Zone 4b) wrote:

I like this grass a lot, but I had to corral it in a pot to make it look good. It kept spreading out with runners, and not bunching into a big enough puddle for the red to be pretty. It keeps growing here in 4b, but slowly. Nice red tips all season, and glows in the fall. See pix.

Negative Happenstance On Oct 1, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

This is a very invasive plant in 10a, planted a 1 gallon container and six months later it had spread to about 10 square feet. 3+ years later I am still trying to completely eradicate it.

Positive TerriFlorida On Sep 29, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

Japanese Blood Grass is easy, plant in average well drained soil in sun to light shade, and enjoy. It flowers foxtail plumes above the leaves in September in central Florida, nice tan over maroon effect. I will cut it back to about 6" in another month or so, to enjoy fresh foliage all winter here.

Positive DeeGoods On Aug 8, 2003, DeeGoods from Saint Clair Shores, MI wrote:

This is a great looking plant. Everyone comments on it. It almost doubles in size each year, which is fine with us. We have it planted by red ground sedum and a Japanese Maple.
Being in zone 5 we winterize it very well, with a styrofoam box with leaves packed in it. It's our 3rd season with it so it should be very well established.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Queen Creek, Arizona
Clayton, California
Oakland, California
Rosedale, California
San Francisco, California
Simi Valley, California
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Crestview, Florida
Dunnellon, Florida
Plant City, Florida
Louisville, Kentucky
Nottingham, Maryland
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Caledonia, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
Mathiston, Mississippi
Logandale, Nevada
Litchfield, New Hampshire
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Bucyrus, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Brookings, Oregon
Florence, Oregon
Portland, Oregon (2 reports)
Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania
Anderson, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Christiana, Tennessee
Dickson, Tennessee
Tullahoma, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Boerne, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Mission, Texas
Springfield, Virginia
Concrete, Washington
East Port Orchard, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Kirkland, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Shelton, Washington
Spokane, Washington

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