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Mondo grass vs Monkey grass

Mondo Grass vs Monkey Grass: Comparison

What are the differences and similarities Mondo grass vs monkey grass?

Mondo grass is one of several closely related, grasslike ground covers from Asia common in Hawaii and other warm-weather areas. The advantage of using Mondo is that most selections establish quickly and are generally drought-tolerant and disease and insect-resistant. Some varieties spread vigorously and are excellent for filling in large, shady areas where grasses do not grow well.

Monkey grass is a low-growing, easy-care evergreen grass-like plant that is ideal for ground cover or turfgrass replacement. Also called lilyturf, It is easy to plant, survives drought, and is useful to decorate garden landscapes.


A Quick Comparison of Mondo Grass vs Monkey Grass

Mondo grass vs Monkey grass

To distinguish from both types of grass you must look at its leaves. Mondo grass produce flowers and narrower leaves or dark foliage that grow slowly when planting it as turf, you’ll only have to mow it once per year in the winter. Compared to monkeys, this species is darker and shorter. Also, its leaves have a drooping aspect.

Both types of grass have things in common that make them. The flowers of the monkey are typically white, and these plants aren’t related to lily family or lilac and appear from July to September. If you’re not sure which one is which, just remember that monkey leaves are generally the less attractive of the two.


Mondo Grass

Monkey Grass

Shade Tolerant:

Tolerates Shade

Full sunlight all day long

Water Needs:

Does not require watering

once it has established itself

Water regularly to keep the

soil moist while the roots get



Don’t receive a lot of


Stands a high amount of sunlight


Typically requires no fertilizer

It is cost-efficient to grow and

it's not necessary to fertilize

Traffic Tolerance:

Suitable for lawns

Suitable for lawns

What is Mondo Grass?

Mondo grass

Mondo grass is also known as Ophiopogon. It is an evergreen perennial that makes a great groundcover or standalone grass-like plant. These plants perform well in almost any soil and lighting condition. Mondo is a slow-growing plant and prefer moist soil that can be easily propagated by division and requires minimal excellent choices for ground covers. They also perform well as ornamental plants to spice up your garden. Both require minimal care and don’t need regular mowing. Make sure you check the characteristics of your hardiness zone before picking one over the other species for your garden.

Identifying Features of Mondo Grass

Some very distinct features make the grass easily identifiable.

  • It produces spikes of blue flower stalks in the summer, followed by pretty blue-black berries later on
  • It is also deer resistant
  • Groundcover
  • Super easy to grow
  • Mondo grass is a hardy plant and requires low care. 
  • They look amazing when planted en masse as a ground cover and to fill in gaps in and around pathways. 
  • They also look good when planted in front of borders as edging plants
  • An easy-to-grow, attractive groundcover 
  • Mondo grass is especially useful as a turf alternative in shade gardens.
  • Its grass-like foliage forms dense tufts that slowly spread over time and require no mowing and are grown in pots.
  • They aren’t very drought tolerant
  • It chokes other plants
  • The leaves may become ragged by winter

What is Monkey Grass?

Monkey grass

Creeping liriope or monkey grass is a ground cover that looks very similar to turf grass. It is the common name for liriope (Liriope muscari), but it is also referred to as border grass. In addition, this grass is oftentimes used as the common name for a similar plant, dwarf Mondo grass (Ophiopogon genus).

Identifying Features of Monkey Grass

This grass forms grass-like tufts that grow 8 to 16 inches in height with half-inch dark green leaves that are of fine to medium texture.

  • It survives drought
  • It is useful to decorate garden landscapes
  • You can plant as edging plants 
  • Shade-loving plant for undershrub
  • Prevent soil erosion
  • It is easy to plant
  • It’s back-breaking labor
  • They are slow growers

Comparing Mondo grass Vs Monkey Grass Belonging

Mondo grass vs Monkey grass Comparison

We can easily highlight some of the areas where one grass shines above the other. It is these unique traits that make both types of grass fit for certain areas and specific uses.


Monkey grass appears light green than mondo grass. It is usually between 1-2 feet tall and can spread up to 12-18inches. Dwarf varieties are usually 2-3 inches.

