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This plant will be your garden’s drama queen

Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' (Black Mondo Grass)


If you need a drama queen in a border, this grass is just the ticket to a show-stealing perfomance. Reluctant to grow at first, it will build slowly and perfectly. But it doesn't take over, although you might like it to. Although it's not a new plant by any means, it is appearing more often in the grass sections of good nurseries; the plants, moreover, are larger and healthier than they were a few years ago, making them a good buy now.

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One of the great things abut this plant is that it's a grass that will grow in both sun (more quickly) and some shade (very slowly). It needs a good-sized hole (wider than deep) to encourage it to spread, which it will do to 30 centimetres, but over a long period of time. More likely, though, it'll stay at 20 centimetres, the height up to 25 centimetres.


Very few plants are as intensely black as this purple/black grass. Thrilling with any golden plant, it works especially well with gold heucheras, which likes the same environment. This is generally a Zone 6 plant, but what a fabulous beauty it can be in a container with a golden form of Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea') dripping over the side. Pure drama.


Toronto's Fiesta Gardens ( sells it for $18.99 a plant, but the price can vary from $15 to $25.

Visit for more gardening and plant information.

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