Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Mondo Grass, Monkey Grass
Ophiopogon japonicus

Family: Asparagaceae
Genus: Ophiopogon (oh-fee-oh-POH-gon) (Info)
Species: japonicus (juh-PON-ih-kus) (Info)

Synonym:Convallaria graminifolia
Synonym:Convallaria japonica
Synonym:Flueggea anceps
Synonym:Flueggea japonica
Synonym:Liriope gracilis

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

14 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Click thumbnail
to view:

By suncatcheracres
Thumbnail #1 of Ophiopogon japonicus by suncatcheracres

By mgarr
Thumbnail #2 of Ophiopogon japonicus by mgarr

By mgarr
Thumbnail #3 of Ophiopogon japonicus by mgarr

By Tomatoholic
Thumbnail #4 of Ophiopogon japonicus by Tomatoholic

By Tomatoholic
Thumbnail #5 of Ophiopogon japonicus by Tomatoholic

By gonedutch
Thumbnail #6 of Ophiopogon japonicus by gonedutch

By plantfreak78
Thumbnail #7 of Ophiopogon japonicus by plantfreak78

There are a total of 11 photos.
Click here to view them all!


9 positives
3 neutrals
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive poeciliopsis On Feb 26, 2015, poeciliopsis from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Central Phoenix -- There are 3 varieties of Mondo grass in my garden -- the "regular," a dwarf variety (Nana), and a variegated variety (Comet or Silver Mist). The regular and variegated ones do best. Some of them are in heavy shade, some in partial, and some get several hours of afternoon summer sun. The partial shade clumps are doing the best.

Neutral sjdhuntkiest On May 24, 2013, sjdhuntkiest from Portland, OR wrote:

Does anyone know which cultivars are best for production of the medicinal tubers?

Neutral ellenteeter On Jan 27, 2013, ellenteeter from Bayshore Gardens, FL wrote:

just want to let you know that the tuberous roots of Ophiopogon japonicus are a Chinese herb known in pinyin as mai men dong. It nourishes fluids in the lung (dry lingering coughs) and stomach (thirst and stomachaches - could help with healing the stomach lining) Usually used in a formula of several herbs

Negative nutsnberries On Feb 8, 2012, nutsnberries from Jonesville, NC wrote:

Mondo grass has shown up under several trees on our property and also in the middle of the yard, though not planted by us or our neighbors. Apparently it germinates fine from seed eaten by birds.

It is probably becoming widespread and not immediately noticed because it withstands mowing and almost blends in with other turf grass. It does wipe out everything in its path and is difficult to get a shovel through.

Positive killdawabbit On Jan 15, 2011, killdawabbit from Christiana, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

I would not be without this. I have propagated and am still propagating to put it everywhere. It's evergreen here in z6b (20+ years now...though severe winters can make it look shabby by the time spring arrives). I do have a big place so I can see why someone with a small garden might not want it. And I can see why it's a weed in some situations.
But for me it helps lift my spirits in the winter and it makes any tree or shrub (or whatever that can live with it in harmony) look good all year round.
It is as tough as nails and so easy to propagate. In the right place it can be a lawn substitute.
It's not my only favorite groundcover but I could not do without it.
In my area it can grow in full sun or the deepest shade. How many workhorse groundcovers can you say that about?

Negative gesiting On Sep 5, 2010, gesiting from Falls Church, VA wrote:

This plant is a pest in and out of the garden. Out, it is invasive and edges out native species that support local ecosystems. In, it is incredibly hard to weed (breaks off at the stem and has a major root system, including tuber-like bits that will resprout). Like weeding wood violets. Comes back through grass and gets through the perennial beds very fast. Of course, my whole experience with it is on a damp, shady slope in northern Virginia. Maybe it wouldn't be such a annoyance elsewhere.

Positive vossner On Jan 17, 2010, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Great ground cover but avoid planting it near moist areas, as it will take over. It can get ratty if it gets too much sun. Can grow in water, as long as water line barely covers rootball. I saw it a local pet shop growing as a submerged aquarium plant, but I haven't tried that. If you need to get rid of it, good luck! Roundup and other killers are totally ineffective. Digging it up is effective, but you have to follow up a couple of times as little plants will appear after the major dig. If digging, trying doing it after a rain to make it an easier task. It is a bear to dig up unwanted mondo grass.

Negative htop On Jan 28, 2008, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I agree with csd. I advise anyone in the San Antonio area not to plant it.. It does fine for a couple of years and then it starts taking over and I know of no way to get rid of it.

Negative csd On Apr 29, 2007, csd from Tampa, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have this plant in my yard and I can't get rid of it! I installed a new landscape in my "devil's strip" involving dwarf mondo grass, junipers and mulch; the standard mondo grass will not be killed! We have dug, sprayed with double strength Roundup Pro, tilled, put landscape fabric doen and covered that wil thick mulch-they still come up....right through the fabric. It looks awful with my new plantings, and all the little sprigs popping up everywhere; we keep pulling, and it keeps growing in. Does ANYONE know a surefire way to get rid of this invasive plant short of dousing it all with gasoline and/or torching the bed?
WARNING-do not plant this in central Florida unless you want it forever!

Positive gonedutch On Jul 11, 2005, gonedutch from Fairport, NY wrote:

In the spring 2004 I interplanted several plugs of Mondo Grass among daylilies in my western NY garden. Several earlier attemts over the years had failed to overwinter so I had little hope this time. To my surprise all of the plants survived our normal winter outdoors and one even produced a flower stalk with faintly purple-pink flower umbels -the first time ever! See the attached image. If this experiment ends successfully it will make a welcome addition to the other grass-like flora in this area of the garden.

