Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens; my favorite plant in the garden this week…

Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens, that’s a mouth full! Even though I've finally mastered the tongue twisters Hakonechloa and Eryngium I prefer to call this fav by its much easier to pronounce common name Black Mondo Grass.

This is another one of those rock-solid plants that is just "there," always looking good and thus often taken for granted. It reliably blooms every summer but the flowers are nothing special…probably the flashiest it gets is right now when any seeds left on the plant turn a sort of metallic blue.

But those sleek black blades in your garden…who needs extra flash? They make everything look good.

I continue to be amazed by the price this plant commands in nurseries, fortunately it multiplies well (although it’s no thug) and is easily divided. If you buy any one plant chances are when you plant it you can split it into 3 or 4 plants right then.

My biggest splurge was 10 plants to line our sidewalk back in 2009. But those plants have grown and been divided over and over again to be planted elsewhere in my garden and given to friends.

I have it planted in full sun areas and shady places, here it gets sun from the early morning hours until late afternoon.

Whereas these plants are seeing full sun for the first time in months… shaded by a clump of Hackonechloa I just cut back you’ll notice a few of these blades are green. Hopefully they'll turn black eventually.

Where as these green blades are Liriope mixed with an expanding patch of Black Mondo, I like how this combo makes a simple good looking ground-cover off the edge of the patio (the golden blades are Hackonechloa I missed when cutting back the others)...

The Stats:
  • Hardy in USDA Zones 6a-10b
  • Eventual size 6” tall x 18” wide
  • Reportedly needs even moisture but in my experience once established it’s tolerant of some drought
  • Full sun to part shade, best color with sun

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