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Home > 5-Star Plants > Top-Rated Perennials > Hakonechloa macra Aureola

Hakonechloa macra Aureola

Hakonechloa macra Aureola

"Charming" is the only word for this Japanese species, and it's one of the few Grasses that thrive in partial shade. The leaves grow long and tapering, their background cream, the edges a delicious green suffused with bronze. They wave gracefully in the slightest breeze, but the arching flow of the leaves also gives a sense of movement. Use in a container, in a rock garden, or as a showy ground cover in partial shade and evenly moist, slightly acid soil. The flowers are inconspicuous. Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' was chosen as the Perennial Plant of the Year for 2009 by the Perennial Plant Association.

Every state has agricultural regulations that restrict the shipment of certain plants. We're sorry, but we cannot ship this item to the following states: AZ, CA, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, and WA.

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Growing Guide


Hakone Grass, Japanese Forest Grass

Most varieties grow well in full sun and average garden soil. (See specifics below.) Keep the foliage for winter effect; cut back all except the evergreen varieties (Festuca and Helictotrichon) before new growth emerges in the spring. Refresh the evergreen ones by "raking" out the dried and dead leaves with gloved fingers. Fertilize in spring with a balanced fertilizer (although we don't recommend fertilizing most perennials their first spring, to allow the roots enough time to settle in before having to support very lush top growth.) Grasses that spread by rhizomes ("run") can be invasive and should be divided every year or so. Grasses that grow in clumps die out in the center and need dividing in early spring every few years.

Two varieties thrive in part or even full shade, expanding the possibilities for Grasses in the garden. Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola': (Japanese Forest Grass) is suitable in part shade; and Carex siderosticha 'Variegata': (Sedge) thrives in part to full shade. Both need soil that stays evenly moist. Neither has any serious pests or diseases. Cut back in early spring before growth starts. Transplant and divide in spring.

Grasses are at home in mixed borders of perennials, bulbs, and shrubs. Consider summer and fall-blooming perennials as companions: Achillea, Rudbeckia, Helenium, Asters, Monarda, Perovskia, Phlox, and Oriental Lilies. The large Miscanthus varieties work well in the back of a border, or even as single specimens. Because most grasses are sited in the middle or back of a border and are cut back in early spring, we like to plant spring-flowering bulbs around them for color early in the year. Daffodils, Tulips, and Alliums bloom while the Grasses provide little to look at; then the Grasses and foreground perennials sprout and camouflage the bulbs' maturing foliage.

Ornamental Grasses appear to be quite deer-resistant, and appear on lists of "safe" plants compiled by Co-op Extensions across the country. Evidently the sharp-edged leaves are unpalatable.

Hardiness zones vary by genus and variety, so please check individual descriptions in making your choice. Also please note that there are some state restrictions that grasses may not be delivered to. These states listed here are the ones that have the restrictions but this may vary per variety so please check the information for each variety. AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, ID, KS, MN, NV, OR, TN, UT, WA, WI.

Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' (Feather Reed Grass). Feather Reed Grass is a favorite because of its upright habit and good manners. It forms neat clumps of foliage 18-24in tall. In June, the toasty brown, feathery flower spikes rise up to 5ft or more. By August they are narrow shafts of a buff color. Despite their delicate and graceful appearance they hold their shape through the winter. Grow in full sun or light shade, in average well-drained soil. Space 18-24" apart. Cut back old foliage in early spring before growth begins. Transplant or divide in early spring or early fall. Suffers in hot, humid weather; performs best in cool, drier climates. Prone to problems with rust in wet summers, or if soil is kept too moist.

Chasmanthium latifolium (Northern Sea Oats). A lightly shaded woodland setting is an excellent spot to display this tall, loosely arching Grass, noted for its wide blades and large drooping panicles of decorative, flat spikelets that turn from green through pink to bronze in fall. A warm season type, it emerges late -- just in time to cover the remains of spring bulbs and perennials that die back after flowering. Grow in rich, evenly moist soil. Although it prefers partial shade, Northern Sea Oats tolerates sun except in hot, dry situations. Deadhead to prevent self-sown seedlings.

Hierochloe odorata (Vanilla Grass). Also called Sweetgrass, this highly aromatic perennial grass is considered sacred in many cultures, and the slender, tapering leaves are used to flavor a Polish vodka. Plump flower spikelets that appear in June become chestnut brown. It spreads vigorously by white rhizomes in average garden soil and will tolerate drought. Full sun is best in northern climates, while part shade is needed in Southern and Midwestern regions.

