How to Grow and Care for Mondo Grass in Your Garden?

How to Grow and Care for Mondo Grass
16 min reading time

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance, visually appealing ground cover for your garden, mondo grass may be the perfect choice. This hardy plant is known for its lush, dark green foliage and is relatively easy to grow and maintain with the right care. In this article, we’ll provide you with tips on how to grow and care for mondo grass to help you successfully grow and care for this beautiful plant.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper soil preparation is crucial for the healthy growth of mondo grass.
  • Adequate watering and fertilization are essential for the health and vitality of mondo grass.
  • Mulching can help to maintain soil moisture and prevent weed growth around mondo grass.
  • Regular trimming and pruning are necessary to maintain the neat appearance of mondo grass.

Understanding Mondo Grass

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance, attractive ground cover for your garden, mondo grass is an excellent choice. Mondo grass is a slow-growing evergreen ground cover that is native to East Asia and is commonly grown in the United States.

One of the best things about mondo grass is that it is easy to grow and care for, making it a popular choice for both novice and experienced gardeners. However, before you start growing mondo grass, it’s important to understand its growth habits and ideal growing conditions.

Growing Mondo Grass

Mondo grass is a low-growing plant that typically reaches a height of 8 to 12 inches and spreads slowly to form a dense mat. It grows best in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 11 and prefers partial shade to full shade.

When planting mondo grass, it’s important to space the plants properly to allow for adequate air circulation and to prevent the growth of fungus. Space dwarf mondo grass plants 6 to 8 inches apart, and regular mondo grass plants 12 to 18 inches apart.

While mondo grass is drought-tolerant once established, it still requires regular watering during its first growing season to establish a healthy root system. After the first year, mondo grass will only need watering during periods of extended drought.

Best Practices for Mondo Grass

To ensure your mondo grass thrives, follow these best practices:

  • Ensure the soil pH is between 6.0 and 6.5, which is slightly acidic.
  • Use organic compost or other organic matter to enrich the soil and improve drainage.
  • Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can cause excessive growth and lead to disease and insect problems.
  • Mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and control weeds.
  • Regularly prune or trim your mondo grass to maintain its neat appearance and prevent overgrowth.

By following these best practices, you can enjoy the beauty and benefits of mondo grass in your garden for years to come.

How to Grow and Care for Mondo Grass: Selecting the Right Variety

Choosing the right variety of mondo grass is essential for its successful cultivation. There are two main types of mondo grass: Ophiopogon japonicus, which has wider leaves and can grow up to 8 inches tall, and Ophiopogon planiscapus, which has narrow leaves and grows up to 6 inches tall.

Within each type, there are several varieties to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. When selecting the right variety, consider factors such as your region’s climate, soil type, and the amount of sunlight your garden receives.

Ophiopogon japonicus varieties such as ‘Nana’ and ‘Kyoto Dwarf’ are ideal for colder regions, while ‘Silver Mist’ and ‘Silver Dragon’ prefer warmer climates. ‘Variegatus’ and ‘Albo-striatus’ are popular Ophiopogon planiscapus varieties, thanks to their striking white and green striped leaves.

Ultimately, the variety you choose will depend on your personal preferences and the conditions in your garden. Consider consulting with a local nursery or horticulturist for more specific recommendations on the best variety of mondo grass for your garden.

Preparing the Soil

Proper soil preparation is essential for successfully growing and maintaining mondo grass. It’s important to select a soil mix that has excellent drainage to prevent water-logging, as mondo grass does not tolerate wet feet.

The ideal soil pH for mondo grass is 5.0 to 6.5. You can test your soil’s pH using a soil testing kit, available at most gardening stores. If your soil is too alkaline, you can lower the pH by adding sulfur or iron sulfate.

Before planting, work in a layer of organic matter, such as compost or aged manure. This will add essential nutrients to the soil and help improve soil structure.

It’s also important to remove any weeds or debris from the planting area to prevent competition for nutrients and moisture. Use a hoe or rake to remove these unwanted plants before planting your mondo grass.

Amending the Soil

If your soil is heavy clay or very sandy, it may need additional amendments to improve its texture and drainage. For clay soils, add a layer of sand or perlite to improve drainage. For sandy soils, add organic matter to help retain moisture.

You can also add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil before planting. This will provide your mondo grass with the necessary nutrients to thrive. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging to determine the correct amount to use.

With proper soil preparation, your mondo grass will have a strong foundation for healthy growth. By following these essential mondo grass care tips, you can successfully cultivate and maintain your mondo grass in your garden.

Mondo Grass Planting Instructions

Planting mondo grass is a simple process that can be done in a few easy steps. Follow these instructions for successful planting:

  1. Choose a planting location that offers full to partial sunlight and well-draining soil. Mondo grass can tolerate various soil types, but it prefers soil with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5.
  2. Prepare the soil by removing weeds and debris. Use a garden fork to loosen the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches. If necessary, amend the soil with organic matter to improve drainage.
  3. If planting multiple mondo grass plants, space them 8 to 12 inches apart to allow for proper root development. When planting, make sure the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.
  4. Water the newly planted mondo grass thoroughly. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged for the first few weeks to promote root establishment.

