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How to Plant Mondo Grass

By Dale Devries ; Updated September 21, 2017

Although the name mondo grass leads you to believe this plant is grass, it is not. Mondo grass is a member of the lily family and is scientifically known as Ophiopogon japonicus. There are several popular species, including dwarf mondo grass and black mondo grass. Mondo grass is used as a ground cover and spread by means of underground stolons and tuberous roots. The plant is drought resistant and prefers warm soil. Mondo grass is hardy in USDA planting zones 7 through 10.

Choose a location that has full morning sun and partial afternoon shade. The area should be high enough that water will not pool after a rain. Plan on preparing the soil bed as soon as the ground can be worked in the early spring.

Scrape off lawn turf from the top of the soil with a flat-head shovel. Sprinkle remaining soil with a balanced fertilizer and 1 oz. of nitrogen per 100 square feet of soil. Till to a depth of 6 inches. Water the soil every other day for a period of two weeks to allow sprouting of weeds.

Pull all weeds that have sprouted and spread on another application of fertilizer. Add 2 inches of compost to the top of the soil and till again to the same depth. Rake the soil out level. Water again for another two weeks and pull all weeds that have sprouted.

Dig holes with a garden spade the same size as the containers that the mondo grass plants were purchased in. They should be spaced 6 to 12 inches apart for long-leaf varieties and 2 to 4 inches for dwarf varieties.

Remove the mondo grass plants from the containers and place into the planting holes. They should be planted at the same level they are in the containers. Firmly tamp the soil down around them.

Water the mondo grass thoroughly to establish roots and keep the soil evenly moist throughout the spring and summer. Start to cut back watering in the fall when the soil starts to feel dry.

Mulch around the young plants with grass clippings or pine needles. This will keep down the weeds while the plants are getting established. Grass clippings and pine needles will also decompose naturally and add nitrogen to the soil. Once established the mondo grass will fill out and it will be too shady for weeds to grow.


Things You Will Need

  • Mondo grass plants
  • Shovel
  • Tiller
  • Rake
  • Garden spade
  • Balanced fertilizer
  • Nitrogen
  • Compost
  • Grass clippings or pine needle mulch


  • Instead of adding more fertilizer the following spring, add an inch of compost to the soil and allow it to seep into the soil through regular watering.