Meanwhile, mondo appears dark green foliage or black. It is low-growing and doesn’t extend more than 6 to 10 inches.

Behavior against weeds and growth habits

The only way to control both mondo and monkey grass is the mechanical removal of the “weeds” which can mean digging up some clumps of the grass and snaking out the roots of the “weeds”.
Both types of grass are a low-growing, easy-care evergreen grass-like plant that is ideal for turf grass replacement so it’s not likely to be invasive.

The sod formation involves growing a solid stand of high-quality turfgrass and then harvesting the grass along with roots and a thin layer of topsoil.

Best Uses for Mondo vs Monkey grass

Mondo grass is a shade-tolerant and drought-tolerant that is popular in gardens and yards throughout the southern US. This groundcover or ornamental grasses can withstand light to moderate foot traffic, but in areas of heavier traffic, you will definitely want to consider using steppingstones. Plants can be damaged if cut back too much but will definitely recover from damage easily.

Monkey grass is easy to plant, survives drought, and is useful to decorate garden landscapes and is a very tolerant grass type that can withstand high traffic and recover from damage easily.

Soil Types and pH Needs

Plant mondo in well-drained soil conditions with full shade. Till the soil and mix in 2 to 3 inches of compost and a PH level of 5.0 to 6.5.

Plant liriope grass in well-draining soil and only water when the ground is parched. Trim the grassy foliage in winter to encourage healthy growth and a PH level of 6.0 to 7.0.

Water Needs

Water your Mondo grass leaves and keep the soil moist for the first 3 to 6 months to allow the plants to establish roots. Once the roots are established, you can cut back to watering only when the soil is dry.

Monkey grasses don’t require much watering when it’s established. The plant survives on little water, even in warm summer climates. You may need to water the plant every week if there is no rainfall. However, always check that the top layer of the ground is dry before watering.

Fertilizer Requirements

Mondo grass does not require fertilizer but light fertilizer applications in the spring will help maintain color and increase growth rate, but they are not necessary.

Monkey grass is hardy, so it doesn’t need much in the way of fertilizer. If you want to spur its healthy growth at the start of the year, apply a long-term, balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer that’s formulated to release slowly. The fertilizer you’ll want is labeled as “slow-release.”

Suns, shade, and temperature requirements

Though, the mondo grass tolerates harsh sunlight less. While the monkey grass needs complete sun to establish. Plant both liriope and mondo grass grows in a well-draining location with full or partial shade, they will grow without any problem in the shade.

Mondo Grass will grow in all conditions and can grow in hot weather. While the monkey’s Ideal growing conditions are warm but not hot. These plants tolerate a wide range of temperatures and humidity levels.


Mondo Grass is an incredibly resilient type of plant that is both tough and durable. Simply remove any weeds as they come up and water occasionally during dry warm weather. In the springtime, you will want to trim back any ragged leaves to help your plant look its best. Maintenance only really comes to every couple of years. We recommend dividing the clumps of this flower every 3 or so years.

Trim monkey grass in late winter or early spring. Cutting back this grass helps to remove old foliage and encourage new, healthy-looking growth. Use your lawnmower on its highest setting to cut back the blades. If using a trimmer or garden shears, trim back foliage to around 3” or 4” (7.5- 10 cm) high.

Common Pests and Diseases

Snails and slugs may become an issue with mondo grass. This plant rarely poses many diseases threat but can at times form fungal issues. This is due to prolonged wet, warm periods. The results of this are not serious.

Monkey grass has few significant pest problems, although it can be susceptible to the liriope scale and fern scale, Pinnaspis caricis, and Pinnaspis aspidistra. The scale causes yellow and reddish spotting on the foliage. Treat the problem by cutting down the plants and cleaning up the debris in winter.

Summary: Both types of grass have pests in them, but mondo grass takes the win because it has few pests and it’s easy to grow and maintain.

Mowing Needs

Mondo doesn’t require mowing. It has long, thin green blades between 8” and 15” (20 – 40 cm) in length.