Note: For best results, plant mondo grass in the spring or fall months when temperatures are cooler.

Mondo Grass Watering and Fertilization

Mondo grass requires regular watering to maintain its lush green appearance and prevent drying out. However, overwatering can lead to root rot, so it’s essential to strike the right balance.

The best way to water mondo grass is deeply and infrequently. Water your mondo grass thoroughly once a week, ensuring the soil is moist to a depth of at least six inches. If the topsoil feels dry to the touch, it’s time to water again. Avoid overhead watering, as it can result in fungal problems.

When fertilizing your mondo grass, choose a slow-release fertilizer with balanced amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Apply the fertilizer in early spring, when the grass begins to grow, and again in late summer to boost its growth before winter.

It’s important not to over-fertilize your mondo grass, as it can lead to excessive growth and thatch buildup. Always follow the product instructions and apply the recommended amount.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your mondo grass stays healthy and vibrant in your garden for years to come.

Mondo Grass Care and Maintenance: Mulching

How to Grow and Care for Mondo Grass

Mulching is an essential part of maintaining the health and growth of your mondo grass. Not only does it help retain moisture in the soil, but it also suppresses weed growth, insulates the soil, and adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.

The best time to apply mulch is after planting your mondo grass or in the spring, when the ground has warmed up. The ideal depth for mulch is about 2-3 inches, but be careful not to apply too much, as this can suffocate the roots and hinder growth.

When selecting the type of mulch to use, choose a material that will break down slowly, adding nutrients to the soil over time. Some popular options for mondo grass include shredded bark, pine needles, and composted leaves. Organic materials like these will also improve soil structure, allowing for better water and nutrient retention.

To mulch around your mondo grass, begin by removing any weeds or debris from the soil surface. Then, apply a layer of mulch around the base of each plant, taking care not to cover the foliage or crown. Mulch should be replenished annually, as it breaks down and decomposes over time.

With proper mulching, you can help your mondo grass thrive in even the most challenging growing conditions. Follow these mondo grass care tips to ensure your ground cover remains healthy and lush all season long.

Controlling Weeds and Pests

Mondo grass is a hardy ground cover plant that is not typically affected by pests or diseases. However, weeds can quickly take over if left unchecked, and some pests may cause damage to the foliage. Here are some tips for controlling weeds and pests:

Controlling Weeds

The best way to prevent weeds from taking over your mondo grass is to keep the area around it free from vegetation and debris. Regularly remove any fallen leaves or other organic material that can provide a home for weed seeds to take root.

If weeds do start to grow, remove them manually by pulling them out by the roots. A hoe or cultivator can also be used to loosen the soil and remove weeds. Be sure to remove the entire root system to prevent the weed from growing back.

For a more long-term solution, consider using a pre-emergent herbicide in the early spring before weeds have a chance to germinate. Always follow the instructions on the product label and apply carefully to avoid damaging your mondo grass.

Controlling Pests

Mondo grass is generally resistant to pests, but there are a few that may cause harm. Spider mites, aphids, and scale insects can all feed on the foliage and cause damage to the plant.

If you notice any signs of a pest infestation, such as discolored or distorted foliage, use a gentle insecticidal soap to treat the affected areas. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label and apply carefully to avoid damaging your mondo grass or harming beneficial insects.

Another way to prevent pests is to promote a healthy growing environment for your mondo grass. Adequate watering, fertilizing, and mulching will keep your plant strong and less susceptible to pest damage.

By following these tips for weed and pest control, your mondo grass will be healthy and stunning all year round.

Mondo Grass Care Tips: Trimming and Pruning

Mondo grass is a hardy plant that requires little maintenance. However, regular trimming and pruning are necessary to keep it healthy and attractive. Here are some tips to help you properly trim and prune your mondo grass:

  • Start by removing any dead or damaged leaves and stems using a pair of pruning shears.
  • Trim back any overgrown or unsightly areas of the plant to promote healthy growth.
  • Be careful not to cut the plant back too far, as this can damage the root system.
  • Use a sharp pair of shears to make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle.
  • Regular trimming and pruning can also prevent the plant from becoming invasive and taking over other areas of your garden.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your mondo grass remains healthy and attractive year-round.

Dividing and Propagating Mondo Grass

Dividing and propagating mondo grass is a great way to keep your garden looking healthy and vibrant. It’s an easy process that can be completed in just a few steps.

Dividing Mondo Grass

The best time to divide mondo grass is in the early spring when new growth begins to appear. Here are the easy steps to divide your mondo grass:

  1. Carefully dig up the mondo grass clump. It’s important to keep the roots intact during this process.
  2. Use a sharp garden knife to cut the clump into smaller sections. Each section should have roots and at least one shoot.
  3. Replant the sections in the desired location, making sure to space them at least 6 inches apart.
  4. Water the newly planted mondo grass sections thoroughly.

