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Plant Profile: Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ )

hakenochloaFor both texture and color, Hakonechloa gets high marks. It is a delicate ornamental grass with gold variegated foliage, each leaf striped lengthwise with green. Its beautiful color combines well with many other plants and lends its brightness to shady nooks and corners. The leaves are long and slender and cascade gracefully among any of the plants near it. Tiny inconspicuous blossoms are born late in the season and the foliage takes on a pinkish hue before turning buff color for the winter.

Hakonechloa makes a good ground cover under the canopy of large trees, looks beautiful draped over rocks or walls, and is a great addition to pots and containers. It is a perfect addition to an oriental garden with its bamboo-like foliage.

Any way you look at it, this plant is a winner!

Type: Perennial Grass.

Bloom: Inconspicuous in August –October; grown for foliage.

Size: 12”-18” H x 18” W.

Light: Partial to full shade; leaves will scorch in too much sun, but not develop their yellow color in too much shade.

Soil: Rich, moist, humusy, well-drained soil.

Fertilizer: Organic mulch applied once a year in spring will provide adequate nutrients.

Hardiness: Zones 7-9 (6 with protection).

Care: If you live in Zone 6 or colder, mulch with fall leaves.

Pests and Diseases: None of importance.

Propagation: Spreads slowly by stolons and is easy to divide in spring or fall.

Companion plants: Great with trees such as Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) and dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’). For a beautiful combination pair it with Lady’s Mantel (Alchemilia mollis), European wild ginger (Asarum europaeum), or Japanese painted fern ( Athyrium nipooonicum ‘Pictum’). Wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata var. laphamii), hostas, sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum), ferns, bleeding hearts, and astilbes are all beautiful complements to this grass.

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