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Mondo Grass Ophiopogon japonicus

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Mondo Grass:

Phonetic Spelling
oh-fee-oh-POH-gon jah-PON-ih-kus
Description

Dwarf lilyturf, or mondo grass, is a broadleaf evergreen ground cover or ornamental grass in the asparagus family (Asparagaceae) and is native to Japan, Korea and China. It may grow up to 1 foot tall and wide, is grass-like and has a low mounding form. Its genus name is from the Greek word ophis, meaning snake, and pogon, meaning beard.  

This plant prefers shade and moist, well-drained soils. It is sun tolerant, highly salt-tolerant and resists deer and foot traffic. As an evergreen groundcover, it forms a mat by runners (stolons). As a turf alternative for shady areas, it should  be mowed yearly. Propagate through division.

Use dwarf lilyturf as a border, at the foundation, along walkways or patios or in place of lawn. It makes a soft ground cover in a children’s garden or a decorative filler for a container outdoors or indoors with houseplants.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves are very narrow and less than an inch wide.
  • Inflorescence is hidden and the peduncle is flattened.
  • Fruits are cobalt blue.
  • Grass-like groundcover, mounding, stoloniferous.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems: This plant is relatively pest free but its foliage can be disfigured by slugs.

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See this plant in the following landscapes:
Japanese Garden at JC Raulston Arboretum Dry Stream Bed Garden in Cabarrus County Shaded Patio Garden Asian Garden - Zen Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Black Dragaon', Fuiri Gyoku, 'Nana'
Tags:
#evergreen#full sun tolerant#salt tolerant#shade garden#showy fruits#moist soil#well-drained soil#deer resistant#blue fruits#grass-like#fantz#groundcovers that can be mowed#HS302#cpp
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Black Dragaon', Fuiri Gyoku, 'Nana'
Tags:
#evergreen#full sun tolerant#salt tolerant#shade garden#showy fruits#moist soil#well-drained soil#deer resistant#blue fruits#grass-like#fantz#groundcovers that can be mowed#HS302#cpp
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ophiopogon
    Species:
    japonicus
    Family:
    Asparagaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China, Korea, Japan
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Mondo grass is resistant to damage by deer and is highly salt tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Blue
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit is a globose berry, opalescent or metallic blue in color, less than an inch in diameter, and are hidden in the foliage.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are few, nodding, pale lilac to white, and hang loosely on a raceme. Raceme's are short (2-4" long), flattened, and are hidden in foliage. Rachis are lateral on the flattened peduncle. Flowers bloom in the summer.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are simple, entire, linear, grass-like, erect arching apically, are dark green, and grow up to 16" long and less than an inch wide.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems have lateral underground stolons that terminate in daughter plants and are mat-forming by runners.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Houseplants
    Lawn
    Patio
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Fairy Garden
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Foot Traffic
    Heavy Shade
    Insect Pests
    Rabbits
    Salt