Perennials / Plants I'm Loving

Garden Clubs rule the world… one plant at a time

Last Monday evening, I had the pleasure of speaking to the South St. Paul Garden Club’s March meeting. It was a great night of hanging with the gardening peeps. Garden clubs are such a great way to connect with fellow gardeners, to share info and ideas, and during a winter like we are having, help each other endure.

hakone grass

Hakone Grass. Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola.' A great grass for sun or full shade.

Though the thrust of the talk was on water gardening, I was reminded of one of my favorite garden perennials, Hakone grass, Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola.’

This grass will thrive in full shade (full sun, too) and gives you an arching form, with a wowza, pop of chartreuse greenish/yellow, like nothing else can do.

Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ garden drama

Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ livens up a shady garden bed.

Though this plant has been rated as a zone 5 plant (we are zone 4 here in central Minnesota) I know many gardeners who overwinter it successfully year after year in zone 4. It does sprout a bit late in the spring, be patient it will soon take off!

In a few years, you will be able to divide your grass and spread it throughout your yard. Hakone grass loves a nice, fertile planting hole, so incorporate some compost in when you plant it. Steady moisture is great, but it will tolerate some dryness, from my experience.

Variegated ribbon grass garden drama

Variegated ribbon grass is invasive. Hakone grass is not. Restrict ribbon grass to a bed flanked by sidewalks and it will stay in check. Here it is paired with a 'Niobe' clematis and Lobelia 'Royal Palace.'

At the garden club talk on Monday, a member asked about invasiveness.  a great question, as hakone grass does resemble the striped variegated grass that will quickly take over any bed in which it rests. But worry not, Hakone grass stays nicely in check. You will even wish it was more of a spreader after you grow to love it in your yard.

Get it.

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