If you are looking for a unique plant that can be grown as a ground cover, or for edging purposes, then black mondo grass can be one of the ideal options. They are commonly used as ornamental plants in rock gardens and landscapes. Like liriope plants, black mondo grass is also deer resistant and hardy in nature. The distinguishing feature of this plant is the glossy purplish-black leaves that resemble grass blades in looks. They stay glossy throughout the year. Being non-messy, black mondo grass is easy to grow.
The characteristic feature of black mondo grass is its blackish leaves. However, the color may not be that pronounced in young plants that may sometimes have green leaves too. The black color develops as the leaves grow. They are evergreen perennials that grow from rhizomes. This plant is found to grow in round clumps, with a maximum height of around eight to ten inches, and a spread of twelve inches. The leaves develop in tufts, from which flower racemes emerge. The flowers of black mondo grass are usually whitish or lilac in color. As in case of the leaves, the fruits too are bluish black.
One of the advantages of these plants is that they retain the glossy black color throughout the year. This is more applicable for those in warmer areas, but in colder regions, the condition of the foliage may deteriorate during winter.
Preparing Soil: This plant requires well-drained soil, which is acidic and rich in decomposed organic matter. You may plant them at locations that provide them with full sun or partial shade. Prepare the soil by tilling and adding some compost. You may also add a small amount of slow release fertilizer. If you want to plant black mondo grass in containers, use a good quality potting mix with good drainage.
Planting: Once done with soil preparation, make holes that can accommodate the root ball of the grass. If there are more than one, keep a distance of at least eight to ten inches between them. Plant black mondo grass, and water the soil thoroughly. The soil should be kept moist, till the plants get established.
Watering: As black mondo grass is said to be resistant to drought, regular watering is not required. However, during growing season, you have to water them thoroughly, once a week.
You may remove those dead leaves from the plant, but avoid cutting them in whole, as it takes quite some time for them to regrow. Some people resort to mulching during fall. Black mondo grass propagation is usually done by separating the young plants that develop from the roots. Even the seeds can be used for this purpose. Another advantage of this plant is that it is resistant to pests and diseases.
To summarize, black mondo grass can be a wonderful addition to your garden or landscape. Growing them is also easy, as compared to some of other plants that can be messy, and require a lot of care.