Ophiopogon planiscapus

Common Name: mondo grass 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: White, often tinted with lilac
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Drought


Best grown in rich, fertile, humusy, slightly acidic, moist but well-drained, soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers consistent and even moisture in soils which do not dry out. Not reliably winter hardy in the northern parts of USDA Zone 6 where it should be sited in a protected location. Plant foliage is evergreen in warm winter climates, but foliage may depreciate considerably in St. Louis winters. Turf-like clumps develop over time into a 12” tall ground cover which will spread somewhat indefinitely but slowly to 12” wide or more. Propagate by division.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ophiopogon planiscapus, commonly called mondo grass or lily turf, is a tuberous-rooted, often stoloniferous, grass-like perennial of the lily family. It typically grows in slowly spreading clumps to 8-12” tall. It is native to Japan. This is a stemless plant that features narrow, linear, deep green, basal leaves (to 3/16” wide) which appear in arching, slowly-spreading clumps rising to 8-12” tall. White, 6-tepaled, bell-shaped flowers (to 1/4” long), often tinted with lilac, bloom in summer in racemes located atop leafless stems which rise above the foliage clump. Flowers are followed by globular, pea-sized, glossy dark purple berries.

Genus name comes from the Greek ophis meaning snake and pogon meaning beard.


No serious insect or disease problems. Winter hardiness in the St. Louis area is a concern.


Low-maintenance, ornamental, grass-like ground cover for shady areas. Primarily grown for its tufts of grass-like leaves. Beds, border fronts, edgings and rock gardens. Streams and pond margins.