Landscape Spotlight: Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’

Posted October 31, 2019 in Blog

Landscape designers and gardeners are always looking for plants that thrive in full shade with several distinguishable attributes to benefit the darker areas in the garden. This bright lime green to yellow highlighted grass got a nod from the ‘gods of horticulture’ by winning the Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year in 2009 and the coveted Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit in 1993. Hence, along with these plant connoisseurs, this plant is on our top favorite plant list too!

Growing Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola.’

This coveted ornamental plant grows naturally and hails from Hakone, Japan, near Mt. Fuji. Due to its native roots, this landscape spotlight is best in an environment with rich to loamy, well-drained soil. But the plant’s true splendor comes from the light and bright narrow green stripes in its leaves, giving a shady landscape colorful visibility. If given 4-6 early morning sunlight hours, the leaves will warm up to a light yellow and bring out its golden elegance. You will find that its lush leaves look like a cascading waterfall and is a wonderful garden asset on slopes, draping over rocks and walls. During cooler temperatures, the leaves will emerge hints of pink and red, giving more interesting attributes and color in the part-shade to the shade garden. Of course, we always love to report when a plant is deer resistant and this beauty is not typically on their picnic list!  This quality is always a plus for any homeowner.

Because Japanese Forest Grass spreads by rhizomes slowly, dividing it will not be needed very often. In the winter, the grass can be cut back and covered with mulch or leaves. The following spring, the mulch is brushed away, and the new shoots will begin to sprout and grow to its notable lushness, brightening every dark corner of the landscape.

Companion Plantings

When creating a landscape design, we need to be fully cognizant of plants that complement each other with various leaf shapes, colors, textures, heights and spreads that mix well together. It’s rare to find an ornamental grass that grows well in the shade, so this is an exceptionally extraordinary surprise! We suggest combining this plant with a ground cover such as Ajuga ‘Burgandy Glow.’ To accent the pink and red hues in the leaves, Astilbe ‘Montgomery’s burgundy plumes play nicely with Japanese Forest Grass and be a beautiful contrast in color with its golden cascade of narrow leaves. Heucherella ‘Eye Spy’ is another lovely planting to accentuate the pinkish accents in the leaves of the Hakonechloa macra and its distinctive burgundy veining. The purple flower stalk on this heucherella is also a delightful contrast to the chartreuse of the grass. Talking purple, we also suggest to team the Japanese Forest Grass with an unusual fern, our previously highlighted Japanese Painted Fern! Intertwining and mingling these plants within the landscape provide a beautiful mix of color and texture, sure to make all guests smile!

Use Experts for Trouble Spots

Often, problem spots within the landscape and backyard can stump a homeowner, and that’s ok!  Being passionate about outdoor living isn’t everyone’s forte but that’s where MasterPLAN Outdoor Living can offer guidance!

Serving the Poconos, Lehigh Valley through the Main Line of Philadelphia and western New Jersey, MasterPLAN would love to partner with you to uncover the true potential of your property and custom tailor an outdoor living design to perfectly fit your family, home and lifestyle.  Our Love Your Design Guarantee ensures that our design collaboration will be a true success and our meticulous installation is second to none.

If you would like to open the conversation about reimagining your own outdoor living spaces, reach out to MasterPLAN.  We would love to welcome you into the family and help you live your best life outdoors!

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