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CHIONOCHLOA rubra

Image of Chionochloa rubra

Family

Poaceae

Botanical Name

CHIONOCHLOA rubra

Plant Common Name

Red Tussock Grass

General Description

A densely leafy evergreen plant, red tussock grass brings a a graceful spreading form with thin, coppery leaves to the landscape. A New Zealand native, it flowers on lightly weeping stems among or fully above the leaves in early summer, with the flowers sparsely spaced on short branches at the top of the flowers stems. It is mostly admired for the color of the leaves, which range from a metallic golden tan to a dramatic coppery red. In winter the leaves tend to be beige at their tips, with coppery tones at their bases.

Red tussock grass should be given full sun in a gritty, fertile, moist soil with good drainage. It tolerates very wet conditions except in winter. Being native to higher elevation regions, it needs a partially shaded spot in hot summer climates. Although evergreen, occasional trimming of the entire clump can be done to rejuvenate plants. It would be lovely planted en masse on a gentle hillside or among broader, dark green or purple-foliaged plants (such as Grevillea and Phormium) to compliment its copper and tan leaves. It would also be showy planted in a rust or dull red colored container.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 10

  • Plant Type

    Grass

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    3'-4' / 0.9m - 1.2m

  • Width

    3'-4' / 0.9m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    New Zealand

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site, Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Tan

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Tan, Copper, Orange Red

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Red, Green, Copper, Orange Red

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Red, Green, Tan, Copper, Orange Red

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Tan, Copper, Orange Red

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes