Tips for Growing and Overwintering Japanese Blood Grass

craftsy vegetable cours
Doug's Vegetable Course on Craftsy

Blood Grass, also known as Japanese Blood Grass (Imperator cylindrical), is an ornamental grass currently in fashion and used for a wide variety of ornamental perennial design conditions including container gardening. 

The variety that is most often sold is one called ‘Rubra' because of its reddish foliage. The regular species starts out green and then turns reddish at the tips. 

Japanese Blood Grass 'Red Baron'

Growing Details for Blood Grass

This grass is considered to grow as high as 24” but normal range is in the 18-inch height.

Space it 12-18 inches apart in your garden.

Full sun to light shade for best results.

Deer are reported to avoid eating blood grass unless very hungry.

Hardiness from USDA zone 6-9. In the South, it has the potential to be a spreading weed.

Interestingly enough, this grass loves to be well-watered and will grow very well in a damp but well drained soil (in other words, water really well regularly). 

In containers, do not allow it to dry out or it will stall out on growth. 

Propagation Tips

You can have more plants by division, spreading underground rhizomes or tubers/bulblets. It is an easy plant to propagate. 

In the north, division will produce a quicker plant. 

Landscape Value

The flower spike is a tan-brown in later summer/fall but this plant is grown for its red foliage, not the flower spike. 


Having said the above (USDA zone 6) , you'll find it will overwinter in colder climates much better when the soil is very well drained and there is absolutely no standing water to rot out the roots. 

I have heard reports of this grass living in USDA zone 4 with dry winter soils.

Click here for more articles on ornamental grass

Japanese Blood Grass Seeds and Plants

Japanese Blood Grass seeds and plants from multiple vendors

Do You Have A Perennial Gardening Question and Need An Answer?

Search My Sites Here

Recent Articles

  1. Craftsy Black Friday Sale

    Nov 28, 14 06:00 AM

    It's Black Friday at Craftsy and all their courses are 50% off (or more) My vegetable gardening course is reduced big time. No matter what course you want, it's time to grab the special price. Click h…

    Read More

  2. If you can't find what you're looking for

    Nov 23, 14 08:42 AM

    The perennial content for this site is being moved and added to my main website at DougGreensGarden So if you don't find what you're looking for, it may have already been moved. Sorry for the inconven…

    Read More

  3. Four Important Points About Growing Daylilies Successfully

    Oct 28, 14 06:46 AM

    Garden author Doug Green gives you the four most important points to succeed with growing daylilies in the full sun perennial garden

    Read More

  4. Perennial Flower Questions: Ground Covers Fighting Grass and Hail Storm Damage

    Oct 08, 14 11:21 AM

    Q&A with author Doug Green on ground covers, grass and perennials interacting along with what to do about hail damage

    Read More

  5. Best Perennial Flowers for Hummingbird Gardens

    Sep 29, 14 04:03 PM

    A perennial plant list for hummingbird gardens from garden author Doug Green - all easy to grow and find

    Read More

  6. How To Grow Arundo donax or Giant Reed in the Full Sun Garden

    Sep 27, 14 06:45 AM

    Garden author Doug Green tells you how to successfully grow Arundo donax or the giant reed - one of the tallest of ornamental grasses but one that comes with a warning

    Read More

  7. Garden Questions on Edible Daylilies and Rules of Thumb for Mulching Perennials

    Aug 27, 14 11:19 AM

    Two perennial gardening questions on eating daylilies and mulching your perennial garden

    Read More

  8. Garden Questions: Hollyhocks, Bamboo, Slow Growing Plants

    Aug 10, 14 09:07 AM

    Garden author Doug Green answers gardening questions about hollyhocks, killing bamboo and slow growing perennial plants

    Read More

  9. What Perennial Plants Go With Each Other

    Jul 29, 14 06:28 AM

    Garden author Doug Green answers the question, 'What plants go with?" in his usual, relaxed style

    Read More

  10. Overwintering Plants Indoors - Suggestions For Perennial Flowers

    Jul 24, 14 07:50 AM

    Garden author Doug Green writes about overwintering perennial plants indoors and what it takes for temperature and timing

    Read More