Thursday, September 19, 2019

Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron’

Early one morning last month I was out watering and snapped a photo of my Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron’ (aka Japanese Blood Grass), lit by the sun.

Before I posted the photo to Instagram I checked to make sure I had the name spelled correctly and pulled up the Missouri Botanical Garden website, where they identified it as "one of the ten worst weeds in the world." Wow, that's a serious claim.

Earlier this week I pulled into a parking lot and saw this...

That's a pretty consistent behavior! (we must break free!) I wonder if it will continue down the side of the retaining wall blocks, growing through each and every crack? That could create quite the interesting pattern.

Weather Diary, Sept 18: Hi 68, Low 54/ Precip .15"

All material © 2009-2019 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

15 comments:

  1. The key phrase from the Missouri Botanical Garden site is "be carful where you plant it". It must be too cold in my zone 7 garden to encourage bad behavior. I don't have any issues with this grass and I love the back-lit photo.

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    1. Ya, in my garden I think the issue is summer water, it gets very little.

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  2. What makes a plant a terrible weed can be very location specific. I heard similar warnings after planting Hibiscus trionum but it was relatively well-behaved in my garden and, in time just died out.

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    1. Indeed, which is part of what seemed odd about the Missouri BG warning.

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  3. I've had it in my zone 5 garden for about 10 years and the clump is maybe 2 feet across. I'm not worried about it, but I have heard about it being invasive, perhaps in warmer zones? It really blazes in the fall and esp. breath-taking when backlit.

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    1. "It really blazes in the fall"...well said!

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  4. Alas, some of the prettiest plants seem to be thugs. I am always cautious when I hear or read "spreads or self seeds". Have spent way to much time and energy removing overly eager perennials. Elaine

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    1. I have several supposed thugs in my garden that I've never had issues with.

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  5. Hunh. And I killed it with such ease. Who knew?

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  6. The first pot of Japanese bloodgrass that I planted here died because it wasn't in a moist enough area. I put the second right in the stream, and it's still not really thriving. This makes me wonder what the other nine weeds are on MoBot's list. If goutweed isn't on that list, it's not worth reading. That stuff is aggressive no matter what climate it grows in, no matter where. I had it in my zone 5/6 Massachusetts garden, and it spread like mad. And I know how much it spreads here in the PNW too. It's the cockroach of plants.

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  7. My only complaint with it was native grasses mixing in & impossible to remove.
    rickii

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  8. I've never planted it, but I love it. Thanks for sharing this; it was helpful to read about your impressions and the thoughts of other gardeners in the comments.

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  9. It's the straight species that is the thug, not the 'Rubra' cultivar. :)


    "‘Rubra’ (aka var. rubra) is a shorter, less invasive horticultural selection that reportedly rarely flowers, does not set seed and lacks the invasive spreading tendencies attributed to the species. It typically grows much shorter (to 12-18” tall) than species plants. "

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