Mondo Grass – Ophiopogon japonicus is an attractive grass-like ground cover with clumps of dark green, leathery leaves (300mm long) and pale mauve flowers. Good for holding soil along driveway edges or steep slopes. O. Japonicas ‘Kyoto’ (Dwarf mondo grass) does well between stepping stones. The hardy Black mondo grass (O. planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’), with dark purple foliage and white flowers, grows in partial shade.
These versatile little plants are excellent to plant in bog gardens or in moist soil next to water features and alongside streams and dams. ‘Kyoto Dwarf’ is a great groundcover and good for edging walkways and defining beds. Tall varieties are often planted next to the foundations of buildings to help disguise and soften them. If the dwarf cultivars like ‘Kyoto Dwarf’ are planted thickly they make an excellent maintenance free lawn substitute for small gardens, requiring no mowing; and are especially useful to plant on slopes because the dense mat of roots holds the ground exceedingly well, preventing water runoff.
Dwarf varieties are also excellent planted between paving slabs and stepping stones, and are used extensively in Japanese pebble gardens; they also make a pretty edging plant for woodland and cottage gardens; geometric layouts, and in post modern and tropical schemes. Ophiopogon with its finely textured foliage provides a handsome backdrop for more colourful plants, making it a useful evergreen for mixed planters of seasonal annuals or perennials.