The foliage really is this dark.

The deeply colored foliage of black mondo grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’, is about as convincingly ‘black’ as foliage can get. It is darker than bronze New Zealand flax, purple leaf plum or bronze coral bells. Only purple beech or chocolate coleus are comparable. The foliage is dark enough to contrast very well against lightly colored planters or gray concrete, so works well in urns or mixed perennials, and bordering walkways. If it gets enough sunlight, black mondo grass makes a nice small scale ground cover under Japanese maples.

Mature plants stand only about half a foot tall, and spread slowly. The happiest plants can get nearly twice as tall. The softly cascading leaves are only about a quarter inch wide. Small spikes of tiny pink flowers that sometimes bloom in summer would contrast nicely against the dark foliage, but are rarely seen above the foliage. Black mondo grass prefers rather rich soil and somewhat regular watering. However, as they disperse roots, older plants do not seem to mind too much if they briefly get a bit dry.

10 thoughts on “Black Mondo Grass

    1. I can imagine that it would. It would be a nice backdrop for them. I find that it looks better in other regions where it is not so cheapened by overuse like it is here. My colleague down south uses is quite well behind narrow rows of annuals, but I barely notice until he points it out.


    1. Oh, I believe it. I saw it Oklahoma just before it got frosted. It seemed odd to me that it was not considered to be a perennial. I would want to protect it as a perennial. Weirdly though, cannas grew there as perennial. I can’t figure that one out.


    1. Like many plants with bronzed or dark foliage, the black is not as vigorous as the green is. It does well once established in the garden, but is not so easy for nurserymen to propagate and grow to saleable size.

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