Adding Black Mondo Grass to your plant collection can bring extra drama and fun to your garden! Read on to learn how to grow it.
Black Mondo Grass is a stunning ornamental plant that is native to Japan. Its dark purple to black leaves and small, pale pink flowers make it a popular choice for gardens and landscaping.
Learn all about lemongrass plant care
What is Black Mondo Grass?
Black Mondo Grass is an ornamental grass-like plant and is a member of the Asparagaceae family. It is quite popular for its dark purple to black foliage and small, pale pink flowers that bloom in the summer.
Black Mondo Grass is a popular choice for gardens and landscaping due to its striking appearance and low maintenance requirements. It can grow up to 6-8 inches tall and spread up to 12 inches wide, making it an excellent ground cover or edging plant.
In addition to its aesthetic value, it is also used for medicinal purposes in traditional Chinese medicine to treat various ailments such as fever, cough, and sore throat.
Botanical Name: Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
USDA Zones: 5-10
Propagating Black Mondo Grass
Black mondo grass can be propagated by division of the clumps in spring or fall. The clumps should be divided into smaller clumps, and each should have at least 3 to 4 shoots.
Plant divisions in well-draining soil and space them 1 foot apart. Water the newly planted divisions thoroughly and keep the soil evenly moist until the plants become established.
You can also grow the grass from seeds, but it will be a time-consuming process.
Best Container Size for Growing Black Mondo Grass
Use a container that is at least 10-12 inches in diameter. The container should have good drainage and should not be too deep. As the grass spreads and grows, you can re-pot it in one sizer bigger pot than the old one.
Here are the best ornamental grasses you can grow in containers
Requirements for Growing Black Mondo Grass
It is a shade-tolerant plant and can thrive in areas with indirect sunlight or dappled shade. The plant can also tolerate full-sun exposures but will require more frequent watering in hot climates.
Exposing the plant to the mild morning sun for 2-3 hours once in every few days will do wonders for its color.
Black Mondo Grass prefers well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. It can tolerate a range of soil types, but soil that is too heavy or compacted can lead to root rot.
It needs regular watering, especially during hot, dry weather. Water deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather and soil conditions. Do make sure the topsoil goes a little dry before you water the plant again.
Avoid overwatering, as this can cause root rot.
Black Mondo Grass Care
Black mondo grass does not need much fertilizer. In fact, it prefers to grow in poor soils and will not thrive in overly rich soils. To boost the growth, you can use a low-nitrogen fertilizer, such as a 5-10-10, once in 6-8 weeks after diluting it to 1/4 of its strength.
It does not require much pruning, but dead or yellowing leaves can be removed anytime. Prune the plant back in the fall to remove any dead foliage and prepare it for winter.
The plant is hardy to USDA zones 6-10, meaning it can tolerate cold temperatures down to -10°F. However, in colder regions, it is best to mulch the plant heavily in the fall to protect it from freezing temperatures.
Pests and Diseases
It is generally resistant to pests and diseases, but mealybugs and slugs can be a problem occasionally. It can be susceptible to root rot in wet or poorly draining soil. Avoid overwatering and ensure the soil is well-draining to prevent this.
Black Mondo Grass Companion Planting
It pairs well with other shade-loving plants, such as ferns, hostas, and heucheras. Its dark foliage can also provide a striking contrast to lighter-colored plants.
Best Black Mondo Grass Varieties
There is only one recognized species – Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens.’ There are still a few variations of this species that are available in the market.
- Arabicus: This cultivar has slightly wider leaves than the species and has a more upright growth habit.
- Ebony Knight: This variety has wider and more rigid leaves than the species, and its dark purple color is more pronounced.
- Blackbeard: It has long, narrow leaves that are almost black, and its growth habit is more upright.
- Black Dragon: Similar to Blackbeard, the black dragon to has narrow leaves that are darker than the species, and its growth habit is more prostrate.
- Niger: It has slightly wider leaves than the species, and its growth habit is more compact and rounded.
Learn How to Grow and Care for Bermuda Grass
Black Mondo Grass Landscaping Ideas
- Plant mondo grass in mass or in blocks for a bold look.
- Plant mondo grass in a rock garden or along a pathway.
- Line a walkway or driveway with mondo grass for a neat and tidy look.
- Plant it in a garden bed for a unique, textured look.
- Use it in a pattern or design for an interesting focal point.