Complete Guide to Mondo Grass: How to Grow & Care for it

Mondo grass is ideal for your garden. This grass variety is robust, hardy, and handles all types of weather conditions. Here's Everything you need to know

Mondo grass is ideal for your garden. This grass variety is robust, hardy, and handles all types of weather conditions. All the grass needs to survive is water, and it’s resilient to pests like deer. You don’t have to worry about planting mondo grass in a shady area, as the roots spread rapidly and do find in shady areas of the garden.

Mondo grass doesn’t require much maintenance, and you can expect it to thrive all-year-round in ideal conditions. Use mondo grass to line flowerbeds, providing your garden with an additional dimension and landscaped look.

Varieties of Mondo Grass

Three primary types of mondo grass do well in your garden. Before you head out to the nursery and start planting in your garden, read through the characteristics of the three varieties to understand which type of mondo grass will suit your application.

Black Mondo Grass

This mondo grass provides your garden with aesthetic appeal that your guests will notice. This grass has a darker hue than the traditional bright or light-green colors you see on your lawn.

This variety is slow-growing, as it branches out from stolons under the ground’s surface. Black mondo grass does well in sunny areas of the garden, but it also grows in shadier parts of the yard as well.

Black Mondo Grass
Black Mondo Grass, Image from PlantingTree

This variety is thirsty, and you’ll need to frequently water the grass to maintain its growth. The dark leaves of black mondo grass make it appealing as an addition to flowerbeds, and it grows to a length of 10-inches tall, and flowers in the summer months.

As the grass grows, it has a light green color that fades to black as the growing season progresses. This variety of mondo grass is resilient to the cold and will last through the winter without any issues.

Dwarf Mondo Grass

This specialized mondo grass only grows to heights of two to four inches. The leaves are slender, and the plant has a petite look that makes it attractive for use as ground cover in your flowerbeds. Dwarf mondo grass is resistant to cold weather and pests as well.

Dwarf Mondo Grass
Dwarf Mondo Grass, Image from Home Depot

Ophiopogon Japonicus

This variety is the most common type of mondo grass found in gardens across America. Ophiopogon Japonicus reaches an average height of six to 10-inches, but some grasses may grow as tall as 12-inches under the right conditions.

These plants grow wide, and you can expect it to have a circumference of up to 15-inches. This variety is also very resilient to weather and pests, and it does very well in shady areas of the garden.

Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus)

Growing Conditions for Mondo Grass

Mondo grass is every gardener’s dream. The plants require very little maintenance, and this characteristic makes them ideal for growing in hard-to-reach areas of the yard, such as slopes. The plants also do well in the shade of trees, and they continue to grow well, even without direct sunlight.

Mondo grass grows best in USDA zones 7 – 11. The hardy nature of the grass provides it with excellent drought resistance, making it an ideal option for those gardeners that are currently working with water restrictions.

Caring for Your Mondo Grass

Mondo grass doesn’t require much attention during the growing season, making it the ideal choice for gardeners that prefer passive-growing plants.

All you need to do to keep this grass looking great is water occasionally during hot weather, and pull weeds from the flowerbeds. Every two or three years, you’ll need to pull up the grass and divide the root clumps.

Growing and Propagating Mondo Grass

Mondo grass is easy to propagate and grow. You can visit your local nursery for seeds, or grow starter plants that already have root systems. The biggest challenge facing any gardener of mondo grass is keeping weeds under control. The best way to keep weeds at bay is to mulch around surrounding plants, or lay straw over the ground to block the sunlight.

It’s best to plant mondo grass in the early springtime after the last frosts finish. It’s also possible to plant later into the growing season, provided that the grass has enough time to establish a robust root system.

Plant your mondo grass anywhere you like. We recommend using it in shady areas of the garden where the ground looks sparse. You can also use dwarf varieties to line flowerbeds, providing your flowers with natural pest protection.


If you plant your mondo grass in a sunny area of the yard, make sure you water the roots thoroughly to reduce transplant shock. Prepare your flowerbed by digging into the soil for at least 18-inches to loosen the ground.

This strategy improves soil draining and aeration for the plant’s roots. Add in some compost to the ground to accelerate growth. Mondo grass prefers soil that’s slightly acidic for the best growing conditions.

Take note of the depth of the roots in the cell pack before planting, and try to plant your grass at the same height. Plant your grass at least four to six inches apart, with 8 to 10-inches being ideal for spacing between your plants.

Mondo grass doesn’t need much in the way of nutrients to survive, and you can get away with one feeding in the early spring for the first few years. After the grass establishes itself, it won’t need any further fertilizer treatments.

Using Mondo Grass for Lawns

Mondo grass is a very versatile plant. You can use it to liven up your flowerbeds or bring an extra dimension to your garden arrangements. As the grass is very resilient to climate conditions, you can use it on your lawn in sparse areas to cover the gaps. If you live in a desert climate, such as Nevada, then mondo grass is ideal for use as a lawn replacement.

