Hakonechloa: A Welcomed Grass for the Garden Beds

Hakonechloa is commonly known as Hakon Grass or Japanese Forest Grass. With vibrant hues and arching growth, this low-maintenance plant is one grass you will want in the garden bed!

Hakonechloa comes in shades of vibrant green, blue, and gold and offers a bright contrast of color and movement in the garden. It can also serve as a filler plant amongst taller perennials or as erosion control on sloped areas. Gardeners will love its ability to thrive with little attention and the fall coloring that this grass provides. 

Hardy, Deer-Resistant, and Stunning Color

Hakonechloa averages 1-3’ in height and needs little care once established. It is resistant to deer, rabbits and most other garden pests. It does well in containers, beds, sloped areas or rock walls, making it a versatile choice for every garden. As the temperatures drop in the fall, Hakonechloa changes to fall colors. It’s a relatively slow-growing plant, so be patient and you will be rewarded with gorgeous texture and color.

Planting and Care

Hakonechloa prefers partial-shade areas with moist soil. A good rule of thumb is that anywhere a Hosta will thrive, is a good location for Hakonechloa as well. Zones 5-9 can plant this perennial in spring. However, the planting location is dependent on the foliage color. Hakonechloa with green foliage can tolerate a little sun with partial shade. Golden foliaged or variegated Hakonechloa require more shade to avoid sun-scorched leaves. 

When you have chosen the location, dig a hole about 6” wide and as deep as the plant’s pot. Loosen the roots gently and insert the plant. Add soil around the plant, tamping it down gently. Water deeply to help the plant settle into place. Plant additional grasses at least 2’ apart to give them space to fill out. If planting in a pot, choose a pot at least 3-4” larger than the nursery pot with adequate drainage holes.

During the first year in your garden, add a generous layer of compost after planting. There should be no additional fertilizer needed for that first year. In subsequent years, add a slow-release fertilizer in the spring just as the plant breaks dormancy.

Hakonechloa is not a year-round plant, so prune back to the crown in late fall. Adding a layer of compost for winter protection can be helpful in colder zones.  To propagate this perennial, after a completed growing season, dig up the plant in spring and divide the rhizomes with a sharp spade into multiple clumps. Replant as you would a new plant. 

Three favorites for us this season are: Aureola, All Gold, and Beni Kaze.