Hakonechloa macra

Japanese forest grass

A small, part-shade loving perennial bunchgrass, the Japanese Forest Grass forms a graceful fountain shape as it grows, slowly spreading and brightening up darker areas of the garden.

Hakonechloa macra produces luscious paper thin foliage, somewhat reminiscent of bamboo but in an alluring bright green. In autumn this foliage can develop orange, red or purple tones.

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Origin: Eastern Asia
Genus: Hakonechloa
Species / Cultivar: macra
Common Name: Japanese forest grass
Synonym: Phragmites macer

Plant Biography

Native to Japan where it’s endemic to moist mountain areas of cliffs and woodland, including Mt. Hakone from which it derives its Latin genus and common name.

Japanese Forest Grass makes for a perfect spreading ornamental grass for shady locations, aesthetically reminiscent of Japanese style gardens.

It works brilliantly when used to create groundcover or accents in woodland gardens, is perfectly pleasing along paths and walkways and even looks fantastic in containers.

Hakonechloa macra
Soil: Moist but Well Drained
Soil that allows water to drain at a moderate rate, without the water pooling.
Growth Rate: Medium
Expect to see moderate growth during growing season.
Water Requirement: Medium
Once it is established, this plant is likely to only require watering during drier periods.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Part Shade
Enjoys several hours of direct sunlight but may enjoy dappling or shade at midday.
Eventual Height: 0.5m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 0.5m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Deciduous
Sheds all its foliage annually, so for a period of the year it will be without foliage.

Expert Tip

The foliage of Hakone Grass is very reactive to wind, producing a distinctive gentle rustling sound and attractive movement that it is famed for.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Hakonechloa macra is best grown in part shade, planted in humus rich, consistently moist, well-drained soil. Though it is not at its best, it can tolerate close to full shade.

In midsummer Hakonechloa flowers bloom with light purple inflorescence which fades to tan before dropping off over the course of several weeks.

Compared to many of the cultivars, the original green species tends to be the fastest grower and has a slightly larger ultimate size.

(Images from garden designed by Olivia Rossi, Cali Rand and landscaped by Belderbos Landscapes)

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