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
View this plant in a garden



Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo


Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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

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


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


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.


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 ... read more


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 ... read more