OPHIOPOGON: Mondo Grass
Although not a true grass, mondo grass resembles one. It has re-curved thick blades, grows and spreads in tufts, can be used as a turf substitute (no mowing though). It grows from 3-12" tall-depending on variety. The flowers are tiny, pale lavender and bloom on stalks nestled in the leaves in summer.
Smaller varieties of this tough plant are perfect for anywhere you just want luscious green. It works great as a groundcover, in pots, or as an edging plant for pathways and features. The other striking version (O. 'nigrescens') we see of this plant is one of the blackest colored plants you can get- really fun and unique in combinations or as an accent.
This versatile creature will handle a variety of sun or shade conditions and a range of moisture situations but is not flexible about its dislike of the combination of excessive water and bad drainage. Its beautiful and graceful evergreen nature is an addition to any style of garden from extreme modern to low maintenance to cottage style.
Some varieties you can find at Portland Nursery include:
Z 6-11 Green blades and blue berries. Spreads to 12-15" High and wide.
Ophiopogon japonicus "Nana"
Z 5-10 A short growing version of the above topping out at 3". Spreading. This is the one people choose most often as a lawn substitute. Although it requires no mowing it is also not as dense as a traditional lawn would be. Lavender flowers and dark purple berries.
Ophiopogon "Pam Harper"
Z 7-10 Green and golden creamy variegated leaves add a touch of highlight on this plant. Lavender flowers. Grows to 9" tall and 12-18" wide.
Ophiopogon "Silver Mist"
Z 6-11 Green and white variegated leaves. Slower growing making it great as a container plant or for use with bonsai. 6" tall and slowly spreading.
Ophiopogon planiscapus "Nigrescens"
Z 5-9. Very striking dark, dark foliage appears almost black. Very light purple flowers are followed by black berries held on a stalk within the leathery foliage. Slow growing 8" tall and spreading.
Common Name: Mondo grass
Origin: Native to woodlands of Japan and Asia
Culture: Does best in moist, lightly acidic, well drained soils in sun to shade. Will also tolerate a wider variety of soil conditions, but does not like to be soggy.
Maintenance: Very easy care. Upkeep is limited to cutting back spent fruiting stems if desired. Dividing if needed. You can propagate by division or seed.
Pest and Disease: This plant is overall very pest and disease free.