Dwarf Mondo Grass Propagation

Dwarf Mondo Grass Propagation

By: Heather Rhoades

Dwarf mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’) is a Japanese plant that has charmed the gardens of the world. A decorative, low growing plant, this ornamental looks best when grouped together, but sometimes there may only be a few plants available. This is where dwarf mondo grass propagation comes in handy.

There are two propagation methods available for dwarf mondo grass. One is planting dwarf mondo grass seeds and the other is division of your plant.

Dwarf Mondo Grass Seeds

If you decide to grow dwarf mondo grass seeds, be aware that they are finicky and you may have trouble getting them to grow. They may also not grow true to the parent plant. This is the more difficult of dwarf mondo grass propagation.

Harvest seeds yourself and plant immediately. Seeds you buy will have a lower germination rate the less fresh they are.

Plant your seeds in sterile potting soil and place the pots in a cold frame or other cool area. These seeds will germinate best in cooler temperatures.

Keep the dwarf mondo grass seeds moist at all times.

Wait two weeks to six months for seeds to germinate. They will germinate at irregular times. Some may sprout in two weeks, while others will take much longer.

Dwarf Mondo Grass Division

A much easier and sure-fire way of dwarf mondo grass propagation is through division. This way you can plant dwarf mondo grass that is exactly like the parent and you will have a much more uniform look to your plants.

For division, dig up a well established clump of dwarf mondo grass. Use your hands to break the clump into smaller clumps or use a sharp, clean knife to cut the clump into smaller pieces.

Plant the dwarf mondo grass clumps in the locations you would like them to grow in. Water them thoroughly and keep well watered for the first few weeks until they become established. The best time to divide your mondo grass is in the early spring or early fall.

This article was last updated on

How to Grow Monkey Grass from Seed

Last Updated: March 29, 2019 References

This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.

There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Liriope muscari, also known as monkey grass and lilyturf, is a type of evergreen plant native to East Asia. While most people cultivate monkey grass by moving an existing plant to a new spot, you can also grow liriope from a seed. Though it may seem daunting at first, cultivating lilyturf is incredibly easy to do once you know all the steps involved with germinating the seeds and moving them to your yard or garden.

What is Monkey Grass

Monkey grass (lilyturf) is a low maintenance and easy to care for flowering grass-like plant that can enhance any garden’s landscape

Monkey grass is a group of grass-like flowering plants in the genus Liriope and family Asparagaceae. This low, grass-like plant grows in clumps or as a creeping plant. Monkey grass has long, slender, pointed green leaves and purple or white flowers. This spreading, clumping plant also produces purple or black berry-like fruits.

Like many ground-cover plants, monkey grass has rhizomes that spread underground. Due to its fast growth, some species of monkey grass spread quickly in gardens.

The common names for species of Liriope—monkey grass and lilyturf—can be misleading. Monkey grass isn’t a true type of turfgrass as it’s not in the lawn grass family Poaceae. Additionally, monkey grass isn’t related to lily plants (Lilium). Because of its resemblance to spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum), the grass-like clumps are also called spider grass.

When deciding on the ideal type of monkey grass for your garden, it’s vital to choose the right variety. Liriope spicata is the creeping variety of monkey grass. This plant spreads rapidly and is ideal for ground cover—however, it can become invasive. Liriope muscari is the non-spreading monkey grass plant variety that grows in bushy clumps.

Monkey grass is also a flowering plant species. The ornamental grass-like plant blooms into life in late summer with spikes of small bluish-violet flower spikes. These purple flowers contrast nicely with the green ribbon-like leafy foliage.

Additional comments about this answer:

Valerie Petty · Gardenality Sprout · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
John, Informative answer! And a ton of help! Thank you!! Yes, it's liriope with little blue-ish berries, no the verigated leaves, but solid green. And the sunlight is filtered morning light and shade in the afternoon. I have hostas under there too, but only a few. I will get more hostas and look into Heuchera as well. I agree that Hostas would be a nice contrast if I just add more. I was not aware dwarf Mondo grass would not do well in direct sunlight. I had planned to use it around some stepping stones that get pretty direct sunlight in the afternoon. I won't make that mistake now! Thanks so much! :)

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Valerie-You're very welcome. I really like the dwarf Mondo Grass myself but have never had it do well in the intense heat of the afternoons. Depending on your hardiness zone and the amount of direct sunlight in the afternoon will be the determining factor. Please ask if you have any other questions. John)


Look for mondo grass in the groundcovers or perennials section at your local garden store. It is available in pots ranging from 4-inch to gallon size. For container plantings, choose a good general purpose outdoor potting mix. If they will be planted in the ground, remove existing vegetation and amend the soil by tilling in a three-inch layer of compost and soil conditioner, and starter fertilizer.

Remove the plant from its container and gently loosen the roots. Plant so that the upper soil surface of the plant is elevated above the surrounding grade by a half-inch. Space the plants 6 inches to one foot apart. Apply a three-inch layer of mulch, being careful not to cover the plants. Water deeply to soak the full depth of the root zone.

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