Positive JaxFlaGardener On May 23, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have done what Suncatcheracres mentions in the notes on this plant. I have devoted an entire approx. 40 ft x 40 ft area of my 1/2 acre garden to Mondo grass and liriope so that I never need to mow it! I was fortunate that there was already a healthy stand of Mondo grass along with scattered and various forms of Liriope muscari in this area of my garden when I bought my house. I found other sites in my yard where the Mondo and Liriope had established themselves, along with numerous sprigs of each in isolated locations, possibly planted in bird droppings from digested seeds. I was also working part-time to assist a landscaper friend with his business. We often thinned out Mondo and Liriope beds for his clients, and even pulled up large, healthy plantings of it when the client wanted a different landscape design. I finally amassed enough Mondo and Liriope "plugs" to fill the 40 ft by 40 ft area under a large old live oak and surrounding my dogwood tree. With frequent weeding to reduce competition, the "plugs" have reproduced and spread rapidly. I don't need to do much weeding at all now in one area where the Mondo and Liriope are best established and the other areas continue to fill in as the Mondo and Lirope spreads and eliminates root space where weeds might grow in the other areas.

For those in Zone 8b or below that might want some added interest from flowers (which are not really very showy on either Mondo or Liriope), you can do as I have done and interplant with Chlorophytum comosum (a/k/a Airplane Plants or Spider Plants). To me, the leaves of C. comosum are almost indistinquishable from Mondo and Liriope when massed closely together, but the arching flower spikes of C. comusum add a nice touch of white flowers to the Mondo and Liriope throughout the growing season.

I have intermixed all sorts of sizes and varieties of Mondo and Liriope, variegated and plain, very tall and dwarf, in this area. They all seem to blend well together and, when established en masse, certainly make weeding easier and eliminate the need for mowing. Plus, this area of my garden has a very lush, deep green, serene, cool atmosphere that I don't think could be achieved with lawn grass or most other ground covers.

Neutral sanity101 On May 21, 2005, sanity101 from Dublin, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

While id does grow nicely and spread in full shade, the blooms are terribly sparse and disapointing, even when it gets some sun. Not bad, but not very impressive either.

Positive TMORTON On Mar 18, 2005, TMORTON from Charleston, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

Very nice border plant... i can be divided quite easily every couple of years.

Positive foodiesleuth On Jul 15, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

We bought some last year at a plant sale and it did not seem to like the original place where planted. We have moved it and it is now begining to spread. I love mondo grass.

Positive punaheledp On Jul 14, 2004, punaheledp from Kailua, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

Mondo is my favorite ornamental grass and on my buy list next time I see it. grows 8"-16", usually with white or white tinged with lilac flowers. Cultivar "caeruleus" is dark green leaves with violet-blue flowers. I see it ofen in plantbeds, popular at commercial buildings. It grew well at my family home in sandy soil and salt air.

Positive suncatcheracres On Aug 2, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

Mondo grass is an old heirloom plant of the Southern USA where it is used to fill in as a shady ground cover, often in difficult places where other plants won't grow, or among the shady roots of trees where it is difficult to mow. Over time it will slowly spread by underground stems which are tuberlike. It is short, six to eight inches tall, and dark green. Supposedly it is very easy to divide and can be cut back in the Spring after a hard winter makes it look ragged. The roots will die at about 10 degrees F. With patientce, one could establish a whole shady "lawn" with this plant, that would never need mowing, if you can find it to buy.

I purchased two small pots, for $2.50 each, at a green market in High Springs, Florida, this Spring, and once the pots were divided I had over 30 sprigs. The pots were incredibly rootbound, and I had to divide with garden cutting shears, and I still had cuts on my hands from separating the many sprigs, as the roots are very wiry. They are now planted under the shade of a very old native holly tree that is about 40 feet tall, in the front of a Southern Indica azalea bed. I planted them in a border, in the Southern traditional manner of "border grass," but I believe I will eventually just let this plant form a shady ground cover in these beds.

This plant is a good substitute for it's larger and lighter colored "look alike," the other traditional "border grass," Liriope, but in a shadier situation. There are named varieties, especially dwarf kinds like 'Kyoto Dwarf,' 'Nana,' and 'Gyoku Ryu,' which is only 3 inches tall.

O. planiscapus 'Nigrescens' is called "Black Mondo Grass," to 10 inches with white flowers, but I've read it won't make a solid cover like the regular Mondo Grass. Plus it is very expensive to buy, again if you can find it.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Midland City, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama (2 reports)
Springville, Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Wetumpka, Alabama
Phoenix, Arizona
Huntington Beach, California
Susanville, California
Torrance, California
Bartow, Florida
Deltona, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (3 reports)
Keystone Heights, Florida
Maitland, Florida
Old Town, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Cordele, Georgia
Royston, Georgia
Statesboro, Georgia
Honolulu, Hawaii
Honomu, Hawaii
New Orleans, Louisiana
Gambrills, Maryland
Clinton, Mississippi
Mathiston, Mississippi
Meridian, Mississippi
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Alamogordo, New Mexico
Fairport, New York
Hilton, New York
Jonesville, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Wagoner, Oklahoma
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Bluffton, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Darlington, South Carolina
Christiana, Tennessee
Frisco, Texas
Irving, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
Palestine, Texas
Red Oak, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Schertz, Texas
Victoria, Texas
Arlington, Virginia
Falls Church, Virginia

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America