Japanese Forest Grass, also known as Hakonechloa macra, is a beautiful ornamental grass that originates from the forests of Japan. It is highly valued for its graceful and delicate appearance, making it a popular choice for gardens and landscapes around the world. In this glossary, we will explore the various aspects of Japanese Forest Grass, including its characteristics, cultivation, and uses.


Japanese Forest Grass is a perennial grass that typically grows in clumps, reaching a height of 12 to 18 inches. It has long, arching leaves that are narrow and linear in shape, with a vibrant green color. The foliage of this grass is its main attraction, as it creates a cascading effect that adds a touch of elegance to any garden. In the fall, the leaves turn shades of gold, orange, and red, providing a stunning display of autumn colors.


Japanese Forest Grass thrives in partial shade to full shade, making it an excellent choice for areas in the garden that receive limited sunlight. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and can tolerate a wide range of soil types, including clay and sandy soils. This grass is relatively low-maintenance and does not require frequent watering or fertilization. However, it is important to keep the soil consistently moist, especially during hot and dry periods.


Japanese Forest Grass can be propagated through division or by collecting and sowing its seeds. Division is the most common method and is typically done in early spring or fall. To divide the grass, carefully dig up the clump and separate it into smaller sections, ensuring that each section has roots attached. Replant the divisions in prepared soil, making sure to water them thoroughly. Seed propagation is less common and requires collecting the seeds when they are ripe and sowing them in a well-prepared seedbed.


Japanese Forest Grass is primarily used as an ornamental grass in gardens and landscapes. Its graceful and delicate appearance makes it a popular choice for borders, rock gardens, and woodland gardens. It can also be planted in containers or used as a ground cover to add texture and interest to the landscape. Additionally, Japanese Forest Grass is often used in Japanese-style gardens, where it complements the overall aesthetic and creates a sense of tranquility.

Companion Plants

Japanese Forest Grass pairs well with a variety of plants, including ferns, hostas, and other shade-loving perennials. The contrasting textures and colors of these plants create a visually appealing combination and enhance the overall beauty of the garden. Some recommended companion plants for Japanese Forest Grass include Astilbe, Heuchera, and Tiarella. When choosing companion plants, it is important to consider their light and moisture requirements to ensure they are compatible with the growing conditions of the grass.


Japanese Forest Grass is a relatively low-maintenance plant, but it does require some care to keep it looking its best. Regular watering is essential, especially during dry periods, to prevent the grass from drying out. Mulching around the base of the plant can help retain moisture and suppress weed growth. In the spring, it is recommended to cut back the old foliage to make way for new growth. This can be done by trimming the grass to a few inches above the ground.

Pests and Diseases

Japanese Forest Grass is generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, it can occasionally be affected by slugs and snails, which may feed on the leaves and cause damage. To control these pests, handpicking or using organic slug and snail baits can be effective. It is also important to ensure good air circulation around the plants to prevent the development of fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew. If necessary, fungicides can be used to treat fungal infections.

Winter Care

Japanese Forest Grass is hardy and can withstand cold temperatures. However, in regions with harsh winters, it may benefit from some winter protection. Applying a layer of mulch around the base of the plant can help insulate the roots and protect them from freezing. It is also important to avoid excessive moisture during the winter, as this can lead to root rot. Overall, Japanese Forest Grass is a resilient plant that can survive and thrive in various climatic conditions.


There are several varieties of Japanese Forest Grass available, each with its own unique characteristics. Some popular varieties include ‘Aureola’, which has golden-yellow foliage with green stripes, and ‘All Gold’, which has bright golden-yellow foliage. ‘Beni-Kaze’ is another notable variety, known for its red-tinged leaves. These varieties offer a range of colors and patterns, allowing gardeners to create diverse and visually appealing displays.

Landscaping Ideas

Japanese Forest Grass can be used in various landscaping ideas to create stunning and harmonious designs. It can be planted along pathways or in clusters to create focal points in the garden. Combining different varieties of Japanese Forest Grass can add depth and texture to the landscape. Pairing it with other shade-loving plants, such as ferns and hostas, can create a lush and vibrant garden. The possibilities are endless, and with a little creativity, Japanese Forest Grass can transform any outdoor space into a tranquil and beautiful retreat.