With spiky, slender, shiny leaves Dwarf Mondo Grass is a great choice for small areas of lawn and within flowerbeds. What’s more, Dwarf Mondo Grass is hardy and doesn’t require much water or maintenance, so read on to learn about how to establish and care for it.
All about Dwarf Mondo Grass
These elegant plants are not really grasses but are members of the lily family. Dwarf Mondo Grasses, commonly Ophiopogon Japonicus Nanus and Ophiopogon Japonicus ‘Kyoto-dwarf’ are specialized miniature versions of Mondo Grass which grow to a height of between two and four inches and a width of 6- 8 inches. With small lavender flowers in summer and shiny metallic berries during Autumn, Dwarf Mondo Grass adds structure, color and form to sections of your garden or can also be used as an easy-care grass.
Benefits of Dwarf Mondo Grass
Dwarf Mondo is a good choice for several reasons. It is:
- Hardy in a variety of conditions
- Remains lush and fluffy all year long
- Does not need mowing
- Manages well in shade and full sun
- Versatile and handles mixed and difficult soil
Planting Dwarf Mondo Grass from seedlings
Dwarf Mondo Grass is most commonly bought as a small seedling, known as a pip, in individual planters. Once you have removed the plant from its container, you can plant the whole seedling as is. If you do this, allow six inches between plants. In most cases, each seedling will contain more than one individual plant. It’s possible to separate the plants by gently teasing or wiggling them apart with your fingers. Smaller seedlings can be planted a little closer together.
Planting Dwarf Mondo Grass from seed
It is also possible to get seeds for this plant but growing the plant from the seed has both challenges and rewards. Some people find it difficult to get seeds, and use of fresh seeds is best. The longer they are left before planting, the less they will germinate. To give them the best chance possible, plant the seeds in a good quality soil, and keep them in a cool environment. Be aware, that what you grow may not be true to the parent plant.
Dwarf Mondo Grass uses
You will see Dwarf Mondo Grasses in traditional Japanese gardens, where they are used to give contrast to rocks. Its angular form looks attractive next to the rounded shape of pebbles. It is also placed around statues, water features and other focal points. Dwarf Mondo Grass also suits courtyard gardens, rock gardens and modern gardens. Some gardeners choose it over ivy to add contrast to walls and edges.
You can also grow Dwarf Mondo Grass as an indoor plant. Other types of Mondo Grass – Black Mondo Grass and the main Ophiopogon Japonicus can also be spotted in gardens around America.
Maintaining Dwarf Mondo Grass
Dwarf Mondo Grass establishes through underground runners. Use of an organic mulch on planting such as bark chips or pea straw will support the surrounding soil. Keep mulches away from the base of the individual plants. It is a slow-growing plant, and if you are using it across large areas, it may take a year or more to fill in. If you notice weeds in your grass, they can be removed by hand or by an over-the-counter weed killer.
Soil and fertilizer for Dwarf Mondo Grass
Dwarf Mondo Grass is very easy to care and grows well in a range of soils but prefer an open, free-draining base soil which will help these runners to travel. It is happy in shade, and will do well against walls or fences, or underneath a tall and established tree. The use of a liquid seaweed fertilizer will encourage root systems to develop. You can use mulch or organic compost each year to help the grass stay looking healthy and shiny.
Dwarf Mondo Grass likes and dislikes
Dwarf Mondo Grass can tolerate a pretty wide variety of conditions and is reasonably drought tolerant. The one condition it has trouble with is frost. Dwarf Mondo Grass is also an intuitive plant- it will reach its best height and stop, meaning you can get a consistent height across large sections, and that it doesn’t wear itself out trying to put out new growth. It can also be grown in containers to provide coverage under taller plants.
Tips to help your Dwarf Mondo Grass
- Although it won’t require mowing, trimming again after winter will help your plant to be in a tidy condition and encourage strong new growth
- When planting, dig the hole twice as wide but to the same depth as the seedling
- Creating a raised ring around infant plants can help water to be retained where it is needed most
- You can create your own propagated plants by removing established plants and separating clumps using your fingers or a small garden shovel
Growing Dwarf between pavers
One unique way Dwarf Mondo Grass can be used is to add color in the joints along lines of pavers. The soil that exists between pavers is typically not the best quality- you may find it to be sandy or loamy. This won’t worry your Dwarf Mondo Grass. To establish grass in these spaces, layout the smallest plants you have been able to tease out. This may be just a couple of blades per plant. Clear out the soil in the joint between the pavers using a small hoe or shovel. Space the plants as evenly as possible, pop them in safely and then give good water to it.
Although it is hardy in a variety of conditions, Dwarf Mondo Grass can not tolerate foot traffic as standard grasses. Avoid using it in high traffic areas, or where pets frequently play or urinate. Dwarf Mondo Grass is deer and rabbit resistant. Slugs can cause occasional problems so keep an eye on the grass and remove any pests by hand.
The bottom line: You really can’t go wrong with Dwarf Mondo Grass. Tough and durable, it will add a dense, feathery and textured detail to your garden.