The Q&A Archives: Mondo Grass Cultivation

Question: Last Fall a landscaper planted Mondo Grass sprigs in my yard area which gets full sun most of the day. It will be quite hot this Summer. So far, May 15th, the grass has not grown much. The landscaper spread 11/2 to 2 inches of top soil over sandy soil. I am watering for 15 minutes every day. I applied Turf Builder fertilizer about a month ago. Can I expect this grass to start growing this Summer or was this a poor choice for my yard?

Answer: Ophiopogon japonicus is commonly called Mondo Grass or Dwarf Lilyturf. It's a grass-like evergreen perennial forming clumps of strap-like (1/8" wide) foliage. It spreads via underground runners, is long lived and easily divided. It can also be propagated by seed; each berry (usually produced in autumn) has one seed.

Mondo grass grows best in filtered sun to full shade; requires good drainage, and prefers slightly acidic, humus-rich soil. Divide and prune out brownish foliage in spring before new growth begins. Apply leaf mold in autumn and keep barely moist in winter.

I'd move the grass to a shadier location and find a sun-loving groundcover instead. Consider dichondra, fragaria (ornamental strawberry), Ajuga (carpet bugle) or Arctotheca calendula (Cape Weed) for your sunny yard.

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