Mondo grass varieties grow in sub-tropical and tropical regions as ornamental ground-covers. The grass grows in tiny tufts and produces white or lilac blossoms in the spring or summer. Exceptionally drought tolerant when necessary, the plant still prefers to be grown in moist soil conditions. Mondo grass grows well in shady conditions where other grasses often fail to flourish. The grass spreads quickly using a tuberous root system. There are numerous varieties available to fit many landscaping needs.
Black Mondo Grass
Black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus) offers striking black grass blades and tiny pink flowers. The tufts stand approximately 10 inches in height. Each tuft normally grows 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Bell-shaped flowers appear each spring. It will grow in sun or shade but prefers shade. Young foliage emerges green but quickly turns black in appearance.
The evergreen giant (Ophiopogon jaburan) mondo grass attains a height of 36 inches and will grow 12 inches in a diameter clumping habit. Its foliage is a deep green. The grass produces purple or white flowers. The evergreen giant is never used as a ground cover but instead is strictly an ornamental large clumping grass used to accent areas.
Aztec grass (Ophiopogon jaburan) is also known as lily turf. The grass grows up to 18 inches in height. The grass is one of the faster spreading mondo grasses and can easily overtake a flower bed. The plants foliage is variegated a white and green. It prefers to be grown in full sunlight. The plant likes moist well-draining soil conditions. In the late summer it produces white bell-shaped flowers.
Nanus grass (O. japonicus var. nanus) is often considered to be dwarf mondo grass. The grass only grows 3 inches in height. The grass does not blossom like other varieties. It is relatively slow growing and forms tight, tiny clumps. The plant enjoys full shade and will not tolerate sunlight well. It is often grown between stepping stones. Moderate foot traffic rarely bothers the plant. The grass is an evergreen.