Jonathan Green Black Beauty Time Lapse Video

Jonathan Green Black Beauty grass
I tried to grow two containers of grass indoors. The first was Jonathan Green Dense Shade grass seed which I was hoping would do well with the limited light on my desk. The second was Jonathan Green Black Beauty grass seed mix that I'm considering using if I do a lawn renovation. I had both containers sitting on my desk and created a time lapse video of the Black Beauty Grass seed germinating as well as some of the Dense Shade I replanted because the old seed I used didn't germinate very well.

The video covers 15 days starting from the 2nd day of planting the Black Beauty grass seed.

I was surprised that Black Beauty appeared to do better in these low light conditions compared to the Dense Shade mix but the Dense Shade also had a number of issues going against it.

Black Beauty is on the left and Dense Shade on the right. Under these conditions where I could easily keep the soil moist and no direct sun was hitting the seeds to dry them out the seeds started to germinate very quickly. I used a homemade guide and a pair of scissors to cut the grass evenly a few times during the video.

I used to move the Dense Shade container onto a sunny window sill every couple of days so it could get some direct sunlight. After starting the time lapse video I had to keep the container in the same spot (more or less). At some point I started using a small desk to illuminate part of the containers to give the video a more even appearance. The side of the Dense Shade container that had direct light on it 24 hours a day from a very low wattage desk lamp did much better than the other side of the container that only had some indirect sunlight through North facing windows. The Black Beauty container on the other hand did well all over.

There were a few things going against the Dense Shade mix. First I used grass seed that was over 2 years old that gave me poor germination. Second, the potting mix was infested with fungus gnats. I used neem oil to kill them but I saw the larvae crawling around in the video a few times.

The Black Beauty didn't seem to have the same issues with the fungus gnats or at least not as bad. In the video it looks like there might have been some but the grass had grown in very thick and it was hard to see the potting mix. I did see some fungus gnats landing on the blades of grass but they may have come from the other container.

Black Beauty, as some other TTTF grass varieties are infected with endophytes (a beneficial fungus) that helps control insects. That might be the reason that there wasn't a problem but another reason might be because I didn't plant them both at the same time. I used Jungle Growth's Organic Potting Mix and I've seen other complaints about fungus gnat infestation but from what I also read this is a problem with many different potting mixes. I planted the Dense Shade as soon as I opened the bag of potting mix while it was still moist. Black Beauty on the other hand was planted weeks later and I had already filled the container with the potting mix. During those weeks the mix had dried out. This might have killed off any eggs or larvae in that container.

I chose to plant the grass in a container because it was the middle of summer and way too hot to plant the grass outdoors in a test plot and I wanted to get at least some sense of what Black Beauty might look like. So far it seems like a pretty decent grass mix with very good germination and nice color. It's also a little cheaper and more readily available than what some consider elite grass seed.

You can also read more of my thoughts on Black Beauty as well as why I'm considering Turft-Type Tall Fescue instead of Kentucky Bluegrass..
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