Hacking Hakone

We have long admired the clumping Japanese hakone grass, Hakonechloa macra, but struggled to make them happy in our heat and humidity. We could get them to barely survive, but never look as lovely as they do in cooler climates.

Unfortunately, there are very few plants with the texture, form, and shade tolerance of hakone grass, so choosing a good substitute isn’t really an option. We continued to try each newly introduced cultivar, but none thrived, until the arrival of Hakonechloa macra ‘SunFlare’. We first acquired this selection in 2017, and have been over the moon thrilled with its performance since that time. The photo below was taken this spring of our oldest six-year-old clump. Hardiness is Zone 5a-7b.

Hakonechloa macra ‘SunFlare’

5 thoughts on “Hacking Hakone”

  1. Is Sun Flare not quite as golden as All Gold? it’s hard to tell from photo. ‘All Gold’ does very well here.
    I am able to grow Hakonechloa macra in Asheville so far. One planted out is quite beautiful and big in just two years – maybe spreading crown is 15-18″. Another was kept in a 2 gal. container for 2 years, grew but not as big. I just divided it into 3 pieces and planted in my woods this Spring. I love H. macra but have been unable to find it in the Asheville area. Mine came mail order.

  2. WOW! I too have longed to be able to grow Hakone grass in northeast Texas. I may have to get a couple to try out. Thanks for your persistence on finding plants that take our southern heat & humidity (and warm summer nights – that may still be a deal breaker, since I suspect your average summer nights are cooler than ours).

  3. Catherine Newing

    I grow this in Australia Macedon , Victoria ( though I did not purchase it as a named cultivar ) We have had 3 years of
    La Ninia and the growth of hakonecloa has ben a delight in a pot on my balcony
    We could never hope to plant it in the ground as we are far too dry … At times I am really jealous of all you can grow in your climate
    But then I can grow other wonderful plants
    Thankyou for your blog . In these times of Climate change all of us will be exploring something new but as gardeners we support biodiversity

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