Ophiopogon is commonly called Monkey grass, Mondo grass, or dwarf Lilyturf. Not a grass and definitely not a lily, Ophiopogon offers gardeners a shade tolerant, tough alternative to grass. Its fine texture can make it hard to distinguish from turf. In March, following a cold winter, I will shear Ophiopogon with my string trimmer as new growth begins. This year was so mild that there was no winter damage necessitating shearing.
Lariope, or Lilyturf, is much coarser. Think linguine to Ophiopogon’s spaghetti. Taller, often fertile, and aggressively spreading, Lariope easily handles the toughest gardening conditions, such as holding slopes and covering large, rough areas. Shearing Lariope is a must, as last year’s foliage is bleached and tattered. A string trimmer is best, but hand trimming is required where these groundcovers meet other plants.
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