Ophiopogon planiscapus

Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrescens

Black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens', ht 25cm) possibly has the darkest foliage of all plants, and became much sought after when it first appeared on the gardening scene. It has thin, strappy leaves which grow in clumps. It doesn't tend to multiply as fast as the usual mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus) and requires a bit more moisture in order to do well. When it is happy, however, it will steadily expand to form an amazing carpet. It has small lilac flowers in summer, which may be followed by black fruit. Propagation is by division of the clumps. It is frost hardy.

Like most dark-leaved plants, it needs to be planted where the foliage will be contrasted with another colour or with stones or brickwork; otherwise, it tends to disappear into the background soil. It forms a dramatic partner to silver, gold or lime-green foliage - such as the furry-leaved groundcover Stachys byzantina or low-growing grassy-looking Acorus gramineus 'Ogon'. It can grow in sun or part shade, and can be used as a container plant. It is classified as part of the family Asparagaceae.