Emperor — two sides of the same coin


cylinder emperor

This is how it happens in this world: what is good for one is harm and a real punishment for another …

This statement is absolutely true in relation to the topic under consideration.

Today I’ll tell you about the emperor — a very bright cereal for an ornamental garden.

This perennial is native to the tropics of Asia. Gradually, it spread to all continents.

cylinder emperor

The emperor especially annoyed the farmers of South America.

There it is a malicious weed that grows over the territory, crowding out all its neighbors. Something like our wheatgrass.

But if our weed is even suitable for animal feed, then the stiff stems of the emperor are unattractive for living creatures.

Moreover, even birds do not settle in relatively high thickets of this grass — it is too uncomfortable to arrange nests among the hard «bristle».

imperta stem roofs

But in Papua New Guinea, the emperor is used to create a thatched roof …

And yet there is something attractive in this grass, namely, a beautiful form of growth. Powerful arrow-leaves grow from the ground in dense bunches. A noticeable and therefore attractive element for creating a green architecture of an ornamental garden.


Actually, only one type of emperor is used in gardening — the Red Baron variety.

Imperata cylindrical «Red baron», she «Rubra» (Imperata cylindrica)

  • Habitat: Southeast Asia, Japan, China.
  • Height: up to 45 cm
  • flowering period: April.
  • Color spectrum: from dark green to wine-raspberry, inflorescences-panicles of a silvery shade.
  • growing conditions: loves the sun, moisture, but perfectly tolerates a period of drought, differs from the wild species in the slow growth of the root system, does not like stagnant moisture and requires shelter for the winter in cold regions.
  • Peculiarities: young leaves are green with red tips, fully turning into a spectacular dark crimson shade by the end of the season.


The edges of the emperor leaves are sharp and can hurt.

If a young shoot of green color appears in your emperor’s jacket along its entire length, it must be removed, otherwise the plant will subsequently lose such valuable varietal characteristics.

Some gardeners claim that the emperor tolerates cold well, others state that their pets did not survive the winter. Here, much depends on the successful choice of the landing site: sun + drained soil + sufficient moisture before frost + shelter for the winter (if the region is cold).


This grass will be a bright flash in the palette of your garden. True, this will require two conditions: good lighting and … the proximity of the end of the season.

A bright curtain of a beautiful red hue is especially good surrounded by light greenery and plants with a silvery color.

emperor in the coastal zone

In nature, the emperor often settles in the coastal part of water bodies.

emperor in the company of conifers and heather

This perennial herb will be a bright accent in a Japanese-style garden.

By the way, in the English sounding imprat is referred to as Japanese blood grass (Japanese blood grass).

Red arrows will effectively contrast with pebbles of any shade, rounded shapes of green bushes of boxwood, junipers and other low conifers.

emperor among the stones

The unpretentiousness and form of growth of emperors make it possible to settle this plant in rockeries. And it is not at all necessary that it be an alpine slide.

A large stone without any other plants will be the perfect match for this architectural perennial.

Yes, there is a stone! An excellent background for this beauty will be ordinary concrete.

Be sure to plant the emperor next to the concrete elements of your garden.

emperor in a vase

emperor by the path

emperor by the path

emperor in the garden

emperor in the garden


The beauty of the emperor is revealed in contrast both in form and color.

emperor in the garden

For example, it is good in planting next to sun-loving varieties of low large-leaved plants (variegated hosta, soft cuff).

emperor on the background of stones

Single accent plantings of red curtains are especially spectacular against the background of a lawn, pebbles, mulch, stone paths.

emperor, feather grass

In the garden of cereals in the company of the emperor, curtains of herbs of lighter shades (silver, yellow, gray-green) are planted.

Grasses tending upward will strengthen the vertical of a small emperor’s curtain, here it would be appropriate to plant ground cover plants at its foot or scatter pebbles.

emperor, sedge

Perennials with rounded curtains will soften the sharp outlines of this cereal. These include globular varieties of sedge, geranium, soft cuff.


In the conditions of our latitudes, the Red baron emperor blooms rarely, therefore it reproduces only by the root method.

In early spring, rhizome segments are placed in drained soil in a school in a sunny area and moderate humidity is maintained in it. Make sure that all young shoots have red tips. The green ones don’t make sense. A year later, young plants are transplanted into the garden to a permanent place.

In the spring, you can also divide the bush, separating the young shoots. Dividing in the fall can also give a good settling rate if done not too late. The best month is September.

Imperata seedlings are transplanted into a prepared hole with a mixture of soil, humus and peat. The best time is spring and early autumn.

Plants in containers can be planted in any month of the warm period.

In the spring, the apical part of the leaves is trimmed by 10-15 cm.

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