Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica)

ego45(6bCT)September 20, 2009

How do you use it in landscape?

Do you plant it as a separate clumps or as a mass planting?

Is it a spreader or a clump former?

Is 'Rubra' or 'Red Baron' are much different from species?

Will it overwinter being permanently planted in containers in 6b?

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I planted some two years ago, some in my yard and a neighbor's yard as well. I got it at Home Depot. None survived.I don't remember the variety name. I noticed a house in my neighborhood with a small field of it though.

Not helpful, huh? lol

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 4:10PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

As far as the species is concerned, there's a rather strident article on NYTimes.com today called Weed Heroes: The War on the Invader Cogongrass

"But weÂre not talking dandelions here. This weed is the killer weed, the nearly indestructible weed, The Weed From Another Continent  a weed that evokes those old science-fiction movies in which clueless citizens ignore reports of an alien invasion, leaving the heroes to rail in frustration:"

"Dozens of tiny green bubbles dot the map, particularly throughout the bottom third of the state. Each one represents a GPS-identified location of the enemy: cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica), also known as the Perfect Weed, and considered one of the 10 worst weeds in the world."

I've never grown it so I'm no help either. Hopefully the red form doesn't revert.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 5:31PM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

The parents were serial killers but I sure do hope junior is a good citizen! lo lo lo lo lo lo lo lo lo !!!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 6:05PM
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Thanks for replies, ladies.
Claire, article in NYT sounds very scary at first, but then when you think about it the whole article was written by and for dumb people (Arsenol and Roundup as an eco-system preservational matter??? Why wouldn't use an Agent Orange instead? I'm sure gov-t still have some unused canisters somewhere) and has a clear political (not a horticultural) motivation to defend frivolous spending of so-called 'stimulus' (read 'free') money. Yea, yea, it's just a meager 6mil while we now used to think in billions and trillions...
Anyway, politics aside, I'm not talking about 6' tall species, I'm talking about 12-18" red-tiped and non-blooming varieties. It was very interesting to view comments and ratings of it on a MoBot site, 10 ratings: 4 being a 5stars(highest) and 6 being a 1 star(lowest), and nothing in between. All southerns were against it and all northerners can't find enough good words for it :-)
I guess if I'd post the same question on Perennial Forum division would be the same :-)
I think if I do it in a winter it would wake up the forum and might provoke a heated debate. What do you think?

Here is a link that might be useful: MoBot

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 9:56PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

george, i covet it but it is not hardy here in z.5, at least for me... Do you know that Ruby Ribbons, a taller red grass, was introduced by UConn last yr. and is sold at Br.Arrow.

best of luck w. it,you lucky z.6 son of a gun,

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 12:41AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I did think that NY Times article was a little over the top, but I threw it in for discussion. I like that division between north and south on the MOBOT site; it really highlights the importance of location and region when you talk about invasiveness.

Imperata cylindrica is not on the MA or New England invasive plant lists, so it's probably not a problem for us. A pretty thing.

Massachusetts Prohibited Plant List

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England


    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 11:38AM
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I got a one gallon pot of jbg at a plant swap in concord Ma. well over a year ago. It's height is about 12", it has bloody red tipped blades. It did make the winter here in MA. for me but has not spread as much as I would have liked it to. I did noticed when sgaring a small piece with a friend that it was spreading from the bottom by runners. I hope this helps.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 6:50PM
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LOL, Katy!

I've been thinking of planting this, too. I looked it up on the Floridata web site, and read this:

In the landscape, the red varieties can create glorious stained-glass effects when they are planted where the early morning or late afternoon sun lights up the leaves from behind. If you have the proper security clearance for handling plutonium shipments, you might be trustworthy enough to plant it this way and keep the flowers and shoots carefully trimmed so that it cannot spread. Cogongrass is too big a risk for the rest of us.

There's more info there, including a comparison of the 2 reds ego asked about, and details on the debate about the aggressiveness of the reds.

Here is a link that might be useful: bloodgrass at floridata

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 8:10PM
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lisazone6_ma(z6 MA)

I planted it and it didn't do much. The second year was the same. The third year only a tiny piece came back. I dug it up and potted it and babied it and it seemed to grow a little bigger, but then it never came back the following winter. I was very disappointed because ever since I saw a picture of a narrow bed done in a Japanese style with a "river" of blood grass "flowing" thru black Mexican river stones, interspersed with a few clumps of black mondo grass, I've wanted to recreate it, but I can never seem to find the blood grass, and when I finally did, it croaked on me!!

I might try it again next year. I'm determined to recreate that bed!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 4:29PM
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