By Cliff Blackerby, Master Gardener
Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’), a striking ornamental, is actually a member of the lily family. With dramatic black leaves, Dwarf Mondo Grass is an easy care plant grown in Zones 6 – 10. While not an ideal selection for large scale gardens, the grasses’ natural beauty provides a striking compliment to smaller, more intimate gardens.
Black Mondo Grass, a slow grower, is well-behaved and may take several years to attain discernible growth. It grows best in part to full shade in southern climates, but can be grown in sun in cooler climates. For standard spacing, plant 6 – 12 inches and for dense cover 6 – 8 inches apart. This deer resistant grass is a good choice for ground cover or erosion issues in shaded areas.
Depending upon variety, Black Mondo Grass produces small, delicate blue, pink or white flowers and black berries that are often hidden in foliage. Once established, practice consistent watering and keep moderately moist. During the winter months, foliage can become ragged and tattered. Prune the old growth back to one-third in early spring to promote new, healthy growth.
Black Mondo Grass is excellent for edging, as an accent plant in smaller areas, and is an ideal addition to containers, pairing especially well with gold, yellow, or chartreuse foliage and flowers.