The Hakonechloa is one of the best tuft or mound forming grasses, with bright gold foliage in the summer, followed by straw coloured foliage in the autumn.
It is a very versatile ornamental grass - being at home in rock garden, at front of shrub or perennial border, on in containers - window boxes included.
Hakonechloa is low growing, and forms a dense, colourful groundcover carpet if planted in groups.
Hakonechloa macra Aureola. The first time I saw Hakonechloa, was when it was unloaded at my wholesale nursery many years ago. I was thrilled then to receive the shipment of a thousand young plants for us to grow on, and I never cease to be pleased to see this most colourful of low growing grasses.
I have seen it grown in all manner of places - front of herbaceous and shrub borders, edging to flower beds, carpet bedded with a solitary purple leaved banana in the centre, on rockeries, in patio containers, window boxes and even in hanging basket displays. (You will gather that it is one of my favourites!)
Hakonechloa macra Aureola is deciduous, but the foliage lasts well into Autumn and sometimes winter. It has the added bonus in the Autumn of the colourful foliage taking on a pink or red tint. Whilst the dead winter foliage is a bland straw colour, it is still worth leaving for its ground covering properties. And it still keeps its arching form even when died down.
As a golden low growing evergreen, the Hakonechloa has very few competitors. Neither does it have any problem pests or diseases.
It is best grown in dappled shade - growing wild as a woodland plant - though it will also be happy in full sun. Intense sun does sometimes scorch the foliage - but it soon recovers. It is extremely hardy and herbaceous in that it dies off above ground level to re-surface in the spring. Its main liking, is for a moist soil. This is essential for best foliage colour.
Hakonechloa has rhizomes but is not an invasive plant. It is mound - rather than clump - forming with low spreading and arching leaves of light green with central and outer gold stripes bands the length of the leaves. A good two year old specimen with probably be no more than 30cm - 12in - high with a spread of around 15in ( 40cm). It is good for localised ground cover, but the dead foliage of late winter will allow dwarf daffodils such as Narcissus Tete a Tete to grow through once naturalised.
Bearing in mind the above choices and its native habitat, Hakonechloa can (and should) be planted anywhere in garden or container! It will brighten up a semi shaded spot and stand out from the crowd in full sunshine. It has flowers that are largely insignificant compared to the foliage, but when appearing in masses as they sometimes do, then they are an added interest.
It associates very well with other grasses such as Carex comans, and of course Imperata cylindrica Red Baron. A planting of the Black Dragon Grass - Ophiopogon planiscapus planted in front will also look good. Surrounding a good specimen of the Blue Grass Elymus hispidus is also attractive. But, you can experiment with all manner of plants now you know what to expect of it. Maybe you can let us a have a picture of what you decide!
The simplest way to propagate Hakonechloa macra Aureola, is to simply divide the newly growing clumps in early spring. A one year old plant can easily be divided into 6 to 8 new plants, which will soon reach the size of their detached parent.
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