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shadylady_pa

Hakone Grass Questions

shadylady_pa
17 years ago

Hi all. This is my first venture into the Ornamental Grasses forum. But I'm quickly falling in love with grasses and may be here much more often.

Anyway, I have a stream bank that I would like to line with Hakone grass of some kind. I haven't seen it for sale in my local nurseries (I'm in zone 6).

So, what I would like to know is (1) whether it would do well in a fairly wet environment. It won't be sitting in water at all, but it will probably get pretty constant moisture; (2) whether it spreads quickly enough that I would be able to buy just a few plants and divide them up; and (3) if it doesn't multiply very rapidly, where I could acquire a large number of plants inexpensively or whether I could start some from seed.

Thanks so much!

Comments (30)

  • donn_
    17 years ago

    1. It will love a stream side, as long as the soil drains.

    2. It grows slowly, compared to many other grasses.

    3. A variety of places sell 'plugs' of Hakone. An example is Green Mountain Transplants, linked below. They get $5-6 per plug in a tray of 32, so they're still pretty expensive. If they set viable seed, chances are the seeds won't come true to the parent.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Green Mountain Transplants

  • deep___roots
    17 years ago

    This species has shown up at a local Home Depot recently. One gallons run you $5.95.
    Very nice grass. Still pricey and somewhat hard to find.
    But a stunner in the landscape in the correct location.

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  • sage_lover
    17 years ago

    After seeing great photos of this plant I have wanted to try it for several years myself. In Cincinnati we have clay, alkaline soil which does not drain very well. I have not seen it planted around here and several wholesalers I use do not carry it which leads me to believe it would be unhappy in our soil. Very cool looking grass though! Would love to hear more about this grass & everones experience with it.

  • donn_
    17 years ago

    Wow! $6/gallon? I'm hitting Home Despot tomorrow. I never look at their plants, but perhaps I should start. Is it the 'Aurea' version?

  • dawgie
    17 years ago

    I bought a couple of Golden Hakones in 1-gallon pots last spring and divided them in half. They are hard to divide as the roots are wiry and hard to cut. The clumps also did not divide evenly. I am growing them on the edge of my shade bed, which is elevated and has clay soil with organic matter mixed in. They grew fairly well last summer but did not increase much in size this year. They are beautiful grasses, but not something that will grow quickly -- which actually an advantage from my viewpoint. Too many plants that grow quickly turn out to be invasive. I bought my Hakones at a nursery for about $10-12 a pot. If I could find them for $5-6, I would buy some more.

  • deep___roots
    17 years ago

    Hey Donn: yes, it is "aurea". And the pots are not really one gallons. They're a little smaller, now that I recall. But I thought it was a good deal. I bought 3.

    I hit 3 Home Depots in this area on a regular basis, but only 1 had the hakone grass. Selection from store to store can vary.

    Anyways, last year stipa "ponytails" started showing up at the Big Box stores. Maybe this year, they decided to include some Hakone.

  • donn_
    17 years ago

    Mine didn't have any grasses at all, and the plants they did have looked like candidates for the compost bin.

    I'll break down, someday, and buy some plants to divide, but in the meanwhile, I'm trying to grow Millium effusum 'Aureum' from seed. It's a poor-man's substitute. So far, only one cell has germinated.

    I'm also growing "ponytails" from seed (it's been changed from Stipa to Nasella). I have a packet from Jelitto out there, and I bought a dozen packets from Park's and will be sowing them soon. 30% off the seeds, and a 25% discount gift certificate, made them a good buy.

  • dawgie
    17 years ago

    Speaking of Home Depot, my local store is carrying Isolepsis or Optical Fiber Plant right now. Never thought I would find that there, as I haven't even seen it in any nurseries around here. I bought a pot for about $3 and it makes a nice conversation piece on my patio.

