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.
Mondo Grass Quick Facts
|Types of Mondo Grass
|Black Mondo Grass, Dwarf Mondo Grass, Dwarf Lilyturf (Ophiopogon Japonicus)
|USDA Hardiness Zones
|Full sun to partial shade
|Slightly acidic, well-draining soil; pH between 6.0 and 6.5
|Regular watering during establishment, reduce frequency afterward; deep watering for established plants
|Low; occasional weeding, dividing root clumps every 2-3 years
|Balanced, slow-release fertilizer applied in early spring
|Seeds or starter plants with root systems
|Early spring after the last frost
|4-6 inches apart, ideally 8-10 inches
|Snails and slugs
|Toxicity to Pets
|Toxic to cats and dogs if ingested
|Ground cover, flower bed edging, lawn replacement, shaded garden areas
|Hostas, ferns, and other shade-loving plants
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.
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.
- This perennial evergreen grass is dense with dark green foliage. Its slow and clumping growth habit reaches only 4-6 inches tall(4-6 inches wide). This ornamental grass is widely used in rock gardens, seashore plantings, borders and groundcovers.
- Creates a lush groundcover of dense, dark green grass-like clumps. This dwarf is only half the size of the regular species. Excellent as an edging plant or tucked into rocks for a pleasing contrast
- Dwarf mondo grass is similar in appearance to a ground cover commonly called Lilyturf (Liriope muscari), but has thinner leaves and a finer texture.
- This low-maintenance evergreen needs a regular water schedule to ensure the growth of a mature root system. After the mature root system is established, watering is needed occasionally, except during a drought, watering is needed regularly. Pruning old foliage is recommended to maintain a well-groomed appearance.
- This dwarf variety, only half the size of others, creates a lush groundcover of dense, dark green grass-like clumps.
- Gorgeous Black/ Dark Purple Foliage
- Zone 6-9
- 6 inches height
- 2.5 Inch Pot, very mature and ready to get going inyour garden!
Last update on 2024-01-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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.
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.
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 Mondo Grass Key Points:
- Soil: Mondo grass prefers well-draining soil. Although it can tolerate a range of soil types, it grows best in slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5.
- Watering: While mondo grass is drought-tolerant, it still needs consistent watering, especially during its establishment period. For the first few weeks after planting, water it regularly to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Once established, reduce the frequency but ensure deep watering to encourage root growth.
- Pruning: Mondo grass does not require frequent pruning, but you can trim it back if it becomes too tall or unkempt. You can also mow dwarf mondo grass varieties in early spring to remove any dead foliage and encourage new growth.
- Fertilizing: Mondo grass has low nutrient requirements, but it can benefit from a balanced, slow-release fertilizer applied in early spring. This can promote healthy growth and help maintain the plant’s vibrant color.
- Companion plants: Consider mentioning suitable companion plants for mondo grass, which can enhance its visual appeal and provide additional benefits to the garden. For example, hostas, ferns, and other shade-loving plants can complement mondo grass in shaded garden areas.
- Potential issues with pets: Although the article mentions that ferric phosphate bait is safe for pets, it’s worth noting that mondo grass itself can be toxic to cats and dogs if ingested. This may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms. Ensure that pets do not chew on the grass, and contact a veterinarian if ingestion occurs.
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 & Landscaping
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.
- Pathway Edging: Mondo grass, particularly the dwarf varieties, can be used as an attractive edging for garden pathways. Plant it along the sides of your walkways to create a neat, organized appearance and add visual interest.
- Shaded Garden Areas: Mondo grass thrives in shady conditions, making it perfect for planting under trees or in areas where other plants struggle to grow due to limited sunlight. Use mondo grass to fill in bare spots and create a lush, green carpet in these areas.
- Rock Gardens: Incorporate mondo grass into rock gardens to add contrasting textures and softness. The grass complements the hardscaping elements, providing a balance between the rocks and surrounding vegetation.
- Mixed Borders: Combine mondo grass with other perennials, shrubs, and ground covers to create a dynamic and layered garden border. The varying heights, textures, and colors of the plants will create an interesting and visually appealing landscape feature.
- Slope Stabilization: Mondo grass is an excellent choice for planting on slopes and hillsides where erosion control is needed. Its spreading roots will help hold the soil in place while providing a low-maintenance and attractive ground cover.
- Water Features: Plant mondo grass around ponds, streams, or other water features to soften the edges and create a more natural look. The grass can also help to filter runoff and protect the water quality.
- Garden Accents: Use contrasting mondo grass varieties, such as the Black Mondo Grass, to create striking accents in your garden. The dark foliage can serve as a backdrop for brightly colored flowers or as a focal point in a minimalist garden design.
- Container Gardening: Plant mondo grass in containers or raised beds to create unique, low-maintenance displays. Combine mondo grass with other shade-loving plants, such as hostas or ferns, for an interesting and cohesive container arrangement.
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.
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.
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.
Mondo grass is a versatile, low-maintenance, and visually appealing ground cover for a variety of garden applications. With its ability to thrive in different light conditions, its cold-hardiness, and drought-tolerance, mondo grass is an excellent choice for gardeners seeking an attractive and resilient ground cover.
By understanding the different varieties, planting and care requirements, and addressing any potential pest or disease issues, you can enjoy the benefits of mondo grass in your garden all year round.
Whether you use it for flower bed edging, lawn replacement, or to enhance shaded garden areas, mondo grass offers a durable and aesthetically pleasing solution for gardeners of all skill levels.
Mondo Grass FAQs
Will mondo grass spread?
Yes, mondo grass spreads through underground stolons, creating a dense ground cover over time. However, it has a relatively slow growth rate and is easy to control.
Where does mondo grass grow best?
Mondo grass grows best in USDA hardiness zones 7-11 and can tolerate a range of light conditions, from full sun to partial shade. It prefers slightly acidic, well-draining soil.
Is mondo grass invasive?
No, mondo grass is not considered invasive. Its slow growth rate and non-aggressive spreading make it easy to manage and control in the garden.
Can you walk on mondo grass?
While mondo grass is somewhat durable, it’s not ideal for areas with heavy foot traffic. Light foot traffic is generally fine, but for high-traffic areas, consider alternative ground covers or pathways.
Why is mondo grass so expensive?
Mondo grass prices may be higher than other ground covers due to its slower growth rate and propagation methods. It may also be priced higher for its aesthetic appeal and low-maintenance qualities.
What are common problems with mondo grass?
The most common issues with mondo grass are root rot (due to poorly draining soil or overwatering) and damage from snails and slugs. Proper care, well-draining soil, and pest control measures can help prevent these problems.
What happens to mondo grass in winter?
Mondo grass is an evergreen plant, so it retains its color and appearance throughout the winter. It is cold-hardy and can tolerate freezing temperatures in USDA zones 7-11.
Does mondo grass need a lot of water?
Mondo grass needs consistent watering, especially during the establishment period. Once established, it becomes more drought-tolerant, requiring less frequent but deeper watering.
Is mondo grass toxic to dogs?
Yes, mondo grass can be toxic to dogs and cats if ingested. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive issues. Keep pets away from the grass and contact a veterinarian if ingestion occurs.