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Ophiopogan planiscapus 'Nigrescens'

RUSCACEAE

Ophiopogan planiscapus 'Nigrescens' - Black Mondo Grass

Also known as 'Monkey Grass' as well as 'Black Mondo Grass' , you could get a little confused as a few other grasses are called 'Monkey Grass' so lets stick with the botanical name Ophiopogan planiscapus 'Nigrescens'.

This is one of the most sought after low growing ornamental grasses, and with good reasons. It is easy to grow, low maintenance, spreads slowly to form a good clump and it also looks great.

Although it does have pink flowers in summer it is really the year round foliage that is the main attraction.

Plants are available as small bare rooted rhizomes by mail order, they are also available as larger more established plants in containers. The small bare rooted rhizomes are the cheapest way to plant out a larger area.

Varieties

  • Ophiopogan planiscapus - Green foliage
  • Ophiopogan planiscapus - 'Arabicus'

 

Propagation

Ophiopogan planiscapus 'Nigrescens' Propagation from runners

Easy by division of established clumps in spring.

The plantlets in the clump send out rhizomes or runners and these form the new plants. The runners can come up close to the plant or around 6 inches away depending on the conditions. ( see picture right)

  • Lift the clump with a garden fork.
  • Divide individual plants
  • Trim the foliage by 1/2
  • Replant the very small plants into containers and grow on in a container until reestablished. Water in with a liquid seaweed fertiliser.
  • Mulching around clumps with a good organic mulch seems to encourage the clump to spread more rapidly.

Propagation from seeds is also possible, however some of the new plants will revert to the green form.

  • Ripe seeds are essential, so allow the seed pod to begin to open before collecting.
  • The dark outer casing needs to nbe removed.
  • Use a tray with individual cells for ease of transplanting later on.
  • Plant seeds around 1/2 inch deep.
  • Keep moist and provide some bottom heat for faster germination.
  • From seed toplanting out may take 4 years.

Summary

  • Excellent low maintenance ground cover for low traffic areas.
  • Humus rich well drained soil.
  • Full sun to light shade.
  • Dark foliage and lilac to pink flowers in summer
  • Grows well in containers.

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