    My HD also carries Mexican Feather Grass or Nasella/Stipa for the same price and the ever-present purple fountain grass and Karl Foerster feather reed grass. Last year they carried a lot of nice grass varieties and I picked up a huge Miscanthus "Adagio" for about $6 that I divided in half, and it still made two big clumps in my garden. That has turned out to be my best ornamental grass so far, with the possible exception of N. Sea Oats.

    Grasses are so late to start growing that I think a lot of the nurseries and big box stores are just beginning to stock them for summer. Many varieties just don't grow much until the weather warms up for good. I'm hoping HD and Lowes will have some other varieties soon.

    BTW, my local Lowes just got in a shipment of black bamboo in 5-gallon pots last week. They didn't have it priced yet and the sales person didn't know the price either, but it sells for $90 a pot in the one local nursery that carries it.

  • blackie57
    17 years ago

    I saw Fiber Optic grass in my local Lowes last week. I had never seen it before and it looked incredibly interesting. I was going to buy a couple until I saw it was only hardy to zone 9. I put it back on the rack. Don't want something that's only gunna last one season....

  • dawgie
    17 years ago

    According to one of my grass books, optical fiber plant makes an excellent house plant and has very low light requirements. So I plan to bring mine inside once the weather gets too cold for it outside.

  • wyndyacre
    17 years ago

    I have several clumps of Hakone grass growing in different locations in my garden. All locations are deep shade and beneath 70 year old spruce trees which make the clay/loam soil fairly dry. In spite of that, all clumps are doing well with the best one being the one that gets the some mid-day sun. I add compost every year, mulch with finely ground evergreen woodchips and water in the driest part of the summer.

  • oldgranvilleplace
    17 years ago

    I planted three quart pots of hakon grass three years ago and two more pots the following year. Two have apparently died off, two are down to 1-2 blades, and one seems to have increased ever so slightly. They're in an area that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. Soil is nice and loamy due to years of leaves falling and composting there. What am I doing wrong??

  • gillespiegardens
    17 years ago

    sage lover:

    i live in eastern cincinnati and i have had this grass in my gardens for about 6 yrs. i had one plant ...jsut a few sprigs ) from a trade that didnt last more than 2 yrs. i purchased a small clump at a store and i also traded with another gardenwebber and added it to the existing clump. these i have had for about 4 yrs now/... and the growth is painfully slow but it is a viable healthy clump at the moment. the new location is also in a microclimate of sorts as it is now living on the side of my house.... in between me and my neighbor's home. i have it in midday sun. the first plant that died was planted under a pine tree with midday sun. i think the pine tree made the soil too dry for it. try relocating it to an area a bit sunnier but still shady and in better soil. i hope you can find just the right location for your grass. i think that is probably the key.

  • bambooo
    17 years ago

    In zone 6 give your hakone a bit more sun

  • sandy0225
    17 years ago

    Is variegated hakone grass hardy in zone 5? I have some I received last fall from Texas in a trade, kept and divided it in the greenhouse all winter, and planted out this spring. I'm just wondering if I need to dig it up this fall.
    It's growing real well here in the heavy Indiana clay soil.

  • rokal
    17 years ago

    Hey Don,

    I just bought three 1.5 gallon pots of 'Aurea' at the home depot in syosset for 9.99 ea. They didn't have many left.
    They were in full sun too ;-) HD can kill plants very quickly.

    Regards,

    Rokal

  • gillespiegardens
    17 years ago

    if you are desiring the traditional hakone grass then make sure you get Hakonechloa macra 'Aurea'
    i have found a number of hakone grasses out on the market with verrry similar names to the Aurea... or the sales person was pushing one of them as 'Aurea
    and i knew darn well it wasnt!!!!

    Sue
    "The one thing all gardeners share in common is a belief in tomorrow"

  • noki
    17 years ago

    I've got this year an macra "All Gold", which just glows a solid limey-green/yellow. pretty cool. mine has gotten bigger in almost full shade.

    all the "Aurea" I've seen for sale has looked horrible... doesnt seem to do well sitting in pots

  • lyael
    17 years ago

    Does hakone grass not grow in Southern California? I'm in San Diego (Sunset zone 23) and can't find it anywhere. I'll order some online, but don't want to bring it here if it won't survive. Thanks!

