Basic information about Hakonechloa. Includes Origin, Growing & Cultivation, Common Pests & Diseases, Interesting Facts & Uses, and Garden Design Tips.
The botanical name is Hakonechloa.
This plant has 2 fairly common names, Hakone grass and Japanese Forest Grass.
Hakonechloa is native to Japan, specifically the southeast region of Honshu (the big island).
Growing and Cultivation
Hakonechloa prefers partial shade and rich, moist, normal to slightly acidic soils. They do not like ‘wet feet’ but also cannot be allowed to dry out. Watering once a week (unless rainfall appears) is best. In all but the warmest climates, this plant will brown or die back to the crown in winter. It’s recommended to remove any remaining old, dead leaves in late fall or early spring. This plant can be slow to emerge in spring.
Common Pests and Diseases
The most common diseases present on this plant are crown and root rots. Both are directly caused by too much moisture and not enough drainage in the soil; amend heavy and poor draining soils with perlite, bark, coarse sand, or other materials.
Hakonechloa is deer resistant but not rabbit resistant – they like to eat the new spring shoots.
Interesting Facts and Uses
The care of this plant has been likened to the care for Rosemary, in that the roots are the most important part for good plant health overall. If you take care of the roots (with good drainage and not allowing them to ever dry out) they will thrive.
Hakonechloa foliage may turn pinky red in fall if conditions permit.
Hakonechloa ‘Aureola’ was the Perennial Plant Association’s Plant of the Year in 2009, and was awarded the UK Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
The straight species, Hakonechloa macra, was awarded the Award of Garden Merit in 2012.
Another variety, H. ‘Alboaurea’ received the Award of Garden Merit in 2002.
The Japanese common name for this plant is ‘urahagusa’.
Garden Design Tips
Hakonechloa may be planted in drifts or walkway/ wall edges, singly for focal points/specimen plants, or mixed in a border with other perennials. They particularly complement larger-leaved, darker-leaved plants, for example hosta (such as ‘Empress Wu’, ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’, ‘Blue Angel’, etc), heuchera (such as ‘Obsidian’, ‘Plum Royale’, ‘Forever Purple’), ferns, evergreens, Pulmonaria, and Brunnera. They can also provide a ‘color echo’ if placed near some golden hosta (‘Sum and Substance’, ‘Sun Power’) or Dicentra/Lamprocapnos (‘Gold Heart’). Dark flowers like purple tulips or Astilbe also look great silhouetted in front of this plant.
To purchase Hakonechloa varieties, please visit our Shade Companion Plants Page.