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How To Grow And Care For The Hakone Grass (Hakonechloa macra)

The Hakonechloa macra, also known as the Japanese forest grass or Hakone grass, is an ornamental perennial grass native to the mountains of Japan.

How To Grow And Care For The Hakone Grass (Hakonechloa macra)

Hakonechloa macra belong to the Poaceae family of grasses and are mostly used as an outdoor flowering plant. They are considered evergreen or semi-evergreen plants; this is determined by the climate of the plant’s habitat.

The Japanese forest grass features beautiful long, flat, blade-like leaves that appear in a variety of colors: some solid, some variegated, while others are striped. It is a slow-growing plant that exhibits an arching growth pattern where its foliage grows from the base and begins to cascade into a neat clump below.

Hakonechloa macra are considered non-toxic and safe around cats and dogs. When provided with the proper care, the Hakone grass can reach an average height and width of about 18 inches.

Botanical nameHakonechloa macra.
Common nameJapanese forest grass, Hakone grass.
Size12 to 18 inches high.
LightingPartial shade.
SoilMoist but also well-drained.
Soil pH 6 to 7.
FertilizerOrganic mulch.
ToxicityNot toxic.

Hakonechloa Macra Care

Hakonechloa Macra Care
Caragh Nurseries

Japanese forest grass is considered low maintenance. Much work is mostly needed during its formative years. Once maturity is attained, they tend to require less care and attention.

Light Requirements

Japanese forest grass is mostly found growing in woodland areas which are covered by canopies of foliage. They grow well under low light conditions.

You can grow the Hakone grass in partial to full shade. When exposed to bright light for a long time, it can lead to scorching of its leaves.

Japanese forest grass grown under partial shade tends to be brighter in color. If you want your Japanese forest grass to have a darker shade of green, grow it under full shade.

Soil Requirements

The ideal soil type for growing Japanese forest grass will be one that’s rich in humus, moist, and well-drained. Avoid growing in soggy soil as this can cause damage to the roots of the plant.

When growing outdoors in colder regions, cover the top of the soil with mulching materials to help prevent loss of water.

If you wish to grow in a container, ensure the soil is well-drained. To achieve this, mix perlite or coco peat with the soil. This should help increase aeration within the soil.

Make a couple of holes under the container or pot to ensure excess water is drained out.

Water Requirements

Water Requirements

When it comes to watering the Japanese forest grass, do it with the aim of keeping the soil moist and at the same time preventing water logging.

As a slow-growing plant, it is important to provide young Japanese forest grass plants with enough water. When they become established, they can survive with less water.

Watering should be carried out 2 to 3 times per week, depending on how fast your soil dries. Also, do not allow the plant to go without water for long.

Fertilizer Requirements

Japanese forest grass can survive without any form of fertilization provided the soil is rich in humus. Cover the soil with enough organic mulching materials so as to provide nutrients and prevent water loss.

But for better and faster growth, you can fertilize the plant in its first month when new growth appears. Use a slow-release, well-balanced fertilizer for this purpose.

For potted plants, use a soluble fertilizer to feed the plant. Do this once or twice every month.

Temperature And Humidity

Japanese forest grass performs better when grown in cold and humid environments. Growing under extreme temperatures can cause irreversible damage to the plant.

If you’re growing Japanese forest grass in a hot climate, make sure you give it enough water to keep the soil moist, give it enough shade to keep it from getting too hot and cover the soil with enough mulching materials to keep the roots cool.


Conifer Kingdom

The fastest and easiest method for propagating the Japanese forest grass plant is through division.

Start by selecting a healthy plant that’s free from disease. Using a shovel, dig out the plant from the soil, taking care not to destroy its root system.

Use a garden knife to divide the clump into sections. Ensure each part has healthy roots around them.

Replant each clump in humus-rich soil that’s moist and also located in a shaded area.

Common Health Problems/Pests And Diseases

The Japanese forest grass is somewhat immune to most pests and diseases. But if you notice your plant is being attacked by a pest, spray insecticidal soap mixed with water all over the plant. This will deter and keep pests away from your plants.


Is Japanese forest grass toxic to pests?

No. Japanese forest grass is considered non-toxic and safe for pets and children.

How large can Japanese forest grass grow?

Japanese forest grass can grow up to 12 to 18 inches high and wide.

What is the easiest way to propagate Japanese forest grass?

Clump division is the fastest and easiest method you can use to propagate Japanese forest grass.

Can Japanese forest grass be grown in containers?

Yes. Japanese forest grass can be grown in pots and containers. Make sure the bottom has drainage holes.

Can Japanese forest grass be grown indoors?

Yes. You can grow them indoors, but ensure they are watered and kept away from direct sunlight.