Ophiopogon, Dwarf Mondo Grass, Monkey Grass 'Nana'

Ophiopogon japonicus

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


Alpines and Rock Gardens



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:



under 6 in. (15 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

White/Near White


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Huntsville, Alabama

Midland City, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Wetumpka, Alabama

Fallbrook, California(5 reports)

Stanford, California

Yorba Linda, California

Bartow, Florida

Gibsonton, Florida

Leesburg, Florida

Minneola, Florida

Nokomis, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Mcdonough, Georgia

Lowell, Indiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Takoma Park, Maryland

Mathiston, Mississippi

Calabash, North Carolina

New Bern, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Cleveland, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Greenville, South Carolina

Johns Island, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Christiana, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Austin, Texas(2 reports)

Beaumont, Texas

Crosby, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Georgetown, Texas

Katy, Texas

Livingston, Texas

Richmond, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Chantilly, Virginia

Wytheville, Virginia

Fircrest, Washington

Poulsbo, Washington

Tacoma, Washington

White Center, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 29, 2018, Ravenhill from Dallas, TX wrote:

This little plant is related to liriope, in the lily family, not a true grass.
This is a part of why it grows so slowly. and why it can be costly to purchase.
Trimming or mowing it can cause it to spread more quickly, as long as only the tips are taken, not more than 1/4 to 1/2 of the leaves.
My uncle here in Dallas, Texas has a vast swath in his Japanese garden area.
I am just now working on getting it established in my slightly more sunny and rocky area of Dallas.

Like all the plants in this group, it should not be given to cats as "grass".


On Mar 20, 2012, chinasue from Hallieford, VA wrote:

I was lucky enough to buy a flat ($15) late last fall of dwarf mondo grass, to plant between the random slate stepping stones on the north side of the house. Big oak tree nearby. Bright light, no direct sun. If I water, is this a reason spot to plant mondo? china sue


On Jan 17, 2010, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

Great groundcover, doesn't seem to be as vigorous as the regular mondo grass. It is nearly impossible to differentiate between dwarf ophiopogon and regular ophiopogon in a "baby state". I bought some from HD thinking it was the dwarf cultivar, and it wasn't until a year later that I realized plants had been mislabeled. Leaves were 6" long; definitely not dwarf! Too late to do much about it; I have resorted to giving it frequent haircuts so I can achieve the look I envisioned for that particular part of the garden. While this is not an important plant, try to buy it from a reputable nursery so that you won't suffer the same bad experience as I did.
Other than that, easy plant, low maintenance. Also a good plant for fairy/miniature gardens. Can be grown in water, as long as ... read more


On Aug 1, 2009, hikinmike from Pensacola, FL wrote:

We recently purchased a property where the previous owner had tried to propagate turf grass, most likely to help make the property 'more marketable'. I'm currently pulling out what grasses have spread into a shady section (between a fern glade and a large Magnolia). I notice that as the Mondo Grass spreads, some 'clumps' will have a longer, finer blade of grass along with the 'regular' size Dwarf Mondo. Perhaps an occasional mowing will help keep the space at the desired length, all at about the height of the Dwarf Mondo Grass.


On Jun 15, 2009, flymarvin from Greenville, SC wrote:

I have had good results with dwarf mondo grass in zone 8.It is slow growing but does spread with enough patience.It is easy to care for and does not need much watering or fertilizer.Makes a beautiful scape & I have had no weeds in between sprigs.


On Apr 12, 2008, mjz4043 from Mansfield, TX wrote:

About 20 years ago, I planted a large, neglected bed of dwarf mondo grass in the backyard to fill in between the shrubs which it did very nicely even with nearly total neglect.

Last spring I was re-landscaping a large area in the front yard so in one section about 8 x 10 feet, I planted sprigs of the grass I took from the backyard into that area. I paid particular attention to it last year and kept it watered and fertilized, BUT some of the new sprigs are now growing much taller with much thicker/wider blades...much like regular old monkey grass which I do not need or want here with poisonous snakes sometimes spotted in our area.

Does anyone know why a formerly, very obedient plant would suddenly mutate into a monster that is making that area look messy? Is... read more


On Dec 23, 2007, gray_53 from Mcdonough, GA wrote:

lush foliage stays dark green even in semi - dry areas
can withstand moderate traffic (walking on)

will turn yellow or die in severe drought
spreads slowly


On Dec 28, 2006, LarryWor67 from Summerville, SC wrote:

Planted by a landscaping company. Planted 3 years ago and still growing VERY slowly. Distance between plants approx. 10-12 inches. In shady area with irrigation system. Problem besides slow growth-weeds sproutting between plants and don't know if I can use some sort of weed control or if a fertilizer recommended.


On Feb 23, 2006, scottoblotto from Lowell, IN (Zone 5a) wrote:

I get a little winterburn on my dwarf mondo grass, but it's nothing that the new spring growth can't take care of. In my climate (Zone 5B), mulching goes a long way. Mine is planted in an eastern exposure as an edging up to my front entrance, and it does impress the uninitiated.


On Aug 17, 2005, YLcalif from Yorba Linda, CA wrote:

In So. California (no frost areas), dwarf mondo grass makes a wonderful lawn and which grows best with filtered shade. This allows you to plant all the trees you want in the middle of the lawn and both you and the mondo grass will be comfortable on on hot summer days (and no need to mow). If plenty of shade is provided, an established mondo grass lawn has about the same watering requirement as a standard lawn (maybe less). The only drawbacks are the initial expense and waiting for the clumps to fully knit together into a cushy smooth walking surface (takes about 2 years).


On Oct 1, 2004, pokerboy from Canberra,
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is a good border plant with low evergreen foliage. Its foliage is dark glossy and dwarf. This plant likes moist soil in dry weather. The clumps of dwarf mondo grass may be divided in Spring. pokerboy.


On Jul 25, 2004, dr5000 from Citrus Heights, CA wrote:

Sometimes forgotten fact, Mondo grass also does will submerged and can be used as an aquariuam plant. I
hadless water hardness and PH flutuations fairly well.


On Jan 20, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Dwarf Mondo grass makes an excellent ground cover in shady areas where St. Augustine grass won't grow. I got a start from a friend 40 years ago, and have slowly propagated it to all my shady no traffic areas. When used as a bed edging, it grows into the more heavily fertilized and watered area. It does send some rhizomes into the lawn, but not many.
I am in zone 9a in central Florida.


On Aug 31, 2003, Greenknee from Chantilly, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I started with 9 tiny tufts, about 5 years ago - from a clearance sale, end of season. Very slow to get established, but then got to spreading better. Last winter's severe weather burned leaves, had to trim them back like liriope. Then I found a good number of 1/4" bright blue berries buried in the foiliage I was trimming! (I never saw a bloom, though some may have self seeded, adding to the rate of spread). Planted in seed starting mix, almost 1/2 have now germinated! Had to move the patch for construction and now have about 70 clumps each bigger than the first 9, plus my new seedlings!

Now, 12/30 - I have 40 babies growing like gangbusters under lights.


On Aug 30, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Can be used as a lawn in the south, at least. Prefers partial shade, though. It spreads via underground runners, and grows rather slowly.


On Jul 30, 2002, darius from So.App.Mtns.,
United States (Zone 5b) wrote:

This plant is native to Korea and Japan. It makes a great small scale ground cover. Height is 2-3" and is evergreen in my zone 6b. Spreads by stolons. It will take part sun but becomes dried-out looking. Also tolerates deep shade.