The plant of the month for December is a rather attractive grass known as Imperata Cylindrica ‘Rubra’ or Japanese Blood Grass.

The Imperata genus is a long-lived, frost hardy, cylindrical-stemmed grass, which grows from rhizomes and comprises 6 varieties. It belongs to the Poaceae (wheat) family and is found in the wild across a vast area from Southern Asia to Australia. It grows in all climates in these regions from mild to tropical.

Imperata Cylindrica ‘Rubra’ – Japanese Blood Grass

Japanese Blood Grass is one variety of Imperata. It is an upright plant with long, thin sharply pointed leaves and when planted in full sun gains a bright red colour – hence its name. Its leaves can grow to 50cm and over time one plant can spread to a diameter of 30cm.

It likes to grow in full sun or part shade and can withstand temperatures down to -20 degrees Centigrade.

It prefers damp but well-drained soil high in hummus and should be mulched in the cold winter months. This is especially important for young plants.

Imperata Cylindrica ‘Rubra’ is a plant which doesn’t have showy blooms. At the end of summer tiny silver flowers can be seen at the top of the stems. It can be propagated in spring by separating off rhizomes.

In cold climate areas the plant should be protected through winter by, at the end of autumn, cutting the leaves down to the ground and covering the remaining plant with mulch.

The lower parts of leaves of Blood Grass plants remain green with the upper half to two-thirds becoming blood red. From the beginning of summer until the end of autumn the two-tone green and red leaves are very attractive.

Imperata Cylindrica ‘Rubra’ can be used in landscaping to provide a sharp contract amongst plants which are green, blue or silver in colour. In terms of grasses these could be Carex morrowii variegata, Festuca ovina glauca, Stipa tenuissima, Setaria palmefolia, or Scripus cernuus. Also the larger grasses and architectural plants such as Phormium, Penisetum, Miscanthus, Cortaderia and Cymbopogon work well with this grass.

In gardens, and particularly rock gardens, a single specimen does not work well and they should be planted as groups.

If growing in containers choose a wide round pot or a tall square one. They are often grown for decoration in Turkey in locations such as restaurants, cake shops or shopping malls and work well in large containers.

The Palm Centre, Koycegeiz

For a wide range of special plants visit the areas best nursery, The Palm Centre at Köyceğiz.

It is open daily between 1st June – 31st October but you can visit at any other time by appointment.

Access to plant sales is free but a fee is payable to look around the extensive nursery.

Just ring or email (English is spoken):

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Tel : +90 252 262 28 92

Fax : +90 252 262 51 61

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