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Common Name:

Monkey Grass

Scientific Name:

Ophiopogon japonica

Family Name:



Clump forming ground cover spreading by rhizomes. Monkey Grass has narrow, grass-like leaves, but it is not a grass. More mat-forming in growth habit than Liriope spp. Valued as a shade groundcover.

Plant Habit or Use:

Perennial, groundcover


partial sun, shade

Flower Color:


Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Small eigth to quarter inch diameter blue-black fruit


2 inch to 8 inch, rarely 12 inch


indefinite, mat-forming

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

With adequate water, it will survive in full sun in Texas, but looks much better if receiving at least afternoon shade. In full sun use Lioriope spp., in shade Ophiopogon spp.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.