The Complete Guide for Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon Japonicus) Care

The Mondo Grass, otherwise known as the Ophiopogon Japonicus or Dwarf Lilyturf, Dwarf Mondo Grass, Japanese Lilyturf, is a rather well known ornamental grass plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this ornamental grass will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green-colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, taking care of your Mondo Grass is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Mondo Grass Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Mondo Grass can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Mondo Grass prefers constant watering each week and more during the hot season.
  • Light: Keep your Ophiopogon Japonicus in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Mondo Grass in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, loam, and clay.

That’s it – sunlight, water and soil! The basic 3 fundamentals for all plant care, and with the Mondo Grass this is no exception. With these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Mondo Grass belongs to the Aspsaragaceae family, the genus Ophiopogon and the species Japonicus, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Ophiopogon Japonicus (o-fio-PO-gon ja-PON-i-kus).

As with other Ophiopogon’s, the Mondo Grass is an evergreen plant, which means it will be present year round in your garden.

Growing Region

The Mondo Grass is a plant native to Korea, China and Japan.

You might be wondering why your Mondo Grass’s native region is important. Well, if you know where your plant originally came from, you’ll know which environmental conditions it prefers, and with it, knowledge on how to replicate it at home.

With this in mind, the Ophiopogon Japonicus will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 12 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a and the ideal climate zone is between 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Mondo Grass is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.


But, what size of Mondo Grass are we talking about? What can you expect in terms of height, spread and spacing? Let’s dig in…

The Ophiopogon Japonicus can grow up to 10″ – 1′ (25cm – 30cm) in 10″ – 1′ (25cm – 30cm) and 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm). 

These dimensions make the Mondo Grass a relatively medium ornamental grass compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 18″ (45cm) free so the Mondo Grass can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Mondo Grass is a fairly simple plant to take care of. This is mostly because it has a straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Ophiopogon Japonicus prefers constant watering each week and more during the hot season.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively low to average needs in terms of water. 

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Mondo Grass in soil with moist but well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, and moist properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

In our experience, the famous ‘thumb’ or ‘finger’ test is what works best for the Mondo Grass since with it, you will be able to give it the right amount of water, every time – regardless of the environment or placement where you do decide to keep it.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Mondo Grass prefers to have soil with good drainage, and moist properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, loam, and clay.

This is why most experts agree that the Mondo Grass requires soil with clay, loam (silt), and sand, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably neutral to acid soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Mondo Grass requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this ornamental grass will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Ophiopogon Japonicus in from little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to dappled or moderate shade (under other plant’s canopy), to full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being an evergreen plant, the Mondo Grass will be present year round in your garden. But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.


You can expect your Mondo Grass to flower around the summer months from July to September (summer).

The Mondo Grass produces some beautiful purple, lavender, pink or white flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Mondo Grass have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Ophiopogon Japonicus to be around (> 6 inches) in size.

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Mondo Grass is well known for its tolerance to salt, drought and animals like rabbit and deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Ophiopogon Japonicus will be fine.


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Mondo Grass? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Ophiopogon Japonicus owners agree that this ornamental grass will look great in most contemporary, asian/zen and tropical gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of mediterranean garden, japanese garden, coastal garden, city and courtyard, gravel and rock garden, informal and cottage, and in modern garden styles. 

In particular, the Mondo Grass’s best location within your garden is in edging, patio and containers, beds and borders, ground covers, and in underplanting roses and shrubs, others use it for landscaping in a rock garden, mass planting, ground cover, edging, container, coastal exposure, border, or a woodland garden.

Companion Plants

Mondo Grass’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Heuchera, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Liriope will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Mondo Grass to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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