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Japanese Forest Grass

Japanese Forest Grass forms a beautiful mound of thin, graceful leaves reminiscent of a miniature bamboo.

This is a great way to brighten up a shady spot. The golden leaves offer color and texture that are hard to find in shade loving plants.

This perennial grass is slow growing, so it won't overtake your borders. The way the leaves fall it can remind you of flowing water, cascading over rocks. It spreads by underground rhizomes.

The amount of shade it has will affect its color. Complete shade will make it green. Dappled or partial shade will make it bright gold. Bright sun will make it almost white. Beware of full sun in hot regions as it may burn the plant.

Tiny blooms appear in mid to late summer, but they are usually not very noticeable. They do not produce a viable seed. Flower stalks turn orange or bronze in the fall to complement the orange and red leaves.

Landscaping Ideas For Forest Grass

Plant Japanese forest grass in a woodland garden or under tall trees. It makes a wonderful focal point. It also looks lovely when planted in drifts.

This grass works well in containers on the deck, but you need to protect pots during the winter in an unheated garage.

Plant with hosta, mugo pine and heuchera for great contrast in texture and color.

Japanese forest grass also makes a wonderful light colored background for dark flowers like "Queen of Night" tulips or burgundy astilbe. Leaves can be used in cut flower arrangements for a unique greenery.

Planting And Care

This grass loves a nice rich soil that is evenly moist. It reappears slowly in the spring, so be prepared to wait it out in colder regions. Keep it moist but not wet.

The plant dies back to the ground in winter, but fall will treat you to a change of color that will keep you captivated. The golden leaves turn orange and then red before browning and dying for the winter.

This plant does take awhile to establish itself due to its slow growth habit. Clumps can eventually reach two feet in height and up to three feet wide, although they usually remain smaller.

Grass Information

  • Scientific Name: Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold'

  • Best Soil: Moist, well-drained

  • Light Needs: Partial sun

  • Growth Rate: Slow

  • Foliage Color: Yellow

  • Flower Color: Inconspicuous

  • Bloom Time: Midsummer

  • Mature Size: Grows to 18 inches tall and wide in spreading clumps

  • Watering: Moderate watering

  • Hardiness Zone: 4 - 9

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