Leymus arenarius (Blue Lyme Grass). This densely tufted Grass quickly forms loose clumps of flat, 3 ft-tall leaves in a distinctive, steel blue color. A hardy, cool-season plant, it grows well in sun or shade and in wet or dry soil. The underground root system spreads rapidly and, depending upon how happy it is, Blue Lyme Grass will need to be dug and divided every year or two.

Miscanthus floridulus (Amur Silver Grass) Clump-forming, sturdy stems to 8' with downward arching, pale green leaves with silver midribs. Inflorescences rise to 9' in October, though it does not always produce them in colder areas. Full sun, average well-drained soil; cut back old foliage in early spring before growth begins; fertilize at that time with 10-10-10 or time-release fertilizer. No notable pests or diseases.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Silver Feather' - Eulalia. A tall and graceful ornamental Grass, especially beautiful when backlit by the sun. Striped foliage forms vase-shaped clumps to 5ft and, in late summer, silvery pink plumes to 7ft. Grow in full sun and average well-drained soil; cut back old foliage in early spring before growth begins. Although not invasive, Miscanthus does make large clumps after 3-4 years. If you wait longer to divide them, you'll need help prying the huge, woody crowns out of the ground, and you will need a sharp axe to divide them. No notable pests or diseases.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Strictus': Porcupine Grass is an improvement on the more common Zebra Grass. The banded foliage, horizontally striped with yellow, gives the appearance of dappled sunlight. Forms upright clumps of grassy foliage; flowers are feathery plumes, 4-6' tall in October. Grow in full sun, good well-drained soil, but 'Strictus' will tolerate poorer conditions. Cut back old foliage to the ground in early spring. Easy to grow; no serious pests or diseases.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Adagio' is unusually compact, making it easy to place in a mixed border. Hardy only from Zones 7-9S&W, alas. Fiery fall color. Grow in full sun; space 18in apart. Cut back in late winter/early spring.

Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln': This compact Fountain Grass produces 20"mounds of fine, dark green foliage; fuzzy, greenish-white flower spikes begin appearing in July on arching 30-36" stems. Foliage turns golden, then tan in fall. Grow in full sun; good garden soil that is well-drained; space 24" apart; fertilize once in early spring with 10-10-10. Cut foliage back in late winter/early spring.

Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Moudry'. This new Fountain Grass blooms in dark shades that are rare among Grasses. The prolific bottlebrush flowers, on 24in stems, open mahogany brown and mature through purple to almost black -- very striking in the garden. Blooms in September, and the yellow fall foliage turns to a biscuit color that remains handsome all winter. Space 24 in apart; cut back in late winter/early spring.

Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'. This Purple Fountain Grass has dark, bronze-purple leaves with flower spikes that are 30-36in tall. The flowers are reddish-pink from July to frost. It is hardy for zones 9-10S&W. They prefer full sun and rich soil, but they can tolerate part shade in the South. No fertilizer is needed when planted in the ground. Space them 15 to 18in apart. If you do plant them in containers you will need to fertilize them every 2 weeks with a water-soluble house plant fertilizer at half strength. Must be treated as an annual in cold climates.

Pennisetum villosum. With fluffy white flower heads that dance like feathers on 18-inch stems from July till frost, no wonder this new, award-winning Fountain Grass is called Feathertop. It is hardy for zones 9-10S&W and prefers full sun. Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart in average garden soil. No fertilizer is needed when planted in the ground; in containers you will need to fertilize them every 2 weeks with a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer at half strength. Must be treated as an annual in cold climates.

Pennisetum villosum. With fluffy white flower heads that dance like feathers on 18-inch stems from July till frost, no wonder this new, award-winning Fountain Grass is called Feathertop. It is hardy for zones 9-10S&W and prefers full sun. Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart in average garden soil. No fertilizer is needed when planted in the ground; in containers you will need to fertilize them every 2 weeks with a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer at half strength. Must be treated as an annual in cold climates.

Hakonechloa macra Aureola


Shipped for Spring Planting

Item: S30051
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Quick Facts

Common Name: Hakone Grass, Japanese Forest Grass

Hardiness Zone:
5-9 S / 5-9 W

Height: 12"+

Deer Resistant: Yes

Exposure: Part Shade

Blooms In: Aug

Spacing: 12-15"

Ships as: 3" Plastic Pot - 25.8 cu. in.

Read our Growing Guide
 
 
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