Black Mondo Grass
Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
Black Mondo Grass
Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
How are the heights measured?
All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.
What is a gallon container?
Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.
How does the delivery process work?
All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!
Why are some states excluded from shipping?
The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.
Black Mondo Grass is a clump-forming perennial plant with slender, grass-like leaves that rise 8 or 8 inches above the ground, with an attractive arching form. Clumps are about 12 inches across and soon grow together into a continuous weed-proof groundcover. The foliage is a striking very dark purple-black, bringing a unique ‘noir’ element to your garden. Grow it as accent clumps or continuous edging and groundcover anywhere in your garden. It looks great with silver, yellow and white, creating wonderful color contrasts, or use it alone for a very modern look.
- Clumps of dark purple-black leaves all year round
- Pale lilac flowers followed by dark-blue berries
- Dense groundcover for sun or shade
- Untroubled by deer or rabbits
- Drought resistant once established
Black Mondo Grass is happy in a wide range of light conditions, from full sun to light full shade, although the strongest color develops with some sun. It grows in any well-drained soil that is not too dry, although once established it has good drought resistance. It is untroubled by pests and diseases, ignored by deer or rabbits, and takes salt spray in coastal locations. At most all it needs is trimming back after a few years – it will quickly resprout and be fresh and new again.
- Plant Hardiness Zones 6-10
- Mature Width .75-1
- Mature Height .5-.75
- Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
There are always places in the garden where small plants are needed. Edging beds; filling pockets in rocky areas; covering the ground beneath shrubs – all these are spots where groundcover plants take center stage. You can use annual flowers – but that means work repeated every year. You can use shrubs (which we recommend you do), but some locations need something smaller, with a look that shrubs don’t bring. Those are the places where you need a perennial plant – and where there are opportunities to create dramatic effects with little effort. When it comes to the dramatic in the garden, few if any plants come close to the dark drama that Black Mondo Grass brings. No plant has such deeply-colored foliage, and the unique dense carpet of grass-like leaves is ideal for filling spaces and outlining beds in a striking way that also unifies the planting you have created. Forming a carpet of arching leaves of an intense purple-black, this reliable and easy-to-grow plant turns ‘dull’ into ‘dramatic’ like nothing else can.
Growing Black Mondo Grass
Size and Appearance
Black Mondo Grass is an evergreen perennial plant that forms clumps of narrow leaves, spreading sideways and filling spaces, but never becoming significantly invasive. The roots are thick and fleshy, and short underground stems sprout into more leafy clumps around the original plants. The leaves are long and narrow, about 8 inches long but only ¼ inch wide. They are smooth and glossy, rising from a central crown. Many crowns develop, forming a continuous carpet of leaves, with each clump covering an area about 12 inches across. The new leaves emerge green but quickly turn a rich, very dark, purple-black color, and hold that color all year round, through hot and cold. Since leaves last for several years, this plant remains reliably evergreen all year round. When leaves die they disappear beneath the new foliage.
In summer slender spikes of flowers rise just above the leaves. The flowers are like tiny open bells, and a very pale lilac to white color. These are followed by round berries of a very dark purple-blue. Flowering is not dramatic, and rarely prolific, but it does add some seasonal interest.
Using Black Mondo Grass in Your Garden
When it comes to painting your garden, Black Mondo Grass is the ink in your pen. Like the artist Mondrian, outline your colors in black by edging your beds with this perfect edging plant. Color in the spaces below your green shrubs. For real drama, combine this deep color with silver or gold, planting it in front of variegated or golden plants – wow! Or how about planting it beneath white flowers, for the perfect monochromatic ‘noir’ effect? You can place single plants among other low-growing shrubs or perennials for accents, or use it for containers to create wonderful combinations. It grows in seaside gardens too, with good salt resistance. For a super-sophisticated modern feel, use it all by itself along a pathway in an urban courtyard garden – the possibilities are endless. When planting groups and edging, space plants about 12 inches apart – they will soon spread into a continuous covering.
Black Mondo Grass is hardy and evergreen from zone 6 into all the warmest parts of the country.
Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions
Black Mondo Grass is very adaptable to different light conditions, thriving everywhere from full sun to total shade. We don’t recommend it for full, deep shade – not because it won’t grow reasonably well there, but because the lack of direct sun or bright light will make it much greener, losing its main feature. Other than that, you don’t need to pay much attention to the amount of light your chosen spot receives. As for soil, it will certainly grow most vigorously and well in damper, slightly acidic soils, but really, any well-drained soil that isn’t extremely dry will be fine. Remember to water new plants regularly, but once well-rooted and growing, this plant is also drought tolerant, as long as it gets some normal moisture in spring, and occasionally through the growing season.
Maintenance and Pruning
Talk about ‘low maintenance’! There really is nothing to do once you plant your Black Mondo Grass. It is normally free of pests and diseases, and deer or rabbits don’t eat it. It’s resistant to salt spray too. It thrives for years with no attention, but if it becomes tired looking, and untidy, the answer is a quick trim. You can use shears, a string-trimmer or even a lawn mower to cut everything back to a couple of inches, and you can even leave the debris as mulch if you want to. After cutting down is a good time to scatter some compost around the plants, and if you trim in late winter the new growth will soon make your planting fresh and tidy – and freshly black.
History and Origin of Black Mondo Grass
Although it looks like a grass, Black Mondo Grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus, is not a true grass at all, but a relative of asparagus and loosely related to lilies. It grows naturally in Japan, and you would usually see it on warm hillsides, growing around the edges of woodlands. The variety ‘Nigrescens’, which has unusually dark leaves, has many names, including ‘Black Knight’, ‘Arabicus’ and often as ‘Kokuryu’. It probably came from gardens in Japan, but we really don’t know.
Buying Black Mondo Grass at the Tree Center
With the name ‘Kokuryu’, the Black Mondo Grass received the Award of Garden Merit from the famous Royal Horticultural Society in England, in 1993. This is a ‘badge of approval’ you can rely on, and know that this is a quality, durable and attractive plant. The demand is always high, so order now, so that you too can add a dash of moody darkness to your garden.