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Prized for its gracefully arching foliage, Hakone grass (also known as Japanese forest grass) is a tough ornamental grass that loves moist, shady conditions. Native to Japan, 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.
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Part Sun, Shade
1 to 3 feet
Up to 24 inches
Where to Plant Hakone Grass
With its cascading mounds of leaves and variety of hues, Hakone grass adds wonderful form and color to any garden. Provide a counterpoint to Hakone grass' elegant lines with plants that display larger leaves, such as hostas. Choose cultivars with solid golden leaves or golded streaked with green to provide an especially striking backdrop to plants with blue flowers.
Hakone Grass Care
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.