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OPHIOPOGON japonicus

Image of Ophiopogon japonicus

Jessie Keith

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

OPHIOPOGON japonicus

Plant Common Name

Dwarf Lilyturf, Dwarf Mondo Grass, Japanese Lilyturf

General Description

A popular evergreen groundcover in the South, dwarf lilyturf is a tough, creeping, grass-like perennial native to Japan, Korea and China. It’s very compact, less aggressive than Liriope, and there are lots of pleasing cultivars to choose from. Its tidy beauty and ability to grow well in partially shaded spots are key to its desirability. Wild populations exist in moist, shaded or partially sunny spots along forests, ravines, cliffs or slopes. The Chinese have cultivated it for centuries for its medicinal, tuberous roots.

The short, leathery leaf blades of this spreading perennial are dark green and have rounded tips. The roots are tuberous and spread via stolons. The often lustrous blades form dense basal rosettes with a clean, attractive appearance. In summer, short spikes of small, tubular, purplish white flowers appear amid the leaves. Dark blue berry-like fruits follow.

Dwarf lilyturf grows best in partial sun to shade and moist, humus-rich soil with good drainage. It will not tolerate wet soils. Towards the end of the winter season, the blade tips may begin to look tattered and brownish. The best way to rejuvenate is to mow or shear plants back. This is a versatile plant that looks great along walkways, bed edges or as a low groundcover. It can even be used to dress up a container planting. Variegated cultivars grow more slowly than green ones.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    8"-15" / 20.3cm - 38.1cm

  • Width

    12"-18" / 30.5cm - 45.7cm

  • Bloom Time

    Summer

  • Native To

    China, Japan, Korea

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Tolerances

    Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    Blue Violet

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edging, Groundcover, Lawns and Turf, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No