Mondo grass is also known as monkey grass. It is an evergreen perennial that makes a great groundcover or standalone grass-like plant. These plants perform well in almost any soil and lighting condition. Mondo grass is a slow growing plant that can be easily propagated by division and requires minimal care once established. A truly attractive and outstanding landscape plant with a multitude of uses, it is well worth the gardener’s time to learn how to grow mondo grass.
Mondo grass can tolerate almost anything, including deer, but fails without adequate moisture. What is mondo grass? It is not a true grass, but it does have strappy leaves and a clumping habit. In summer it brightens up the area with lavender or white flowers that develop into glossy black fruit. Growing mondo grass is easy, as the plant withstands neglect in regions where plentiful moisture is naturally available. Once established, you can pretty much forget about the plant unless you want to go check out its seasonal beauty, or it is time to divide it.
Imagine great grassy tussocks shrunk down to fairyland size, and you can envision mondo grass. These small plants grow only 6 to 10 inches tall (15-25 cm.) and have a clumping or mounding nature depending upon variety. Ophiopogon japonicus is the scientific name and refers to the plant’s native region of Asia. The components of the name are derived from the Latin words for snake and beard, a reference to the spiky flowers. As a lawn substitute in shady to partially sunny locations, it is a great sod alternative that never needs mowing. Mondo grass spreads by stolons, or underground stems, and can slowly form dense colonies. Leaves are ½ inch wide (1.3 cm.) and glossy green or even variegated.