The Complete Guide To Mondo Grass

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Mondo Grass is an incredibly resilient type of plant that is both tough and durable. It will stand up to everything from shade to deer – all it needs is to survive is moisture. You’ll find that you maintaining this plant is quite easy and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep it looking great.

Most often this plant is used to line flower beds and trees and works perfectly to add some dimension to your garden.

mondo grass guide

Types of Mondo Grass

Before you go out and get yourself some Mondo grass seeds you’ll need to understand the different types of this grass subset.

There are 4 main types of Mondo Grass you should be aware of including:

Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon Japonicus ‘Nanus’)

Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon Japonicus Nanus)

This is a specialized type of Mondo Grass. It grows to only around half the size of the other species in this family (around 2 – 4 inches). Dwarf Mondo Grass will have more slender leaves that give it a more petite look. You can also expect this type to not be easily affected by weather and animals.

What you will love is how easy it is to take care of, its aesthetics, and the expansive area it can cover.

Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon Planiscapus ‘Nigrescensan)

Black Mondo Grass

This type of Mondo Grass will surely get the biggest response from guests. Just like its name implies it is a darker shade than what you’ve come to think of grass. It is slow to spread as it needs to branch out from stolons under the surface of the ground. Black Mondo Grass flourishes in full sun (or part shade) and needs to be watered routinely.

Black Mondo Grass is considered a rare type due to its dark leaves. It can grow to 10 inches high and blooms in the summer months. You should expect the leaves to start out with a green color and turn to its dark shade once it’s more established. It will also remain evergreen during warmer winters as well.

Ophiopogon Japonicus

Ophiopogon Japonicus Mondo Grass

This is the type you’ll come to expect when you hear Mondo Grass – Ophiopogon Japonicus is the most common type of this grass.

It has an average height of 6 to 10 inches but has been known to be as tall as 12 inches. The great thing about this species is that it grows upwards of 15 inches wide per plant. This allows the area to remain weed free, significantly reducing the time and effort you need to spend in that area of your yard.

You’ll also be happy know that this Mondo Grass is resilient and can be grown in shaded areas.

Ideal Mono Grass Growing Conditions

Mondo grass is ideal in that it requires very little maintenance. For this reason, it is an ideal plant to grow in areas that are difficult to reach such as along steep slopes, flower beds and under trees.

It is important to note that Mondo grass really only grows well in USDA zones 7 – 11.

While this type of plant flourishes best without full sun exposure it is also drought resistant making it a great option for those who don’t spend a lot of time watering their garden.

Mondo Grass Care

Mondo grass is incredibly passive to grow which makes it a favorite amongst many gardeners. Little needs to be done in order to keep this plant looking its best. Simply remove any weeds as they come up and water occasionally during dry warm weather. In the springtime, you will want to trim back any ragged leaves to help your plant looking at its best.

Yearly you may want to add a small amount of diluted complete fertilizer. This will help to keep the plant growing at its best. Maintenance only really comes every couple of years. We recommend you dividing the clumps of this flower every 3 or so years.

Any good gardener will want to know the different pests that may be interested in their plants. Snails and slugs may become an issue to this type of plant. This plant rarely poses any disease threat but can at times form fungal issues. This is due to prolonged wet, warm periods. The results of this are not serious.

How To Grow And Propagate Mondo Grass

Mondo Grass is one of the easier plants to grow and propagate. This can be done by purchasing seeds or pre-grown plants from your local plant store. The biggest task you’ll have is keeping weeds from overtaking the area you’re planting in. A key way to combat this is by using straw or wood mulch in the areas directly surrounding your plants.

We find this to be a more natural way of combating weeds rather than using pesticides. Be sure to rid the area of weeds (even small ones) before adding your layer of straw or mulch. This will deter weeds from poking through.

