The Golden Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa Macra ‘Aureola’) Care Guide


The Golden Japanese Forest Grass, otherwise known as the Hakonechloa Macra ‘Aureola’ or Hakone Grass ‘Aureola’, Japanese Forest Grass ‘Aureola’, Golden Japanese Forest Grass, Golden Hakonechloa, is a rather popular ornamental grass plant known by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and slow growth, this ornamental grass will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its yellow-colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, this is exactly what we’ll cover in this Golden Japanese Forest Grass Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Golden Japanese Forest Grass can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Golden Japanese Forest Grass grows best with regular watering to keep the soil moist during the dry season. Reduce watering once the plant is established.
  • Light: Keep your Hakonechloa Macra ‘Aureola’ in an environment where it can receive partial shade to partial sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Golden Japanese Forest Grass in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

That’s it – sunlight, water and soil! The basic 3 fundamentals for all plant care, and with the Golden Japanese Forest Grass this is no exception. With these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Golden Japanese Forest Grass belongs to the Poaceae family, the genus Hakonechloa and the species Macra, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Hakonechloa Macra ‘Aureola’ (hah-koh-neh-KLOH-ah MAK-ruh).

As with other Hakonechloa’s, the Golden Japanese Forest Grass is a herbaceous plant, which means it will die back to the ground every year. 

Growing Region

The Golden Japanese Forest Grass is a plant native to Japan.

You might be wondering why your Golden Japanese Forest Grass’s native region is important. Well, if you know where your plant originally came from, you’ll know which environment conditions it prefers, and with it, knowledge on how to replicate it at home.

With this in mind, the Hakonechloa Macra ‘Aureola’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 5 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a and the ideal climate zone is between 2B, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the Golden Japanese Forest Grass is a relatively slow grower, which makes things easy for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But, how big does the Golden Japanese Forest Grass actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…

The Hakonechloa Macra ‘Aureola’ can grow up to 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) and 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm).

These dimensions make the Golden Japanese Forest Grass a relatively medium ornamental grass compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 18″ – 24″ (45cm – 60cm) free so the Golden Japanese Forest Grass can spread to its best extent.

Watering

In terms of watering, the Golden Japanese Forest Grass is a fairly complicated plant to take care of. This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Hakonechloa Macra ‘Aureola’ grows best with regular watering to keep the soil moist during the dry season. Reduce watering once the plant is established.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Golden Japanese Forest Grass in soil with moist but well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, and occasionally wet properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

In our experience, the famous ‘thumb’ or ‘finger’ test is what works best for the Golden Japanese Forest Grass since with it, you will be able to give it the right amount of water, every time – regardless of the environment or placement where you do decide to keep it.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Golden Japanese Forest Grass prefers to have soil with good drainage, and occasionally wet properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Golden Japanese Forest Grass requires soil with high organic matter, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Golden Japanese Forest Grass requires partial shade to partial sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this ornamental grass will do well as long as you keep it in shade, or partial sun to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Hakonechloa Macra ‘Aureola’ in from full or deep shade (no direct sunlight or at most 2 hours per day), to little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to dappled or moderate shade (under other plant’s canopy).

Season

Being a herbaceous plant, the Golden Japanese Forest Grass will die back to the ground every year. But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.

Flowers

You can expect your Golden Japanese Forest Grass to flower around the summer and in the fall months from July to September (summer), and from October to December (fall).

The Golden Japanese Forest Grass produces some beautiful green, or cream/tan flowers around this time of year.

Foliage

The leaves from the Golden Japanese Forest Grass have a beautiful yellow color during most of the year.

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Golden Japanese Forest Grass is well known for its tolerance to animals like deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Hakonechloa Macra ‘Aureola’ will be fine.

Garden

Now, let’s talk garden and how your Golden Japanese Forest Grass will look best in it.

Most Hakonechloa Macra ‘Aureola’ owners agree that this ornamental grass will look great in most cottage, asian/zen and rustic gardens of all types. Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of japanese garden, informal and cottage, and in modern garden styles. 

In particular, the Golden Japanese Forest Grass’s best location within your garden is in ground covers, beds and borders, edging, and in patio and containers, others use it for landscaping in a urban garden, rock garden, mass planting, ground cover, edging, container, border, or a woodland garden.

Companion Plants

Golden Japanese Forest Grass’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Betula utilis, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Hydrangea macrophylla will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!

Conclusion

And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Golden Japanese Forest Grass to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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