How to Grow Hakonechloa – Japanese Forest Grass 

Hakonechloa macra aureola
Hakonechloa macra aureola

Hakonechloa–commonly called Japanese forest grass or Hakone grass–is a graceful, slender clump-forming perennial grass. It has arching stems that grow 18 inches 945cm) tall or more. A species called ‘Aureola’ is commonly grown; its leaves are bright yellow with narrow green stripes. There is a solid green species that is less often grown.

Hakonechloa has the effect of a tiny bamboo. It spreads slowly by underground runners. The loose, nodding leaves produce 3 to 5-flowered spikelets. Leaves can become red-flushed in autumn and that color can persist into winter.

Hakonechloa is a good choice for woodland or rock gardens or partially shady gardens or for close viewing in containers.

Hankonechloa is a genus of one species. It is native to wooded areas of Japan.

Hakonechloa macra aureola
Hakonechloa macra aureola

Get to Know Hakonechloa 

  • Plant type: Deciduous perennial 
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 5 to 9. 
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 5
  • Height and width: To 14 inches (35cm) tall and 16 inches (40cm) wide 
  • Growth rate: Slow 
  • Form and habit: Rhizomatous, clump-forming 
  • Foliage: Arching, bamboo-like foliage, 1.5 foot (.5m) long, slender with green stripes 
  • Flowers: Small panicles of flowers borne among leaves 
  • Bloom time: Mid- to late summer 
  • Uses: Woodland, rock garden, at the front of herbaceous border, courtyard garden 
  • Garden companions:  
  • Common name: Japanese forest grass, Hakone grass 
  • Botanical name: Hakonechloa 
  • Family name: Poaceae 
  • Origin: Japan 

Where to Plant Hakonechloa 

  • Plant Hakonechloa full sun or partial shade. 
  • Plant Hakonechloa in fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil. 

When to Plant Hakonechloa 

  • Set container-grown Hakonechloa in the garden in spring or autumn.

Planting and Spacing Hakonechloa 

  • Plant Hakonechloa 16 inches (40cm) apart. 

How to Water and Feed Hakonechloa 

  • Give Hakonechloa regular water. 
  • Feed Hakonechloa with an all-purpose organic fertilizer in spring. 

How to Care for Hakonechloa 

  • Cut Hakonechloa back in spring.  

Hakonechloa Pests and Diseases 

  • Pests and diseases are infrequent. 

Hakonechloa Propagation 

  • Divide Hakonechloa in spring. 
  • Hakonechloa can be grown from seed.  

Hakonechloa Varieties to Grow 

  • Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, perennial grass, spreading, slowly to form mounds of arching, linear leaves, to 10 inches (25cm) long. Leaves are bright yellow with narrow green stripes, becoming red-flushed in autumn, the color often persisting into winter. From late summer to mid-autumn, bears needle-like, pale green spikelets in open panicles, to 7 inches (18cm) long. 14 inches (35cm) tall and 16 inches (40cm) wide. Zones 5 to 9. 


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