Proven Plants for Oklahoma Landscapes: Black Mondo Grass

Proven Plants for Oklahoma Landscapes: Black Mondo Grass

Selecting plants for Oklahoma landscapes that not only capture the visual effect you want for your landscape but will be easy to maintain in Oklahoma’s widely varied weather can be tricky! Many landscapers simply visit the local home center, collect samples of readily available plant material, and use that to make their recommendations from. This is why it can sometimes appear that every house on your street has the same landscape because it does!

While most home and garden centers do try to supply hearty plants for Oklahoma landscapes, other concerns, such as price and availability can play as large a role, and often limit the selection. Here on Reinventing Paradise, the blog arm of  Ward Design Group, we thought we would take a few posts to share some of our favorite plants.

We’ll start off small with a plant that is as fun to say as it is to look at Black Mondo Grass.

Closely related to Monkey Grass, Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’) is one of a variety of decorative grasses that not only thrive in Oklahoma but will grow as well in the shade as they do in the sun.

Black Mondo Grass is not a turf grass, and maintaining a full lawn of it would be more than most Oklahoma gardeners would be able to handle. Since it grows in tufts of upright leaves about six inches high, it works well as a border, with clumps of the grass grown close together to provide an outline along bed edges and walkways.

The dark purple leaves appear almost black, thus the name, providing an excellent outline or contrast for beds of other plants.

Another reason to mention Black Mondo is that it can be planted almost any time of year, provided the ground is not frozen. When preparing your soil, till down to at least an inch deep, in and around the area your grass will be planted. No special preparation is needed. Black Mondo will grow in most soil types.

Keep the ground watered so that it remains moist until the grass takes root, then water as you would with any other grass. The evergreen blades will maintain their dark color year round and the plant will keep its leaves and does not go dormant. Black Mondo also flowers with deep lavender blossoms in the Spring and dark purple berries in the Fall for added interest.

We recommend Black Mondo Grass for use as a border plant, or small area ground cover. It can also be featured in pots and hanging baskets, alone, or with other plants. Since it is slow growing, it will not need trimming and reaches a full height at between 6 and 10 inches. If trimming is desired, hand trim with sharp shears, rather than string trimmers, which can tear the leaves, leaving ragged edges.