Imperata, Blood Grass, Cogon Grass, Japanese Blood Grass, Satintail 'Rubra'

Imperata cylindrica

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)


Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage



Provides Winter Interest

This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:



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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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:


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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Queen Creek, Arizona

Clayton, California

Oakland, California

Rocklin, 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

Webster, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Bucyrus, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Brookings, Oregon

Florence, Oregon(2 reports)

Harbor, 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

Bellevue, Washington

Concrete, Washington

East Port Orchard, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Kirkland, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Parkwood, Washington

Port Orchard, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Shelton, Washington

Skokomish, Washington

Spokane, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 29, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The World Conservation Union has included this species in their list of 100 of the world's worst invasive species, one of only 32 terrestrial species so singled out. [[email protected]]

This is a US federally listed noxious weed. Its interstate transportation is illegal without a permit from APHIS. Twelve states have also banned its sale, transport, and planting.

According to BONAP, this species has naturalized in 12 states, mostly in the southeast.

'Rubra' is said to be less aggressive than the species, but that is not the case for its self-sown seedlings.


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 natura... read more


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.)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 ve... read more


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.


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.


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.


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 removi... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.