Dictionary of Flowers: Hakonechloa Macra
(Japanese Forest Grass)

Hakonechloa Macra, aka Japanese Forest Grass. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Megan Hansen and Flickr

Hakonechloa Macra, aka Japanese Forest Grass. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Megan Hansen and Flickr

  • Hakonechloa macra
  • Common name: Japanese forest grass, hakone grass
  • Family: Arialiaceae
  • Category: Perennial in USDA zones 5 to 9
  • Height: 18"
  • Width: 18"
  • Part sun
  • Blooms: ornamental grass grown for foliage
  • Growth habit: clumping, arching. Used as filler in container combinations
  • Maintenance: easy
  • Soil: fertile, evenly moist, well drained. Water regularly if grown in containers
  • Garden uses: containers, border, rockery, woodland garden
  • Diseases: generally disease free
  • Pests: pest free

This elegant perennial ornamental grass forms clumps of arching wide blades. The green blades turn colors as the weather gets colder.

Several variegated and golden cultivars are available for purchase.

It is a native of forests of Japan. 

Hakone is a slow growing grass. It grows in part sun to part shade conditions. Sun tends to burn the blades.

It needs constantly moist soil, fertile. The soil can be amended with compost at planting time and top dressed with compost yearly to enrich and mulch it. It doesn't require additional fertilizer. The clumps can be left in the garden without trimming during winter.

In early spring, before it starts growing again, damaged foliage can be removed to clean it up. Damaged blades can also be cut down to the crown during winter months.

Hakone needs drier conditions during winter. No additional watering should be necessary during the rest months.

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Hakone can be propagated by division. Lift the entire clump and divide rootball every two to three years when the center dies down.

Division is best performed in early spring. Replant the divisions in humusy soil or in pots with good quality potting soil. Though hakone does produce a small flower and seeds, it generally doesn't self-seed. 




IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

It does not have disease or pest problems.

Popular varieties:

  • Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ - yellow-green stripes run the length of the blades. It grows to one and a half foot tall
  • Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold' - chartreuse colored foliage, two feet tall
  • Hakonechloa macra 'Albo-striata' - striped white and green blades. Grows up to a foot tall
  • Hakonechloa macra 'Fubuki' - compact shape, short variety. Grows up to one foot tall. Blades are white and green and turn pink in cold weather
  • Hakonechloa macra 'Fubuki' - one and a half foot tall. Green blades turn red orange in fall

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

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