Ann McCulloh is the curator of plant collections at Cleveland Botanical Garden.

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Dwarf Mondo Grass
by Ann McCulloh       #Hot Plants

Dwarf mondo grass excels as an edging for this stone path in Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Japanese Garden.

Dwarf mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’) is not really grass! It’s a miniature member of the lily family, sometimes used as a turf substitute in the Southern states. In Ohio, it serves best as a dense, evergreen, sun- and shade-tolerant ground cover. It is a classic element in traditional Japanese gardens and looks wonderful in formal or modern landscapes as well.

Dwarf mondo grass spreads slowly, and is planted as small clumps or divisions about 5 to 6 inches apart. Perfect for planting between pavers and edging paths, it also crowds out weeds and prevents erosion once established. Deer and rabbits leave it alone. It is often sold in 1-gallon pots, which can be gently divided into smaller clumps to cover a larger planting area.

It is too shady for turfgrass beneath a mature European purple beech (Fagus sylvatica cv.), but just right for dwarf mondo grass.

Common Name: Dwarf mondo grass 

Botanical Name:  Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’

Other Varieties/Cultivars to Look For: ‘Nana’, ‘Gyoku Ryu’

Color: Deep green

Blooming Period: Summer, but it rarely blooms

Type: Evergreen perennial ground cover

Size: 2-4 inches high, slowly spreading

Exposure: Part sun to part shade

When to Plant: Spring to fall

How to Plant: Bare-root sprigs or small divisions 5-6 inches apart

Soil: pH 5.5 to 7.5

Watering: 1 inch per week or less

When to Fertilize: A light application of granular 10-10-10 in late fall or early spring. 

In Your Landscape:  Wonderful between paving stones, and as edging for patios or walks – no trimming required

From Ohio Gardener Volume III Issue I. Photos by Ann McCulloh.


Posted: 02/21/14   RSS | Print


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