Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’

black mondo grass

Outstanding Qualities

Few plants are truly black, but this one is close. Its extraordinary strap-like leaves are near-black and arch gently above the ground. Despite its common name, black mondo grass is not a grass but is a member of same family as lily-of-the-valley. Small mauve flowers appear among its leaves in late summer and develop into black fruits that persist through winter. Black mondo grass is a wonderful accent plant, setting off lighter plants, such as snowdrops. It shows up well against pavers or stones and looks great edging the rim of a container. With time, and in rich, moisture-retentive soil, it forms a thick groundcover.

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: silver, variegated, purple, gold

Great Color Partners: dark green

Culture Notes

This striking foliage plant grows well in full sun to deep shade. It prefers a well-drained soil, but will tolerate sand and clay if drainage is adequate. Regular watering and fertilizing will encourage faster growth, but once it is established it only needs occasional watering during dry weather. Old foliage can be cut back every two to four years in early spring to remove dead foliage and tidy the planting.

© Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Quick Facts

Plant Type: perennial

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 0 ft. 6 in. (0.15 m.)

Plant Width/Spread: 2 ft. 0 in. (0.61 m.)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 9

Flower Color: pink

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to deep shade

Water Requirements: regular watering for best foliage or at least occasional watering