Mowing monkey grass in winter will remove dead, brown blades.

Cost of Maintenance

Mondo is a very low-maintenance grass. If you are growing this grass as a lawn, there is little you need to maintain it. Remove any weeds as they appear and keep the area moist in the dry season. After winter storms, leaves may be ragged and can be trimmed back a bit for the best appearance. Divide clumps every three years if grown as standalone plants.

To care for monkey grass, plant in well-draining soil and only water when the ground is parched. Trim the grassy foliage in winter.

Mondo vs. Monkey grass: Which Option is Right for You?

If you are seeking an attractive ground cover to perk up your backyard landscape, mondo may be just what you’re looking for. This attractive ornamental grass grows to a height of six to ten inches.

Monkey grass has advantages, but its watering needs and high maintenance makes it a very hard choice. So, Mondo takes the win.

Choosing the Best Option for Climate

In cooler climates, Mondo grass should be planted in the spring or summer so it can establish itself before winter. Mondo has more vibrant foliage and performs well even in coastal areas. In warmer areas, it may be planted year-round. Regular and dwarf Mondo can grow in USDA Hardiness zones 6-10.

Monkey grass grows well in USDA zones 5 through 10 in warm climates and should be planted mostly in sandy, loamy, or well-draining clay soil. It leaves color grows darker in shaded areas than in the full sun.

Growing zones

Mondo tends to do slightly better in northern climates, as it is rated for zones 5-10.

While monkey grass can be grown in the USDA hardiness zone 6 through zone 10. “However, it looks best in warmer climates of zone eight or above.

Summary: Both species of plants look similar in growth habits and appearance, but most homeowners use mondo as a low-maintenance lawn alternative in areas of full or partial shade.

Choosing the Best Option Based on Maintenance

Mondo is ideal in that it requires very little maintenance. For this reason, it is an ideal plant to grow in areas that are difficult to reach such as along steep slopes, flower beds, and under trees.
While monkey grass is a high-maintenance grass that needs a lot of water to grow.

Summary: Mondo is quite easy to care for. An annual mowing in winter can stimulate growth, so in a choice between Mondo and liriope, mondo grass takes the win.

What are the similarities between Mondo vs Monkey grass?

Both types of grass have things in common that make them.

Both mondo and monkey grass is a low-growing, easy-care evergreen grass-like plants and have a high tolerance to drought conditions that is ideal for turf grass replacement so it’s not likely to be invasive and they are both suitable for lawns. You can use both as ground covers under trees and shrubs.


Both mondo and monkey grass have deep foliage that grows cascading, resembling a fountain. Under optimal conditions, they grow dense and vivid in color.

Shade tolerance

Both types of plants are shade tolerant and will do just well. You can plant monkey grass and mondo as shade-loving plants for under shrubs, or trees.

Drought tolerance

Black mondo grass isn’t very drought tolerant while monkey grass tolerates drought and full sun.


Is Mondo the same as monkey grass?

Yes, and sometimes gets mistaken for monkey grass.

What’s another name for monkey grass?

It is also called Lilyturf.

Does monkey grass attract snakes?

Yes, it does attracts snakes.

Is Mondo grass invasive?

It’s invasive in the southern states.

Will monkey grass choke out weeds?

It will choke out weeds when established.

Can Mondo grass take full sun?

Don’t receive a lot of sunshine.

Can you use Mondo grass as a lawn?

Yes, it works best as substitutes to traditional lawn species.

What is monkey grass good for?

It is useful to decorate garden landscapes.

Does monkey grass stay green all year?

No, mondo stays green all year.

Is monkey grass toxic to dogs?

It is not toxic for cats, dogs, or other animals.

What can I plant instead of monkey grass?

You can plant Bermuda grass instead.


Planting and growing both types of grass in your garden needs proper care to avoid any brown patches on your lawn. And the main factor is watering, fertilizing, mowing, and pest control.
Whether both require minimal care and don’t need regular mowing, you still need to check their basic needs before picking one for your yard.

Which grass will you choose? Let us know your opinion in the comments section and we will respond quickly.


Jessica Zander

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