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How to Plant Aztec Grass

By Larry Parr ; Updated September 21, 2017
Aztec grass grows in a deep mat, up to 12 inches high with small purple flowers

Aztec grass, also known as Lilyturf, is a variety of mondo grass and is planted and cared for the same way as most other mondo varieties. Aztec grass produces a 12-inch high solid mat with spiky purple blooms. Once established it is difficult to keep Aztec grass contained as it spreads by underground rhizomes (roots) and can be quite invasive, although it grows more slowly than most other mondo varieties. It is adapted to hardiness zones 6 through 10 and grows best in only partial sun, specially in hardiness zones 9 and 10. Many homeowners only mow Aztec grass once each season, treating it more as a ground cover than a lawn. It can be planted either by seed or by division (sodding or sprigs). Aztec grass should be planted in early Spring to allow it time to become established before the dormant winter season.

Prepare the area to be planted with Aztec grass by watering it thoroughly for 10 days to encourage weed growth.

Spray the weeds with a non-selective herbicide. Spray on a windless day and do not spray if rain is expected over the next 24 hours. Do not spray plants that you do not wish to kill.

Wait seven days for the weeds to completely die and then rake all dead vegetation from the area with a hard steel rake.

Spread 1 inch of organic manure on the area and then rototill the ground to a depth of 6 inches, rototilling the manure into the soil.

Rake again with your hard steel rake to remove anything turned up by the rototilling and to level the area.

Water well and keep the area damp for two weeks. Spray any new weeds with the non-selective herbicide and wait one more week for the weeds to die. Your area is now ready to plant with Aztec grass.

Secure tuffs (4 to 6 inch pieces of sod) or sprigs (individual pieces of grass with roots and rhizomes attached). Tuffs and sprigs can be obtained from a nursery or by digging up pieces of an existing aztec grass plot. If digging into an existing plot, dig down 4 inches with a spade and then shove the spade horizontally and lift out strips of grass with attached roots. Break into 4 to 6 inches pieces for replanting. Plant them 4 to 12 inches apart. Planting more closely together results in the grass filling in faster. Press down on each tuff firmly but gently with your foot to insure that the roots are in full contact with the soil. Water well.

Apply a pre-emergence herbicide to the area following the manufacturer's instructions in order to prevent new weeds from emerging while your Aztec grass is establishing itself.

Keep the new lawn watered regularly. The soil should be moist but not soaking. The lawn should completely fill in over approximately a three-year period.


Things You Will Need

  • Aztec grass tuffs or sprigs
  • Water
  • Non-specific herbicide
  • Rototiller
  • Hard steel rake
  • Organic manure

About the Author


Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for television, everything from "Smurfs" to "Spider-Man." Today Parr train dogs and write articles on a variety of topics for websites worldwide.