Ophiopogon Species, Black Mondo Grass

Ophiopogon planiscapus

Family: Asparagaceae
Genus: Ophiopogon (oh-fee-oh-POH-gon) (Info)
Species: planiscapus (plan-ih-SKAY-pus) (Info)
Synonym:Mondo planiscapum
Synonym:Ophiopogon planiscapus f. leucanthus
Synonym:Ophiopogon wallichianus var. leucanthus
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade



Foliage Color:



6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama

Mentone, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Tucson, Arizona

Benton, Arkansas

Bodega Bay, California

Brentwood, California

Camarillo, California

Grass Valley, California

Mountain View Acres, California

Murphys, California

Pittsburg, California

San Leandro, California

Temecula, California

East Hartford, Connecticut

Wilton, Connecticut

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Barbourville, Kentucky

Ellicott City, Maryland

Fallston, Maryland

Batesville, Mississippi

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire

Collingswood, New Jersey

Dunellen, New Jersey

Oaklyn, New Jersey

Brooklyn, New York

Boone, North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina

Garner, North Carolina

Mooresville, North Carolina

Cleveland, Ohio

Oregon City, Oregon

Portland, Oregon(3 reports)

Erie, Pennsylvania

Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Sumter, South Carolina

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Duncanville, Texas

Lancaster, Texas

New Caney, Texas

Richmond, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Springfield, Virginia

Anacortes, Washington

Blakely Island, Washington

Kenmore, Washington

La Conner, Washington

Lake Stevens, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Poulsbo, Washington

Seattle, Washington(2 reports)

Vancouver, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 15, 2015, MaryK99 from Fitzwilliam, NH (Zone 5a) wrote:

I've been growing this in southwestern (microclimate of zone 4) successfully for 3 years now. It is facing east, and is against a granite wall. I agree...it is very slow growing, but I have offshoots this year! Yay! No slug damage, and lily beetles leave it alone.


On May 30, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This species is green. The cultivars, 'Nigrescens' and 'Arabicus' (which may be two names for the same clone), have black foliage. They are very slow growing, which is why they are so much more expensive than the green.


On May 30, 2014, Holeygloves from Ridgefield, CT wrote:

This is the third summer for my three black mondo grass plants. Two of them have stayed black, bloomed and gone to seed, and maybe doubled in size to a 6" X 12" mound. Last summer the third grew a bit more than the other two and the fresh growth started out green and then darkened. This summer, this one plant is going gangbusters. It has grown to 30" tall and is green. What is up?


On Sep 23, 2011, BellaMB88 from Camarillo, CA wrote:

I've had several of these growing for a few years in full to light shade. Haven't noticed any flowers yet, but the leaves are great and the plants are beginning to multipy. Another plus is that the rabbits don't seem to like them, unlike the dwarf green mondo salad bar.


On Jun 3, 2011, njblondie from Dunellen, NJ wrote:

I have this grass around the front of my pond. It stands out with all the other grasses I have. It grows better in full sun than shade. It is expensive but I found it at Home Depot and Lowes in the summer in small pots...it multiplies fast. I have not have any insect problems at all. The purple flowers are awesome.


On Feb 8, 2009, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

I grow the black, reg. green, dwarf green, and variegated. The black is the slowest and sluggish performer for me. I hoped to have a ring of black mondo around the base of an oak tree and it was so uncooperative, I am now yanking it off and putting clumps here and there in planters hoping it will do better. I guess what bothers me most is that for being the worst performer, it was the priciest.


On Feb 7, 2009, Ficurinia from Portland, OR wrote:

Even though this plant is a little expensive, it does grow well and spreads within a year or two. I grew them in different areas for a few years, then transplanted them this past fall into one area. I cannot wait to see what happens now! Easy to grow, and fun to mix with others.


On Jan 26, 2005, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

We haven't had any slug, insect or disease problems with this plant in the four years we've been growing it. Following are a "gothic garden" built on this plant and my method of propagating it - as mentioned above, it's expensive.

The narrow-leaved, black mondo grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus 'nigrescens', makes eery, low, dark pools that are nice to nestle spooky sculpture in, or run around in streams connecting larger islands like "black flowered" forms of pennisetum, or for underplanting shady woody plants, especially those with sinewy, orange-ish bark (forms of stewartia, paper-barked maple, crepe myrtles come to mind) that echo the red tint in the ophiopogon's black leaves in winter.

There's a smaller, less-likely-to-flop form of white colchicum that could... read more


On Mar 6, 2004, lisettelarkin from Hartford, NY wrote:

Has anyone living in an area with Red Lily Leaf Beetle infestation tried to grow this plant? I have wanted to ever since I first saw it about 7 years ago; but it is so expensive I'm afraid to try for fear it will get eaten! (I suspect that if snails and slugs will eat it, the Lily Leaf Beetle will too.) I asked around at several nurseries and no one could give me an answer.


On Sep 5, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I've only seen this plant at a rare plant nursery in Peachtree City, Georgia, listed as 'Nigrescens,' and I was told it is a slow grower. It was also rather pricey, but a very dramatic looking plant. I have never seen it for sale in any other garden center, but if I ever do, I will certainly buy it, as I now have the perfect climate for it in northcentral Florida, zone 8b.

I'm currently growing Ophiopogon japonicus, the dark green "Mondo Grass" with light lilac flowers that are low and almost hidden among the leaves. Ophiopogon jaburan also has dark green leaves, but more upright white flowers--I'm looking for this one too!


On Sep 5, 2003, Karenn from Mount Prospect, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I am able to grow this in my Zone 5A/4B garden on the south side of my home in a protected area. It's great - it multiplies - it flowers - and everyone wants it because it's so unusual around here!


On Sep 4, 2003, pleb from Plymouth,,
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

Does well in pots in full sun or half shade provided it is not allowed to dry out. A plant full of interest due to it's unusual, blackish foliage.


On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Protect from snails and slugs. Plant at 8 inches interval. Divide in early spring.