Interestingly enough, monkey grass isn’t really grass. Monkey grass, also known as mondo grass, is actually a flowering perennial with leaves that look like grass blades. Originating in China and Japan, monkey grass is gaining popularity in many parts of the Western world because it is low-maintenance, can withstand heat, drought and nearly any soil composition, and requires little fertilizer and mowing. Monkey grass is usually planted as an evergreen ground cover to prevent erosion, but it can also make a beautiful lawn, especially in yard areas that are shaded. The only drawback to planting a monkey grass lawn is that the plant can spread aggressively and invade surrounding gardens and lawns.
Till the topsoil using a rototiller or a stiff rake. Till compost or a starter fertilizer into the soil, turning the dirt at least 1 to 2 inches deep.
Plant your monkey grass seeds in early spring or early fall. Don’t plant your monkey grass seed during times when your area receives heavy rain, because this will wash your seeds away. Most species of monkey grass thrive in shaded areas and slightly acidic and well-drained soils, including mondo grass.
Insert dividers into the soil around the perimeter of where you’re planning to grow the monkey grass. Use a straight-edged shovel, and make sure your dividers are at least eight to 12 inches deep to prevent the aggressive monkey grass from spreading outside of the lawn area.
Spread the seeds by applying half walking in one direction and then the other half walking in a perpendicular direction. You can sow the seeds by hand, or you can use a seed spreader or slit seeder.
Rake the seeds gently into the soil, and then cover the seeded area lightly with a mixture of topsoil and compost. Spread more monkey grass seed on top.
Water well after first planting the monkey grass seeds. Water your monkey grass thereafter just enough to keep it slightly moist, perhaps twice a week during drier conditions. Monkey grass can withstand both drought and heavy rainfall, but it most likes to stay moist. Don’t water during the winter unless extremely dry conditions occur.
Mow or prune the monkey grass once in the early spring to remove the brown leaves before the new growth begins. This is the only time you need to mow the monkey grass.
Things You Will Need
- Monkey grass seeds
- Rototiller (optional)
- Stiff rake
- Compost or starter fertilizer
- Straight-edged shovel
- Seed spreader or slit seeder (optional)
- Lawn mower or pruning shears
- You can use a roller over the seeded lawn, which will encourage seed germination from good seed-to-soil contact.
- Consider planting a species of monkey grass called dwarf mondo grass. This species stays short naturally. All other species of monkey grass grow between 10 to 15 inches in height, depending on the variety.
- Don't plant monkey grass in your lawn without using dividers to keep it contained and prevent it from spreading. Your neighbors may not like monkey grass spreading into their yard, and you'll not like the monkey grass taking over your other plants.