Friday, February 27, 2009

2009 Perennial Plant of the Year

The Perennial Plant Association has named the 2009 Perennial of the Year and it is Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola' .

Each year the Plant of the Year is chosen by a vote from the Perennial Plant Association members. Members nominate plants for Plant of the Year based on the following criteria:

  • Suitable for a wide range of climatic conditions
  • Low maintenance
  • Pest and disease resistant
  • Readily available in the year of release
  • Multiple season of ornamental interest
  • Easily propagated by asexual or seed propagation

Otherwise known as Japanese Forest Grass, this plant grows in Zones 5 through 9 in full sun to part shade. It will take full sun in the north and requires at least part shade in the hotter south. It prefers moist hummus-rich, well drained soils and will not do well in heavy clay. It grows to 18” in height to 3’ wide.


The bright variegated color should succeed in brightening up dark shady places. I think broader leaved plants such as hostas or fatsias would make a nice contrast to the Japanese Forest Grass, as well as brightly colored oriental lilys or even impatiens. Alliums would be fascinating poking out of this stuff!


It makes a nice plant to view up close and personal and its weeping habit would certainly draw the eye down to the horizontal surface of any water feature or patio.


Isn’t it a beauty?!


I can’t wait to try it in my own garden this year!

This week, I'm hooked on perennials. To see what others are hooked on this Friday, go visit Hooked on Houses.


  1. I love hakonechloa! Have it in my own garden as well as use it for clients. Here in California it needs part to full shade but has done fine in my garden in clay soil - plants can be quite resilient, even in less than ideal conditions.

    It generally looks pretty crummy when it first comes from the nursery as it's very small and spindley. I've had problems with clients thinking it was dead the first winter or their gardeners think it is a weed and pull it out, so make sure you have some patience while its maturing the first few years. If you're ok with adding some annuals, this looks amazing paired with coleus. You'll get a lush, tropical look that lasts all summer and well into the fall.

  2. I just LOVE the Elephant Ears in the last picture. We use it every year in planters but it really hates our climate out here. Too bad :(

  3. You know that's funny you should say that. I ordered some last year and it came in very small as well. I ended up pulling it as I thought it was a weed! I was thinking it would also look great with coleus -- especially chartreuse & burgandy leaved coleus. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I'm sold. I believe I have some poor cousins of the same already.

  5. My mother had beautiful gardens and took perennials with her whenever we moved. Alas, I did not get her green thumb.
    Glad you stopped by my blog!

  6. So glad to see this great blog, Pam! You've done it!

  7. What beautiful garden pictures. I am so looking forward to spring!

  8. I too am hooked on this grass. I have been adding it here and there and want more! Repeating in a long curving border really looks great - I love the picture.

  9. I was thinking about getting this grass for the area where I want to replace the lawn. My only concern was that it would have very few sun there. Your info is very helpful. Thanks! Pictures are great!

  10. Oh this looks lovely! Thank you so much for your link to Cape Dutch Houses. I have loved that architecture since I toured Holland a few years ago.

  11. Love that photo with the sparkling snow and the yellow grass! Beautiful, I get inspired to get outside reading your posts :)

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