I Love Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’

Apr 20, 2019 | Gardens

Name: Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ aka yellow Hakon grass, aka yellow Japanese forest grass.

Type of Plant Low, graceful clumping grass that likes part-shade and adds color and texture to the garden from spring until hard frost. Growing a foot and a half tall and wide, this plant is hardy in Zones 5-9.

Why I Love/Hate this plant: I love plants that have foliage in colors other than green, and this grass is one of them. I love plants that have different textures – not just tiny green leaves, but flowing, graceful foliage – this is one of them. And I love plants that grow thickly enough to smother weeds…again, this is one of those plants. In other words, what’s not to love?

A Word to the Wise: Don’t cut your hakon grass down in the fall. Let it stay all winter. Not only is it attractive when it’s golden brown and still a graceful element in the garden, but leaving it helps the plant to be stronger and survive the winter well. Cut them down in March or early April.

Also, although you will see this listed as a grass for shade, it’s actually happiest in part-sun. Plant this where it will get three to four hours of direct sunshine in the morning or late afternoon.

This is how the yellow hakon grass looks in my garden right now, in late-April.

Here is a garden where this plant was very effectively used near a walkway.

Although Aureola is bright yellow in the spring, it mellows to a butter yellow in the summer and fall.



  1. Nancy Evans

    CL I have a somewhat related question. I live on the shore of Buzzards Bay. The SW wind drives right up the yard, which is atop a 20 ft slope. I am redoing what I loosely call lawn and wish to plant drought resistant grass. Do you have a recommendation for a salt tolerant drought resistant grass. My investigations led me to Black Beauty.
    What do you think?
    Thanks. Nancy

    • CL Fornari

      Black Beauty is a mix of mostly fescue varieties, and these are drought tolerant. So if you want turf on that slope that would be a fine seed to use.


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