The Perennial Plant Association 2009 'Perennial Plant of the Year'
"A golden waterfall" or a "golden ocean swaying to and fro"; these are some of the words used to describe this unique ornamental grass. Bright yellow leaf blades are accented with narrow green stripes which flush to shades of pink and red in the cool fall temperatures.
Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' or Golden Japanese Forest Grass forms dense, low-growing clumps that grow upward, then the arching stems cascade gracefully downward creating the effect of a golden waterfall! This provides an opportunity for many different landscape uses!
This elegant grass is wonderful used as an edging along a shaded garden path, as an accent plant to cascade over a rock wall, as a ground cover, or even in a container where the bright foliage will spill over the sides softening the edges of your container.
One of the great qualities of this grass is that it can grow in sun or shade. It can really light up a shady corner of the garden! I know I say that a lot about certain hosta and Heuchera, but this grass provides a whole different effect in the garden. The slightest breeze sets the whole clump in motion and gives the impression of flowing water! Speaking of hosta and Heuchera, these perennials make excellent garden companions for Hakonechloa. The darker green and blue leaved hosta really set off the golden color of the grass. Imagine the impact of the golden variegated foliage against some of the burgundy or red leaved Heuchera, like Heuchera 'Hollywood' or 'Midnight Rose'. What a stunning accent in the shady garden! Other good neighbors include Astilbe, Japanese anemone, Epimedium, Dicentra, and Alchemilla.
In deeper shade, the leaves lose some of their variegation and become more lime green rather than golden yellow. In hotter climates, it benefits from some shade.
Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' grows best in moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil. If you have heavy clay soil or poor drainage, be sure to amend the soil with plenty of organic material to improve the drainage. Dry sandy soil can cause browning of the leaves due to leaf scorch; adding organic material will help retain moisture in the soil.
Hakonechloa is a creeping grass, but spreads very slowly and does not become invasive. If necessary, it can be divided in the spring once the new foliage begins to grow. It dies back in the winter; cut the old stems to the ground in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. This wonderful grass is hardy in Zones 5-9.