Mondo Grass / Monkey Grass / Ophiopogon japonicus Origins:
– 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. Mondo grass
is relatively maintenance free 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. When planted in masses at 6 to 10 inch
centers Mondo / Monkey grass will quickly form a beautiful dark green carpet of ‘no mow’ grass for any shady
Mondo Grass / Monkey Grass / Ophiopogon japonicus Preferred Exposure:
– 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 to full shade to filtered light
locations in the landscape for best results.
Mondo Grass / Monkey Grass / Ophiopogon japonicus Foliage:
– Mondo grass / Monkey 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
– Evergreen in the Northeast Florida landscape.
Mondo Grass / Monkey Grass / Ophiopogon japonicus Soil Preference / Salt
– Mondo Grass / Monkey Grass / Ophiopogon japonicus is best planted into fertile
well draining soils but will tolerate a wide range of soil components as long as the soil is well
– Ophiopogon does not like consistently wet roots and may tip burn in
water logged soils.
Size Variance of Mondo Grass / Monkey Grass / Ophiopogon japonicus:
– Mondo grass can grow 6-10 inches high and
eventually spread 12 inches wide.
Growth Habit of Mondo Grass / Monkey Grass / Ophiopogon japonicus:
– Evergreen, clumping almost grass like perennial forms an attractive dense
mound of foliage with a weeping fountain like habit.
Growth Rate of Mondo Grass / Monkey Grass / Ophiopogon japonicus:
– Monkey / Mondo grass is a moderately fast grower, expect them to have
doubled their size in the second year after being planted.
Mondo Grass / Monkey Grass / Ophiopogon japonicus Bloom:
-Blooms are small white clusters tight on stalks hidden within the plants
foliage and very inconspicuous.
Mondo Grass / Monkey Grass / Ophiopogon japonicus Grass Water Requirements:
– Low water needs make Mondo Grass ideal for Xeroscapes
– 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
– When planting in a more sun 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 Mondo Grass / Monkey Grass / Ophiopogon japonicus Grass in the North
Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area garden:
– Mondo grass is an excellent evergreen perennial selection for the North
Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscape.
– Mondo/ Monkey grass makes a perfect low maintenance landscape selection.
– Plant Mondo in masses around a bird bath, palm, large shade tree or other
accent for a clean manicured garden setting.
– Mondo grass will form a dense groundcover when planted 6-10
inches from the center of one plant to the center of another.
– Plant Mondo / Monkey grass 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.
– Deer resistant landscape plant.
– Mondo makes a great potted accent plant particularly when in a mixed fern or
flowering decorative pot to add a bit of texture to the container planting.
Care of Mondo Grass / Monkey Grass / Ophiopogon japonicus 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
– Although Mondo grass does not normally need any maintenance, some gardeners
find mowing their Mondo or Monkey grass in the late winter will get rid of any tired, tip burned older foliage
by quickly flushing new deep green leaves early in the spring.