S & J Nurser’s Guide to Growing
Mondo Grass Dwarf / Ophiopogon japonicus
in the Northeast Florida
Jacksonville | St. Augustine area Landscape
Mondo Grass Dwarf / Ophiopogon japonicus ‘nanus’ Origins:
– Dwarf Mondo grass is a mat forming perennial plant in the lily family that is native to the more tropical portions ( south and southeast) areas of Asia. It is a popular groundcover
for the Northeast Florida, Jacksonville, St. Augustine and surrounding area landscapes and for good reason. Like the taller Mondo grass, dwarf Mondo is relatively maintenance free landscape plant selection once established. It just seems to keep growing strong while other plants succumb to pests, foot traffic or
disease. Mondo grasses ability to tolerate a wide range of soil conditions make it ideal for planting under large shade trees to cover the surface roots, or in narrow strips near walkways and even tucked neatly in between stepping stones.
Dwarf Mondo is ideal for tucking in between paving stones, rock gardens and even vertical planters.
Mondo Grass Dwarf Ophiopogon japonicus ‘nanus’ Preferred Exposure:
– Dwarf Mondo Grass may grow well in a full sun location in areas farther
North than our east coast zone 9 temperatures may allow. Here in Northeast Florida’s Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and surrounding area landscapes, keep your Mondo grass dwarf to full shade to filtered
light locations in the landscape for best results.
Mondo Grass Dwarf / Ophiopogon japonicus ‘nanus’ Foliage:
– Dwarf Mondo grass has thin strap like foliage that is a
deep dark green, foliage tips curve down toward the ground in rounded mounds that when planted in masses will eventually merge together to form a mat of soft carpet like groundcover.
– Evergreen in the Northeast Florida landscape.
Mondo Grass Dwarf Ophiopogon japonicus ‘ nanus’ Soil Preference /
– Mondo Grass is best planted into fertile well draining soils but will
tolerate a wide range of soil components as long as the soil is well draining.
– Ophiopogon does not like consistently wet roots and may tip burn in
water logged soils.
Size Variance of Dwarf Mondo Grass:
– Mondo grass dwarf stays much more compact than what has come to be known here at the nursery as ‘regular Mondo’. When mature Dwarf mondo will only reach 3-4 inches high and will slowly spread to 6-10 inches wide.
Growth Habit of Mondo Grass Dwarf:
– Evergreen, clumping almost grass like perennial forms a low
growing, attractive, dense mound of gently arching foliage.
Growth Rate of Dwarf Mondo Grass Ophiopogon japonicus ‘nanus’:
– Monkey / Mondo grass is a slow grower, expect them to
have doubled their size in the second to third year after being planted in the landscape.
Mondo Grass Dwarf / Ophiopogon japonicus ‘nanus’ Bloom:
-Blooms are small white clusters tight on stalks hidden within the plants
foliage and very inconspicuous.
Mondo Grass Dwarf / Ophiopogon japonicus ‘nanus’ Water Requirements:
– Low water needs make Mondo grass dwarf an ideal
plant selection for Xeroscapes plantings.
– Plants will require supplemental irrigation after being planted in the ground from the S & J Nursery container but will survive on their own with little help after establishing itself into the landscape.
– When planting in a sunnier garden location, supplemental irrigation at
least twice weekly will be needed to keep the plants at their best.
Butterfly or Bird Attracting:
– Mondo Grass is not touted as a butterfly or bird attracting
Best Uses For Dwarf Mondo Grass / Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nanus’ Grass in the
North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area garden:
– Mondo grass dwarf is an excellent evergreen perennial plant selection
for the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscape.
– Low maintenance landscape plant is deer proof too!
– Plant Mondo in masses around a bird bath, palm, large shade tree or other
accent for a clean manicured garden setting.
– Dwarf Mondo grass will form a dense groundcover when
planted 6 inches from the center of one plant to the center of another.
– Plant Mondo grass dwarf along the edge of a walkway or path for a clean
edged look. Perfect for tight spaces where other plants root systems would suffer.
– Use as a path through the shade garden or around stepping stones to make a neat, tidy but natural looking garden path.
– Can be used as an under planting in a perennial bed to keep out weeds or
Care of Mondo Grass Dwarf in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscape:
– Mondo grass may be dug and divided in the early spring to
quickly spread your plants about in the garden.
– Water every day during the establishment period after planting in the garden from am S & J nursery container. Plants should be rooted and ready to grow within just a few short weeks when watered frequently after planting.
– Fertilize each spring with a handful of garden compost or a mixture of Milorganite and a slow release poly coated plant food such as Osmocote or Stay Green general purpose plant food or 10-10-10.