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Imperata ‘Red Baron’ (Japanese Blood Grass)

Japanese Blood Grass. With a name like that, one imagines mediaeval Japanese Samurai Warriors gorging themselves on this stuff before committing savagery upon their hapless foes. However, a moment’s reflection would suggest this to be unlikely unless they had two stomachs and made mooing noises. Because of the high starch and sugar content in the flowers and young tips of this plant, in parts of South-East Asia, it is cooked and eaten. By people.

It grows to a maximum of 2ft in Britain and spreads slowly and the young growth is red – very red and then it dies down in winter. Best to cut it as close to the ground as possible in the winter. It needs space and light and good rich soil and not for the very coldest of gardens; it’s natural habitat is between 45 degrees north and 45 degrees south. Britain is well north of that.


The name Imperata Grassland is used to describe grassland (mostly dominated by species of Imperata and therefore related to this stuff) that’s been created by some kind of natural or man made event (fire or hurricane for example) that’s removed all the forest cover. Slowly Imperata Grassland will revert to its former state of forest.

Propagated by division

Hardiness traffic light amber

Hardiness level Amber

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Hardy in the Home Counties if sensibly sited (avoiding severe frost pockets, for example). Many Amber Labelled Plants are from cuttings from well-established plants that have survived many harsh winters in the South-East.

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.