How to Grow Mondo Grass


Mondo grass is an ornamental grass that is also called monkey grass and Ophiopogon japonicus. It's evergreen, with ½ inch wide blades, it grows to 16 inches tall (depending on the variety) and does well in USDA climate zones 5 through 9. It has small, insignificant flowers during summer that are white with a hint of lavender. It makes a good groundcover and serves well in border areas of pathways and stepping stones. You don't need to mow mondo grass, so it makes a good shade-loving lawn under larger trees.

Growing Mondo Grass

Step 1

Prepare your planting area by thoroughly weeding it. If you apply a balanced fertilizer to the area before you plant, it will encourage weed seeds to germinate, making it easier to eliminate them. The University of Hawaii recommends half a pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of planting area. Water the area well for two weeks and then pull weeds or apply an herbicide.

Step 2

Cultivate the area with the balanced fertilizer by digging it into the soil five or six inches deep. You can also add compost and other amendments at this time. Rake the area and continue to water it for two more weeks---watch for more weed seedlings and remove them if they sprout.

Step 3

Plant clumps of mondo grass four to 12 inches apart in a shady or partly shady area that has regular, moist soil. Be sure to cover all roots and rhizomes well, but don't plant the crowns too deeply. Avoid walking over the area or otherwise disturbing your newly planted mondo grass for at least two weeks.

Step 4

Cut back dead and damaged leaves with garden snips or scissors in early spring if needed. Try to do this before the mondo grass begins sending out new growth so you don't damage it.

Step 5

Treat fungal diseases such as anthracnose by cutting off affected leaves and spraying with sulfur or another fungicide.

Things You'll Need

  • Shade or filtered sun
  • Balanced fertilizer
  • Compost
  • Garden snips or scissors
  • Sulfur, if needed


  • University of Hawaii
  • Clemson University, South Carolina
  • Michigan State University
Keywords: mondo grass, ground covers, home landscaping

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hiā€˜iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, and She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.