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All Fringes bring grace to the garden, but Japanese Forest Grass may be the most elegant of them all. Held on arching stems, its slender foliage cascades like a waterfall. When breezes blow, it ripples like an emerald-green pond. It even goes out in style, turning a luminous coppery orange color each fall before dying back for the winter. Although Japanese Forest Grass resembles Bamboo and is a natural in Asian-themed gardens, it complements many types of landscapes. Use it as a groundcover, a front-of-the-border plant, or as a container plant in both formal and informal gardens. It’s especially valuable in shady spaces, where few Fringes thrive.
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
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Japanese Forest Grass is—you guessed it—native to the woodlands of Japan. Specifically, it is found in cool, moist mountain and forest regions on the main island of Honshu. The Japanese have long enjoyed this Fringe in the garden, primarily using it as a potted plant. Only recently has this fabulous Fringe begun to get the popularity it deserves in the U.S. Professional garden designers love the wonderful effects it gives, and homeowners are catching on, too. It gives the impression of a low-growing Bamboo, but it won’t take over the garden like many Bamboos will. It has a bright future here!
You’re most likely to find Japanese Forest Grass sold in the gold-variegated form, ‘Aureola’. The plain green version differs from Aureola in more than just color. The green one can handle more sun, needs less water, tolerates colder winters, and grows faster. Both are great plants—they simply have different attributes that may make one more suitable than the other in certain situations.
How to Grow
Japanese Forest Grass will grow in sun or shade and is somewhat drought tolerant when established. However, plants will be lushest in shade and when provided with regular irrigation. In late winter, use hand pruners, hedge trimmers, or a string trimmer to cut old growth back to within a few inches of the ground. Fresh new shoots will emerge in spring. Feed at that time with Bower & Branch Elements™ Fertilizer. Japanese Forest Grass is a low-maintenance Fringe that is seldom troubled by deer, insect pests, or disease.
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