  • When to Plant: Ideally you will want to plant your mondo grass in early spring following the last frost. It is possible to plant later in the season as long as you provide enough time for your plant to establish before frost sets in.
  • Where to Plant: Shaded and partial sun conditions are ideal for this plant but it can tolerate full sun as well. If planting in full sun be sure to water thoroughly following transplant. Work the area up using a rototiller. Mixing in roughly 2-3 inches of compost will produce the best results. Mondo grass grows well in containers or in garden beds.
  • Soil Type: Planting in slightly acidic soil is best for mondo grass.
  • Planting Depth: Make note of the depth your plant was growing in when in the cell pack and replicate that when transplanted to your garden.
  • Spacing: This depends on desired coverage. Planting 3-4 inches apart is ideal for those who want full coverage. Sticking to 6-8 inches apart is ideal when going for a cleaner look.
  • Feeding: Be sure to use an organic fertilizer before planting. Following the initial planting, a light use of diluted organic fertilizer every spring for the first few years of planting is ideal to keep your plant looking healthy.
  • Pruning: Use a set of grass shears to keep your mond grass under control.

Mondo Grass Lawns

mondo grass lawn

This type of plant has many uses. While often times people use mondo grass as an accent piece in many different types of garden arrangements, their use goes far beyond simply that.

As this plant is incredibly resilient, they make a very good ground cover for large areas too. Using mondo grass as a turf lawn replacement is a popular option, especially in areas with a more desert climate.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for an alternative to turf, Mondo Grass is what you’re searching for. Just like regular grass, it will remain green all year while adding a unique touch to your yard.

Not only does this plant look great but are also incredibly easy to grow and maintain. Mondo Grass also grows slowly so you can tame it and reroute it where you want it.

About The Author

Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. He likes to spend his spare time with his family, and doing DIY projects in the home and garden.

30 thoughts on “The Complete Guide To Mondo Grass”

  1. My border of flower bed mondo grass has gradually expanded into about 2 feet of the surrounding lawn. It is thick, carpet like and looks great. I’m wondering if I need to just let it keep growing and cover the entire lawn. Suggestions?

  2. My yard guys mowed and weed eated all my dwarf mondo. It looks terrible now. Will it grow back or do I need to replace it? It is just July 15th

  3. Will Mondo grass tolerate very wet soil and occasionally being under water? I am looking for something to plant near a tidal river. Thank you!

  4. Hi,I am living in a tropical region..even though the watering is normal m to this plant,it shows a type of fungal infections like decaying the roots and leaves turns to yellow and leads death of the plant..what may be the possible solution for this..

  5. I want to use Mondo grass as a border around my paved patio. But, it does snow occasionally and does get below freezing. If mondo grass is not applicable might you have some suggestions. I would like something which covers, is green and spreads but doesn’t get too unruly. Thanks.

  6. I’m thinking of planting Black Mondo grass under some native shrubs as a feature along the driveway and in a full sun position.
    What are your thoughts?
    What kind of fertilizer can I use and how often?


    • Hi Dominic, that should work well. Fertilizing isnt really needed, but you can use a slow release fertilizer during the spring and summer – probably apply once each in these seasons.

  7. We use Mondo grass for the turf of our Memorial Garden here at our retirement community. The ashes that are scattered have evidently have raised the pH to about 7.0. I understand the best pH for Mondo grass is 5.0 to 6.5. Should we apply some material to lower the pH? If so what would you suggest? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Stanley,
      I wouldn’t stress too much about those levels, but if it goes much higher it could be a concern.
      You could either go the long way – by adding some compost or an acidic mulch. Or if you want do it it faster then you can add some aluminum sulfate (available on Amazon here).

    • It is prone to other grasses growing through it – so it is probably just that. You can pull them out by the roots and hopefully, they don’t come back.

    • NO!! Leave alone-it is sprouting it’s flowers!! Look at some liriope images to see what is going to happen! Little pale lavender or white “balls”.

    • Yes it can be grown in a container – in fact it loves it! With regards to the size, it really doesn’t matter and it depends on what else you plan to plant with it.


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