A perennial evergreen, mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus) belongs to the plant family of Liliaceae, which is commonly dominated by lily varieties. A popular ground cover, the grass grows between 2 to 12 inches in length. It quickly fills in gaps around stepping stones or walkways. The grass grows well alongside ponds and creeks. Due to its shade tolerance, the grass grows under trees and shrubs. When grown in shady conditions it rarely needs mowing.
Mondo grass grows well in shade or full sunlight. It withstands virtually any soil type. The grass requires warm weather and does well in the United States Department of Agriculture zones 7 to 11. Despite, being predominately a warm season grass, mondo grass maintains its bright green color even in winter. The grass is virtually pest-free and rarely suffers from diseases, according to Floridata.
Mondo grass grows using stolons and fibrous roots in sod-forming clumps. Its vigorous growth can become invasive to flowerbeds or other locations. Placing edging material between the mondo grass and the flowerbeds helps to keep the grass from invading.
Watering and Fertilizing
Mondo grass appreciates moist soil conditions, but once established it is easily drought-tolerant. It rarely requires fertilizing, but does benefit from an application in the spring.
Each spring shearing or mowing of mondo grass helps encourage new growth and restores its overall appearance. During the winter months it can become ragged-looking; mowing helps rejuvenate it.
Varieties and Cultivars
Several varieties of mondo grass exist. Numerous cultivars offer dwarf varieties that grow well with no mowing. Black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens') produces green foliage that quickly matures to a black coloring. The grass is a popular ornamental. To maintain the black coloring of the grass requires shady conditions.