Ophiopogon Japonicus, Known as Mondo Grass: Dwarf Mondo Grass Care

The mondo grass is a dwarf variety of the more commonly found Ophiopogon japonicus. It is a low growing, evergreen perennial grass that is frequently found in Japanese gardens. Read on to learn more about care and maintenance of Mondo grass.
Eva Blum
mondo grass

What Is Mondo Grass?

Mondo grass is a popular ground cover plant that is native to Asia. It is commonly used in gardens and landscaping due to its low maintenance requirements. Mondo grass is a perennial plant, meaning that it will live for many years with the proper care. It creates an excellent groundcover. There are many types of mondo grass, each with its own unique appearance.

Mondo grass is a popular landscaping plant because it is low-maintenance and easy to care for. It is also heat- and drought-tolerant, making it a good choice for gardens in warm climates. Mondo grass does best in full sun, but can tolerate partial shade.

Mondo Grass Appearance

The plant forms dense clumps of slender, dark green leaves. Small, white flowers blooms in the summer, attracting bees and other pollinators. The grass-like leaves of mondo grass are evergreen, meaning they remain green throughout the year. The plant grows in low, dense mats and spreads via underground stolons, or runners.

Size

The leaves are 1–3 cm (0.4–1.2 in) wide and 10–30 cm (4–12 in) long, with a blunt tip. They’re arranged in a spiral around the stems and often have purple or red edges. The small, white flowers appear in summer, blooming on slender spikes 10–20 cm (4–8 inches tall) above the foliage. Each flower is followed by an oval-shaped black fruit.

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Mondo Grass Distribution and Habitat

Mondo grass is native to temperate and subtropical areas of Asia, including Japan, China, and Korea. It was introduced to Europe and North America as an ornamental plant. Today, mondo grass is commonly used as a ground cover or edging plant in gardens and landscapes. It’s also used in Japanese Zen gardens.

Care for Mondo Grass

Mondo grass is a popular ground cover plant that is known for its dark green, glossy leaves. It is a low-maintenance plant that does not require much care. However, there are a few things you can do to keep your mondo grass looking its best.

Watering

Mondo grass prefers to be kept moist, but not soggy. Water your mondo grass about once a week, or as needed, to keep the soil moist. Be sure to water at the base of the plant and not on the leaves, as this can cause leaf spot.

Fertilizing

Mondo grass does not need a lot of fertilizer, but you can give it a light feeding in early spring with a balanced fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer according to the package directions.

Pruning

Mondo grass does not require pruning, but you can trim it back if it starts to look overgrown. Use sharp shears to make clean cuts.

Diseases and Pests

Mondo grass is relatively disease and pest resistant. However, it can be susceptible to fungal diseases in humid or wet conditions. If your mondo grass starts to show signs of disease, such as discolored leaves or stunted growth, remove affected leaves and stems and dispose of them. You can also treat the plant with a fungicide according to the package directions. Mondo grass can also be attractive to slugs and snails. If you notice these pests on your plant, remove them by hand or treat the plant with a product that contains iron phosphate.

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Mondo Grass Propagation

Mondo grass can also be propagated from seed, but it is more commonly propagated by division. To divide mondo grass, dig up the entire plant and carefully pull it apart into smaller sections. Each section should have several shoots. Replant the sections immediately in prepared soil.

How to Plant Mondo Grass?

Mondo grass, also known as dwarf lillyturf, is a low-growing ornamental grass that is native to Japan. It is often used as a ground cover or in container gardens. Mondo grass is easy to care for and does not require much maintenance.

Choose the Perfect Spot

To plant mondo grass, choose a location that receives partial to full sun, but this plant can grow easily in little light exposure. Mondo grass prefers well-drained soil. Prepare the planting area by tilling the soil and removing any weeds. Loosen the soil with a shovel and space the plants at least 8 inches apart.

Prepare the Soil

Dig a hole twice the width of the pot the mondo grass is growing in. Place the plant in the hole and backfill with soil, tamping it down gently as you go. Water the plant deeply immediately after planting. Mulch around the plant to help retain moisture and keep weeds at bay. Mondo grass does not need to be fertilized, but you can apply a general-purpose fertilizer once a year in the springtime.

Watering

Mondo grass is drought tolerant once it is established, but will look best if it is watered on a regular basis during dry spells. To avoid browning, water mondo grass in the morning so that the leaves have time to dry before nightfall.

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Mondo Grass vs. Monkey Grass

The ornamental grass known as monkey grass (Liriope) is a different species from mondo grass and has larger, broader blades than it. It grows in thicker clusters than mondo grass and has longer, wider blades.

Traditional Use of Ophiopogon Japonicus

Mondo grass has long been valued for its ability to thrive in shady areas and its ability to suppress weeds. It is often used as a groundcover or edging plant in gardens, and its dense growth habit makes it ideal for use in areas where foot traffic is heavy. In recent years, mondo grass has also become popular as a houseplant, due to its low maintenance requirements. Mondo grass has also been used medicinally for centuries in China and Japan. The leaves of the plant contain compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.

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