Diseases and Pests Affecting Your Mondo Grass

If you notice that your mondo grass starts to experience discoloration, it could be due to root rot. While mondo grass is resilient to many pests and diseases, leaving the roots in poorly draining soil will cause the onset of root rot in all varieties.

Mondo grass does not like to have its “feet wet,” and the roots will start to perish if they have constant contact with a water source.

Symptoms of root rot – Root rot provides gardeners with telltale signs of the condition. You might notice leaf-tip burn occurring in your plants, turning the blades of grass a yellow or brownish color.

Treating Mondo Grass with Root Rot – You’ll need to use a fungicide to treat root rot effectively. Biological fungicides containing Gliocladium virens strain GL-21 will help to control Pythium splendens responsible for root rot in your plants.

Dilute the fungicide at a ratio of a third of a fluid ounce to a gallon of water. This ration and volume should be enough to treat 10-square feet of plants. Make sure you wait for dry weather and then spray the fungicide solution all over the grass.

Mondo Grass 3” in. pots – 18 Count Tray

You can also help to curb the root rot by mulching fertilizer into the roots of your plants. Compost contains micro-organisms that kill the invading pathogens and restore the roots to normal levels of health.

Work the compost into the ground around the base of the grass to a depth of around 1-inch. You should notice your grass recover slowly over around a month. However, if the disease progresses, you may have to pull the grass. These pathogens also overwinter in the soil affecting any other plants in the nearby ground.

Avoid Overwatering Your Mondo Grass

Root in your mondo grass can occur for a multitude of reasons. However, the most common cause of root rot occurs due to the combination of overwatering and poor drainage in your soil. As mentioned, mondo grass will start to experience root rot if you don’t let the roots dry out properly between watering sessions.

Pest Control

Snails and slugs love feeding on your mondo grass. If they start to attack your plants, you’ll begin to notice signs of the grass dying. The pests chew up the grass, causing wilting in the leaves.

However, it’s possible to mitigate the damage by using snail and slug bait available from your local nursery. Snails and slugs love coming out after it rains, so be on the watch for these pests after showers and heavy rains.

After a rainy spell, go through your mondo grass and separate the leaves looking for slugs and snails. Remove any visible slugs and snails before leaving the bait around the base of the plant.

You don’t have to worry about the pesticide harming your other plants or the local wildlife. The toxin in the bait is only active with repeat feeding sessions.

The granules of snail bait contain ferric phosphate, which won’t harm your pets or the birds visiting your garden. However, as soon as the snails touch the bait, they stop feeding on your grass. Place the granules of bait around 3-inches apart, and keep checking back over the next couple of days for signs of snails and slugs.

Wrapping Up – Final Thoughts

Mondo grass makes a great alternative to the turf in your garden. This evergreen grass looks fantastic year-round, and it requires minimal effort to maintain a healthy plant. The slow-growing nature of the plant makes it ideal for training and rerouting to other areas of your garden as well.

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at or follow on twitter


  1. I need to know the sturdiness (foot traffic, mower passing over it, etc.) of Dwarf Mondo Grass.

    • The dwarf mondo grass in my yard has been moved, walked on regularly and has shown no signs of the wear and tear yet. It seems very durable to me. Like a regular lawn.

  2. Having a hard time finding Gliocladium virens Gl-21 fungicides. Can you recommend any brands/names/locations for purchase?

  3. I inherited a home garden with mondo grass. The only problem with it was when I left my iris alone with it for several years, then tried to dig iris out to plant elsewhere. Mondo grass roots grew all over the rhizomes and it was a batch to separate!

  4. Cordes Dexter Reply

    I have Mondo that has over grown. I plan on cutting it back in the Spring, which will leave “stumps”, for lack of a better word. After cutting down the plants, should I split the “stumps” with a machete or knife, to give more growth points?

  5. I love Mondo Grass. I worked as an undergrad student-with the Grounds Dept. at the University of Hawaii. Many of my days were spent digging up Mondo Grass, separating the roots, and replanting one of the 2 or 3 roots. The other roots were replanted at other places on campus or sold at $100/bag (1960 $s). This thinning process was how we maintained the beauty of the grass.
    50 years later, I now use the dwarf Mondo for ground cover and it is surviving the Northwest winter. The single problem I’m facing is an animal that is eating only the leaves (not the root) cleanly. I haven’t seen any slugs or snails as Ms. Carter suggests so I don’t know what is feeding on my Dwarf Mondo and what to use to discourage whatever it is. Fencing is not a solution because it would destroy its beauty. Pls email me if you have suggestions.

  6. I have had rabbits eating my mondo. Nana only the new young shoots you v
    Can see where they have been by the teeth marks on the end on the eaten leaves.

  7. Frank in NE Florida Reply

    Any suggestions for controlling clover which is suddenly popping up in my mondo grass? Great article – thanks for the help!

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