Hakone Grass

Hakone Grass
Plant Type
Sunlight Amount
Japanese hakone forestgrass along fence near path
Credit: Peter Krumhardt
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Japanese hakone forestgrass along fence near path

Hakone Grass

Prized for its gracefully arching foliage, Hakone grass (also known as Japanese forest grass) is a tough ornamental grass that loves moist, shady conditions. This plant forms dense mounds of slender leaves that start solid green, solid golden, or variegated, then change to coppery orange as fall’s cooler weather comes into play. The mounding clumps of grassy leaves gradually increase in size over the years, but so slowly that they never become invasive. Use this low-maintenance perennial grass as an accent or a groundcover, around trees, in containers, along paths, or grouped with companion plants. 

genus name
  • Hakonechloa macra
light
  • Part Sun
  • Shade
plant type
height
  • 1 to 3 feet
width
  • Up to 24 inches
foliage color
season features
problem solvers
special features
zones
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
propagation

Colorful Combinations

With its cascading mounds of leaves and variety of hues, Hakone grass adds graceful texture and bright color to any garden. Provide a counterpoint to Hakone grass's elegant lines with plants that display larger leaves, such as hostas. Choose cultivars with solid golden leaves or golden streaked with green to provide an especially striking backdrop to plants with blue flowers.

Hakone Grass Care Must-Knows

Plant Hakone grass in part shade and evenly moist, organic-rich, well-drained soil to gain the lushest growth. Variegated and golden selections of this perennial like some shade in the summer to avoid scorching. Greener varieties can tolerate a little more sun. Keep in mind that plants in full sun will require additional watering.

Hakone grass is a low-maintenance option for your landscape. You do need to mulch it in winter and cut its foliage back to the ground in late winter or early spring before new growth appears. If needed, divide the clumps, which spread by rhizomes, in spring.

More Varieties of Hakone Grass

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Golden Japanese forestgrass
Credit: John Granen

Golden Japanese Forest Grass

Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' is the best cultivar to brighten gently shaded places in the garden. Its lovely golden-yellow leaves are striped with green and arch gracefully toward the light. Zones 5-9

'All Gold' Japanese forest grass
Credit: Bob Stefko

'All Gold' Japanese Forest Grass

Make a bold statement with this Hakonechloa macra variety. It features bright golden-yellow foliage that holds its color throughout the growing season. Zones 4-9

Hakone Grass Companion Plants

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