Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’

gold variegated Japanese forest grass

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' is an elegant grass worthy of a spot in every garden. Its narrow, arching leaves are striped with bright green and gold. They ripple in the gentlest breeze and add vitality to the garden. This grass has many uses: as a groundcover, to edge a pathway, cascading down a bank like a golden waterfall or setting off shrubs or other perennials. It is sensational in a container.In late summer, Japanese forest grass produces airy seedheads that dance above its foliage. As fall temperatures cool, the foliage takes on pink tints, finally turning butterscotch before collapsing in winter. The late Elisabeth Carey Miller, an influential Seattle-area garden, is said to have the first plant of this in the Pacific Northwest. It is a wide patch now, at least 6 feet across.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: perennial

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 1 ft. 6 in. (0.46 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

Sun/Light Exposure: light to dappled shade

Water Requirements: regular watering during dry weather

Resistant to: deer

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: silver, bronze, burgundy

Great Color Partners: gold, chartreuse, dark green

Culture Notes
Plant this Japanese forest grass in well-drained soil with light to dappled shade, avoid hot afternoon sun. Provide regular watering during dry weather to keep the grass looking lush and full. It can be divided in winter to early spring before the new foliage starts to emerge. Fall color is a pleasant straw tone; once it browns it can be cut to the ground.