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Hakonechloa macra Aureola, more commonly known as Golden Hakonechloa, is an ornamental grass, highly prized for its stunning foliage. Unlike most other grasses, this cultivar thrives in dimly lit and moist areas, making it a great choice for shady sites.
The signature, bamboo-like foliage of this deciduous grass appears in early spring. Varying from vivid golden-yellow to variegated, buttery-yellow striped with green, the narrow, arching leaves form a tufted mound. As the autumn approaches, the foliage turns to coppery, reddish shades. Although this perennial blossoms in the summer, the minuscule flowers often go unnoticed.
A Japanese native, Golden Hakonechloa is one of the very few ornamental grasses that is not finicky about its location. Flourishing in a wide range of conditions, this deciduous grass tolerates full sun to full shade, and moist, well-drained, fertile soils, regardless of their type. However, different planting locations will have a different impact on the look of the foliage. For example, the sunnier the location, the leaves will be more vivid yellow, whereas in full shade, the foliage will turn to shades of green. For most striking features, plant Hakonechloa macra Aureola in partial shade, where the strong sun won’t damage the foliage, and the plant will have enough light to develop striking variegated leaves. Typically forming dense, cascading mounds, this compact grass with a spreading habit is between 30 and 60 centimetres high and across, when established.
Resilient and tough, Hakonechloa macra Aureola thrives even in the severest European climates. Easily surviving temperatures well below -20 degrees, this perennial grass is fully hardy in all of the UK. Generally pest and disease free, this plant is really easy to grow and care for. Considering its tough and adaptable nature, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Hakonechloa macra Aureola is a recipient of the Award of Garden Merit by Royal Horticultural Society.
Unlike other cultivars, the graceful, elegant shape of this decorative grass requires no extensive maintenance to keep its striking features. Simply cut back any dead or damaged stems in late winter, when the plant is dormant, and this perennial will just grow stronger and more spectacular in the spring.
A popular choice for Japanese gardens, Hakonechloa macra Aureola is a versatile ornamental grass that can be used in mixed borders, or grown in containers as a statement plant. When planted alongside other ornamental grasses or flowering shrubs in a mixed border, it works best as a front-row plant. It won’t mind the shade from other, taller plants, and its spectacular foliage will accentuate other plants in the border, which also makes it great for underplanting trees. Its tolerance to dimly lit locations makes it ideal as a ground cover, as its bring texture and colour to spaces in the garden where most other plants wouldn’t flourish.
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