The striking red colour of the Imperata cylindrica Rubra Red Baron makes this grass a must for any grass planting plan.
It looks to good in most front of border situations and dry beds, that it is overlooked for the fact that 'Red Baron' is also a good plant for growing in containers - especially in full sun.
It is deciduous, so no sign of life in the winter, but soon peeps through again in the spring.
Imperata cylindrica Rubra - Red Baron is a grass on its own as far as foliage colour is concerned. The emerging new foliage is green but soon turns to that bright red that gives it its common name of Red Baron Grass.
It spreads in the open ground by way of underground stems, but the spread is slow so not classed as invasive. Anyway, who would not want a sizable drift of this unusual grass?
Imperata red Baron is a herbaceous perennial grass - dying to ground level each year - emerging with new vigour each spring. In long summers with plenty of sun, there will be a wealth of flowers as well - small fluffy white blooms in late summer to early autumn.
Once the foliage has died off, it does not have the attractive look that many of the larger grasses have, so is not a candidate for autumn foliage colour - though the live foliage persists well into autumn - until the first heavy frost.
Because it is so unusual - and easy to propagate - some gardeners tend to overplant this grass. This if anything can spoil the effect. It is happy in full sun but better in dappled shade, in moist soil. Informal situations are best, because of its spreading habit. So best at front of herbaceous borders or shrub borders and beds where it can be allowed to spread slowly over the years - as it does.
Imperata cylindrica Rubra - Red Baron is well suited to planting in summer containers (It will disappear for the winter). A stone trough with gravel on surface and maybe just one other contrasting grass, such as the Hakonechloa. Otherwise any patio pot or container will do. 50/50 soil based compost and peat or multi-purpose compost.
If you want it in a confined place in a border or bed, then grow it in a 6in container, and plunge that into the soil of the bed. This will keep the grass confined. You can then lift the pot every spring and divide the contents for friends - they will all want one - or other areas of the garden.
Imperata cylindrica Rubra - Red Baron, the most red of red grasses is trouble free as far as pests and diseases are concerned. Just another thing that makes this grass a 'must-have'.
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