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Black Mondo Grass – How To Grow and Care

Black Mondo grass or Mondo grass is an ornamental plant that is most suited for outdoor spaces.

Ophiopogon Planiscapus

It is a great choice for landscapers looking to add ground covering for outdoor spaces, landscapes, and gardens as it provides an eerie and dramatic feel to wherever it is planted.  

The exotic plant can also be grown indoors, though it might require a large pot and regular pruning because of its grass-like spread. 

It spots gorgeous yet mysterious dark greenish-purple leaves that are slender and long. The leaves when viewed under the wrong lighting could be seen as black. 

A perennial grass plant that belongs to the Asparagaceae family, it has a few varieties that also offer a similar aesthetic feel to gardens and flowering beds.

The Mondo Grass Black plant is an evergreen perennial that can be traced down to Japan in East Asia and is considered a low-maintenance grasslike plant. 

Botanical NameOphiopogon Planiscapus 
Common NamesBlack Mondo Grass, Mondo Grass
OriginJapan, East Asia
Plant TypeEvergreen Perennial, Grass 
Full Size8 inches to 12 inches
Sun ExposureRanges from full, direct sunlight to shaded, partial sunlight
Soil TypeWell-draining, Humus-rich soil 
ToxicityNon-toxic to children and pets. 

Black Mondo Grass Varieties 

Black Mondo Grass belongs to the Ophiopogon genus, which has a lot of species under it. But there are two varieties that exist, these are;

  • Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrescens: This is the original Black plant variety that possesses a sweet scent and features dark purple flowering. 
  • Ophiopogon planiscapus Silver Ribbon:  It is sometimes called the Little Tabby although they are separate cultivars. They are dark in color but feature silver-white edges. 

Black Mondo Grass Care

Japanese Black Mondo grass is an easy plant to maintain. Its light, water, temperature, and soil requirements aren’t too heavy and success with the evergreen plant would be knowing how to balance and meet these requirements. 

Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrescens
Beth Chatto’s Plants & Gardens

Black Mondo Grass Light Requirements 

The two major requirements for the sun for the Black Mondo are;

  • Full, direct sunlight, and
  • Partial, Indirect Sunlight. 

When comparing these two, the better option for the Black Mondo would be Partial, Indirect Sunlight. 

Black Mondo Grass requires a maximum of 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. However, the direct sunlight should be cool or warm, not hot. 

If you reside in a region where the sunlight intensity is hot, then it is advised you grow your Black Mondo in a shaded area. 

For potted Black Mondo grass indoors, you would want to place them in a room right next to a window. There, it would get its sun requirement met. A light curtain might be useful to provide shade or reduce the intensity of the sunlight. 

Prolonged exposure to hot direct sunlight might do more harm to the black mondo decorative grass plant’s foliage. 

Black Mondo Grass Water Requirement  

The grass plant requires frequent watering to stay healthy. This should be done during its first year or start of its growing season, after which,   it should be done with less frequency. 

Watering the Black Mondo should be restricted to once a week. But try not to overwater it. The goal is to keep the plant moist at all times, not wet and soggy. 

When watering, use clean, dechlorinated water and ensure it is targeted at the plant’s soil. Excess water on the plant’s leaves would prove detrimental to the plant’s health. 

Mulch layered on the soil could help in regulating the level of moisture contained in the plant’s soil.

Black Mondo Grass Soil Requirement    

Black Mondo Grass Soil Requirement 
Emerald Plants

A suitable soil type for the Mondo Grass black plant should be well-draining soil that is rich in humus and well-aerated. 

It should also be able to retain a little water that is enough to keep the plant moist for prolonged periods. 

Add compost manure to the soil mix to provide it with sufficient nutrients that are required for proper, healthy growth. 

The use of mulch and peat could help with keeping the plant well-draining and well-aerated. Clay soil would be best suited for the Mondo Grass. 

For the soil’s pH value, it should be kept between a little acidic and neutral. The appropriate pH value should range between 5.5 and 6.5 

Black Mondo Grass Temperature and Humidity Requirement 

The plant has a high tolerance for humidity, but a less or mild humid environment should be perfect for the Black Mondo Grass. 

When it comes to USDA zones, the Mondo Black Grass plant ranges between zones 5 and zones 10. It is however regarded as a frost tolerant plant. 

Black Mondo Grass Fertilizer Requirement 

Fertilizer feeding should be rare or sparse for the Mondo Grass. The organic compost added to the plant-soil should be enough to carry the plant through. ‘

If you do need to make use of fertilizer, then it should be done during the springtime, so as to support the new growth and the best fertilizer to use is a natural fertilizer.

Organic Compost being layered on the soil should be sufficient. And since it’s organic, you won’t have to worry about harming the plant’s roots. 

Black Mondo Grass Propagation   

Black Mondo Grass Propagation
The Garden Fairies

The Black Mondo Grass growth rate is slow and as such, relying on its spread might not be a good idea. It is best propagated by plant division. 

Propagating should be done during the spring season for a faster growth rate. Be careful when dicing the plant, so as not to leave them damaged.

Black Mondo Grass Pruning 

Never mow your Black Mondo Grass. This would reduce the growth rate and kill off healthy leaves. What you should do is mild pruning. Aim to remove dead leaves with scissors or snips. Before using these pruning tools, ensure you sterilize them. 


The Black Mondo Grass is considered a non-toxic plant and is not harmful to children or pets. However, avoid eating the plant in large quantities to be safe. 

Common Health Problems of the Black Mondo Grass

Black Mondos are strong plants that can withstand most plant diseases and pests. However, there are a few that pose a threat to the exotic plant. 

  • Yellow leaves
  • Brown leaves
  • Pythium Root Rot
  • Garden snail
  • Slugs

Frequently Asked Questions

How big does black mondo grass get?

When mature, the Black Mondo grass can reach a height of 12 inches

How fast does black mondo grass grow?

The Black Mondo has a slow growth rate and can take 3 months to germinate

Is black mondo grass a perennial?

Yes, the Black mondo grass is regarded as a clumping evergreen perennial

Is black mondo grass deer resistant?

When grown in the wild, the Black Mondo Grass is considered to be Deer and Rabbit resistant.

Is black mondo grass invasive?

Under the wrong weather conditions, the Black Mondo grass is an invasive plant that might damage other plants for its survival.