Propagating Mondo Grass

Propagating mondo grass is a simple process that can be done in just a few easy steps:

  1. Cut a section of mondo grass that has at least one shoot and a good amount of roots.
  2. Plant the section in a pot filled with moist potting soil.
  3. Keep the pot in a warm, well-lit area and water it regularly.
  4. Once the section has established roots, it can be replanted in the desired location in your garden.

By dividing and propagating mondo grass, you can easily expand your garden’s coverage and maintain its healthy appearance without having to purchase new plants. Just remember to follow the necessary care instructions to ensure successful growth and propagation.

Overwintering Mondo Grass

Mondo grass is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but it can be susceptible to winter damage in some regions. Here are some mondo grass care tips to help protect your plants during the colder months.

  • Watering: During the winter, mondo grass needs less frequent watering. However, it is essential to ensure the soil does not dry out completely. Water deeply once every three to four weeks, or as needed.
  • Mulching: As with other plants, mulching around mondo grass provides insulation and protects the roots from frost. Apply a layer of mulch, such as pine straw or shredded leaves, around the plants to a depth of two to three inches.
  • Pruning: Late autumn is an ideal time to trim back any dead or damaged foliage, as well as to prune to maintain shape. Be sure to dispose of any diseased foliage away from the plant and clean up the garden bed to avoid overwintering disease or insect infestations that could harm your plants.
  • Winter protection: Finally, if you live in an area where the temperature drops below freezing, consider covering your mondo grass with frost cloth or burlap to provide additional protection. This will not only help retain heat, but it will also help ward off pests and prevent snow and ice from weighing down the plants.

By following these simple mondo grass care tips, you can ensure that your plants survive the winter months and continue to provide year-round beauty to your garden.


Congratulations! You now have the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully grow and care for mondo grass in your garden.

Remember, selecting the right variety, preparing the soil, proper watering and fertilization, mulching, weed and pest control, pruning, propagation, and overwintering are all crucial aspects of mondo grass care.

By following the guidelines outlined in this article and staying attentive to your plants’ needs, you can enjoy the many benefits of mondo grass – from its attractive appearance to its ability to control erosion and tolerate a wide range of soil types and growing conditions.

So, don’t wait any longer. Get started on your journey to successful mondo grass cultivation today!

Thank you for reading this article on How to Grow and Care for Mondo Grass. We hope you found it informative and helpful. Happy gardening!


How do I grow and care for mondo grass?

To grow and care for mondo grass, you need to understand its characteristics, select the right variety, prepare the soil, plant it correctly, water and fertilize it adequately, mulch to retain moisture, control weeds and pests, trim and prune regularly, divide and propagate as needed, and protect it during winter months.

What are the characteristics of mondo grass?

Mondo grass is a ground cover with slender, grass-like leaves that grow in clumps. It comes in different varieties, including dwarf and black mondo grass, and thrives in various soil conditions.

How do I select the right variety of mondo grass?

When selecting the right variety of mondo grass, consider factors such as sun exposure, soil type, and desired aesthetic. Dwarf mondo grass is great for shaded areas, while black mondo grass adds a unique color contrast.

How should I prepare the soil for mondo grass?

Prepare the soil for mondo grass by ensuring it is well-draining and rich in organic matter. Adjust the pH levels if necessary and add amendments like compost or peat moss to improve soil quality.

What are the planting instructions for mondo grass?

Plant mondo grass during the appropriate season, spacing them according to their variety. Dig holes slightly larger than the root ball, place the plants in the holes, and fill with soil. Water thoroughly after planting.

How do I water and fertilize mondo grass?

Water mondo grass regularly, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Apply a balanced fertilizer in spring and summer to provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.

Why is mulching important for mondo grass?

Mulching helps retain moisture in the soil, suppresses weed growth, and insulates the roots during extreme temperatures. Use organic mulch, such as wood chips or straw, and apply a layer around the plants.

How can I control weeds and pests in my mondo grass?

To control weeds, regularly remove any unwanted plants by hand or use a natural weed killer. Monitor for pests like slugs or snails and employ eco-friendly methods, such as beer traps or diatomaceous earth, to protect your mondo grass.

When and how should I trim and prune mondo grass?

Trim and prune mondo grass in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Use sharp shears to cut back any dead or damaged foliage, maintaining a neat appearance for your plants.

How do I divide and propagate mondo grass?

Divide mondo grass clumps every few years to rejuvenate growth. Carefully dig up the clump and separate it into smaller sections, replanting them in suitable locations. Propagation can also be done from seeds or by separating plantlets from mature plants.

How can I protect mondo grass during winter?

Protect mondo grass during winter by applying a layer of mulch around the plants to insulate the roots. Avoid excessive moisture and ensure proper drainage to prevent root rot. In colder regions, consider covering the plants with a frost blanket or moving them indoors.

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