Imperata cylindrica: everything you need to know about this plant

Cylindrical orders

Are you looking for a plant for your garden that covers you a lot and gives you that special “something”? So why not take a look at Imperata cylindrica? It is a plant that attracts a lot of attention due to the reddish tone that the tips of the leaves have.

Want to know more about her? Know what your care is? Then keep reading because we have prepared a file on its characteristics and care.

How is the Imperata cylindrica

variety Red Baron

The Imperata cylindrica also receives other names, such as Imperata cylindrica red baron, Japanese red grass, Imperata cylindrica rubra, cogon grass, marciega, bloody grass, cisca... And yes, before you wonder, she is originally from Japan.

It is an evergreen grass or herb that grows forming groups of bushes made up of green and vertical leaves, but with the special characteristic that the tips are red, to the point that it changes color as the seasons progress. (in the fall it is one of the most beautiful plants there is).

It is not common for it to flower and if it does, it is necessary that the weather be cold to achieve it.. For this reason, although many may think that it is not very pleasant for a garden, the red hue, in contrast to the green, already makes it attractive enough to put it in the garden. It grows up to a meter high and about 70 centimeters wide. Even so, if you are lucky enough that it blooms for you, it will do so in September or October, with flowers that can be white with silver tones.

However, you should keep in mind that the Imperata cylindrica is a plant that has a reputation for being invasive, because it develops quite quickly and is gaining ground where you plant it. For this reason, it can be kept in the garden, but with barriers that prevent it from invading the space of other plants, or in a pot.

Imperata cylindrica care

that's the pen

Now that you have known a little more about what the Imperata cylindrica is like, how about we talk to you about care? It is not a very complicated plant to have. But as the grass that it is, it does need to know its peculiarities.

location and temperature

Let’s start with the location. The Imperata cylindrica is a plant that needs to be outdoors. In this sense, it can be in semi-shade or direct sun. What does it depend on? Basically the weather you have. If it is cold or warm, you could leave it in the direct sun and thus enjoy the changes in tonality that it is experiencing. For its part, if it is warm, and it is too hot in summer, semi-shade would be better so that the peak hours do not burn the tips (which is the most beautiful thing about this herb).

Regarding the temperature, it can tolerate the highs, and also the lows. In fact, it is said to hold well up to -15ºC.. Even so, during the first years we would tell you to protect it, at least the ground, to prevent it from freezing and adapt well to the climate where you have it.


The Imperata cylindrica is not a very demanding plant on this point. Except for one detail: it doesn’t like limestone soil. So try to give it a soil that is rich in nutrients, light and, of course, drained.

You should give it a soil with a neutral pH. Therefore, a mixture with very nutritious soil and perlite or similar will be ideal.

Now, as we have told you before, the Imperata cylindrica is a plant that you can have in the garden or in a pot. In the case of the garden, before planting it, it is a good idea to put a little manure or compost in the hole to nourish that part of the soil (in addition to mixing it with the one you use to fix the plant to the ground).

In the case of the pot it will not be so necessary.


Impera C details

Depending on what the weather is, where you put it, etc. you will have to water it more or less. In general, it is of medium irrigation and You need to always have slightly moist soil, but without going too far because it could suffer from rot.

Thus, we could tell you that it would have to be watered two to three times a week in spring and summer, while in autumn and winter it could be enough once a week or every two weeks.


Before we have told you a little about the fertilizer when planting. But what’s next? Being a perennial plant, Imperata cylindrica appreciates that, from time to time, especially in spring and summer, which is its growing season, new nutrients are provided.

We recommend you bet on some manure or compost to nourish it in the garden. But, if you have it in a pot, it may be better to use a liquid fertilizer that you mix with the irrigation water.


In this aspect you should not worry at all because, unless you see it very badly, you should not prune it. Remember that it is a perennial plant and the only thing you would have to cut is when you see the leaves burned, in poor condition, withered…

Plagues and diseases

In the case of pests and diseases, the Imperata cylindrica is not a plant that is affected a lot. First, because it is a herb and they do not usually attack it; second because, by not flowering, it does not attract birds. Even so, you could find yourself in trouble with snails or slugs that want to feed on it.

Regarding diseases, Perhaps the most important have to do with excess or lack of water or lighting.


Do you want to propagate Imperata cylindrica? Before we have told you that it is an invasive plant, which means that it is growing in bushes and expanding. And that is what helps you to reproduce it.

All you have to do is, during autumn and winter, divide the bush to put it in different pots (or in different areas of the garden).

Now you know what the Imperata cylindrica is like and what it needs. Would you like to have it in your garden?

Imperata cylindrica: everything you need to know about this plant

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top

Discover more from DIY Gardens

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading