Japanese Forest Grass, Hakonechloa - care and cutting

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Poaceae). As the German name implies, it comes from Japan, where it is found in sparse forests, in moist forest fringes and rocky cliffs on the main island Honshu. The botanical name is Hakonechloa macra.
In fact, the Japanese forest grass is the only species of the genus Hakonechloa. However, there are numerous variants that differ in color and growth. The Japanese forest grass is particularly attractive and also quite easy to care for.
Look and features of the Japanese forest grass
The wild form with its rich green leaves is rare in this country. The more common are the different breeding forms in local gardens. The growth height of this herbaceous ornamental grass is 30 to 70 cm, usually varieties of about 40 cm plant height are planted. The long, thin leaves are lanceolate. They grow slightly upwards and then bend downwards in a bow, which looks like a waterfall. This overhang is very decorative and elegant and looks very nice even in a flower trough. Hakonechloa grows very slowly and there is no danger that this plant overgrows the garden. In the late spring it sprouts and can then be propagated by simple division of the rootstock. In the period from August to October the Japanese forest grass is blooming. It forms inconspicuous spikes (panicles) with three to five flowers.
Claims to light and ground
The Japanese Forest Grass loves it half shady to absonnig. Both too much sun and too much shade let the distinct colors fade. The plant feels most comfortable in a location where it is irradiated by the morning or evening sun. The soil should be fresh to moist and rich in nutrients and humus. Sandy-loamy soil is ideal, even fine gravel soil is tolerated when it is loosened up. Even if the Japanese forest grass is very adaptable, one should avoid waterlogging. Calcareous soils do not like the plant, but prefer slightly acidic soils. The plant grows in the wood or on the woody edge, but is also suitable for stone plants and open spaces. It is important that it is not exposed to direct sunlight because it does not thrive there well.
Since she loves moist soil, she should be watered regularly. This is especially recommended in the first year. Thematically, the Japanese forest grass naturally fits in Japanese or Asian ornamental gardens, but is also well suited as a ground cover for trees and shrubs. It works well in combination with ferns and sweet lilies (Funkia) and is also suitable for trimming paths. Especially in partially shaded corners of the garden the Japanese forest grass sets decorative accents.
Plant and care for Japanese forest grass
It is advisable to plant the plants at a distance of 40 to 60 cm from each other. You should put four, at most six plants per square meter. Groups of five to ten plants give a nice cover, but also individually, the plant is an eye-catcher, once it is fully grown. The Japanese forest grass should be planted in spring if possible. Since she does not handle cold temperatures, she has time to get strong. For the same reason you should not cut back the leaves in the fall, because they provide some winter protection. In our latitudes, the Japanese forest grass proves to be winter-proof, in young plants and in frost, but a winter protection from brushwood, leaves or fleece is recommended. Otherwise the plant is very easy to care for. The leaves are cut back in the spring. It is also advisable to add complete fertilizer once a year at the same time.
Well-known varieties the Hakonechloa and its specialties

  1. The best known variety is the Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola', This variety has bright green leaves with a narrow green border and a green line in the middle of the leaves. It grows bushy to about 35 cm in height and has attractive reddish stems. With too much sunlight, however, the attractive coloring disappears. The diameter is 40 to 50 cm.
  2. Especially decorative are the "golden" varieties. The Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold' grows upright and is more pointed-leaved than other varieties. The color is actually green-yellow, which is perceived as golden. The shoot is bright green-yellow and has red sheaths on. The stems are about 30 cm high. Overall, the plant has a very fresh look. Again, avoid direct sunlight as it attacks the leaves.
  3. More tolerant than other varieties is the Hakonechloa macra 'Albo Striata', It has green leaves with white stripes, the stems also have a white border. It grows a little faster than other varieties, but still takes two years to develop its full effect.
  4. Hakonechloa macra 'Beni Kaze' unfolds in the warm season a lush green. In autumn, the leaves are partly reddish.
Care of the Japanese Forest Grass in the near future
  • Planting time: spring (recommended)
  • Habitat: partially shaded to absonned
  • Growth: slow-growing, lawn-like groundcover, arched overhanging
  • Foliage: long narrow fresh green leaves, very beautiful bronze autumn color
  • Grouping: individually or four to six per square meter
  • Soil: fresh, moist soil, slightly acidic, nutritious
  • Irrigation: regularly (at least recommended in the first year)
  • Fertilization: once a year in spring
  • Flowering period: August to October with unremarkable spikes
  • Cut: near the ground in spring
  • Over-wintering: Container plants can stay outside with a protected bucket, but also prefer to protect planted Japanese forest grasses
  • Propagation: division of the clumps in the spring
Conclusion: Many names, one plant
The Japanese forest grass is also called Japan mountain grass or Japanese mountain grass, Japanese forest grass or simply Japan grass. Also with the designations Japan-Zwergschilf and Goldbandgras is Hakonechloa macra meant. The easy-care plant is a beautiful sight both individually and as a ground cover, especially when a light breeze brings the leaves to the waves and the different colors come to full effect. Especially the partially shaded spots in the garden gain in splendor.

Video Board: Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' - Variegated Japanese Forest Grass.

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