I grow some grasses for flowers and others for foliage, and ‘Red Baron’ is at the top of my foliage list. The leaves emerge in spring bright green with burgundy tips but slowly turn red as the season progresses. By July my ‘Red Baron’ here in the North Carolina Piedmont is all red and adds a lot of color to the border at a time when the heat and humidity are making other plants stall in their tracks just to survive. The leaves are somewhat translucent, and are breath taking when backlit; this is definitely a plant to place carefully in the garden so this special trait can be fully appreciated. I can’t even call up a mental picture of the flowers they are so rare and unimportant. I have used this grass as specimen clumps in the border of my formal garden with sedum “Autum Joy’ (lovely) but I love would to plant groups of it along a streamside if I had a steam; it would be a knock out and love the moisture. It can also be used in pots and containers as long as it gets plenty of moisture. The species, however, is a devil, very invasive, and is on the noxious weed list.
Type: Perennial grass.
Bloom: Insignificant; rarely blooms.
Size: 12-18” H x 12-18” W.
Light: Full sun to part shade but color will be less in shade.
Soil: Average, moist well drained soil.
Hardiness: Zones 5-9.
Care: Remove old foliage in early spring. If any green shoots persist eliminate them immediately as they will probably be very invasive.
Pests and Diseases: None of significance if soil is well drained; rot may occur during the winter in poorly drained soil.
Propagation: Clumps spread slowly by rhizomes; division in spring.
Companion plants: Sedum “Autumn Joy’, New England aster such as ‘Alma Potschke’.