    Laura

  • donn_
    17 years ago

    It may be too hot a zone for Hakone. The books say up to zone 9, and they all say it likes a cool and moist environment.

  • helenlaura
    17 years ago

    I have some 10 hakone macra 'aurea' plants. Originally planted it in a public garden under gingkos, all shade but soil dries FAST, problem to keep it moist enuf. It was failing, so dug up the hakone and got some mugo pines for the public garden, they are doing great. Moved the hakone to a spot alongside a pond where they would get watered daily, and they also get about an hour's full sun. They are growing beautifully in their first year! I'm nuts for them. Have lancifolia alongside, good contrast, especially with the lavendar flower. The hakone are limey-yellow green, gorgeous! Yes, they are hardy.

  • xanadu
    17 years ago

    I have several clumps of H. 'Aureomarginata' and H. 'Aurea' in large pots. They have spread slowly but well in shade with consistent moisture. Last year I found some sad looking stubs in small pots neglected in a nursery and bought all of them for $2.50 each. They all survived and bounced back. A lucky find.

  • linden_ab
    17 years ago

    I found a hakonechloa albostriata just a few weeks ago at a local nursery. Have been looking for any kind for quite awhile. have planted it in a shady area that gets good moisture, will protect if overwinter (scary in my zone3/4) and hope for the best!

  • rainshine
    16 years ago

    Has anyone planted this in heavy shade? in planters? Can anyone recommend a good grass for dry shade? and is it good in pots or planters?

  • wheatfish
    16 years ago

    I just bought a sorry looking gallon pot of hakone 'aurea'--it was a late season sale and a very good buy. I'm thinking with loving care I can encourage it to become a beautiful clump. However, does anyone know if you cut it back in the fall? (Or in the spring?) Or do you not cut it back at all but just leave it be to take care of itself?

  • marilynhall
    10 years ago

    I'm having a big problem with Hakone self-seeding. I don't know the variety -- not aurea. It was originally variegated but became solid green within a season. I'm yanking armloads of grass from my pachysandra. I can't find anyone who has had this experience (aurea is certainly well-behaved). One the other hand, the clump that I planted is lovely! Anyone else know what this thug is?

  • donn_
    10 years ago

    I've never heard or read of Hakone self-seeding. I have a few dozen of 4-5 cultivars, and even in a much warmer climate, have never had a volunteer. Offsets will sometimes appear as much as a foot away from the mother plant, but there is a physical connection, and the clump fills in the space in a season or two.

    Are you sure the invader is Hakone?

  • noki
    10 years ago

    I have been very surprised at how tough Hakone grass is once established, mine have handled the summer heat wave and drought quite well, even with some direct sun. I rarely watered them.

    I have Beni Kaze and it gets quite a bit of sun, and it does fine, no browning at all. I have an All Gold which gets a couple of hours of hot afternoon sun, and it handles it well, just sort of bleaches more yellow. The All Gold that I have in shade looks more delicate and turns light green. Hakone does look more artistic and flowing in full shade, but stays good looking with the heat.

    Hakone is slow to grow at first and I would water on a regular basis the first and second year.

  • Dave Constantine
    7 years ago

    I work at a garden center in Central Michigan. We keep this grass in full shade and it does beautifully there. However, you can plant it in full sun but risk burning the leaves if you do so. We sell 4 inch pots for $3.99. What a deal.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    7 years ago

    There seems to be some name confusion on this thread :-) The golden variegated form of hakone grass is 'Aureola' not aurea; the fully gold one is called 'All Gold' and the green and white/cream variegated form is 'Albostriata' ('Fubuki' is similar but more heavily variegated with cream so a much brighter, lighter appearing grass).