Planting Dwarf Mondo Grass (with video)

Planting dwarf mondo grass

Dwarf Mondo is a low maintenance, shade tolerant, and drought resistant grass substitute.  It’s a great choice for heavily shaded areas where other grasses can’t grow.  Or, in steep slopes where mowing is difficult.  We’ll show you how to use the ProPlugger to plant Dwarf Mondo grass from trays, or transplant it from areas that are already established


Step 1: Dig planting holes 6″ apart

Digging planting holes for dwarf mondo

  • Dwarf Mondo spreads slowly
  • Planting holes 6″ apart should allow for full coverage in 2-3 years
  • Plant them closer together if you want faster coverage

Step 2 (if planting Dwarf Mondo from trays)

Planting dwarf mondo grass from trays

Step 2 (if transplanting Dwarf Mondo from an area already established)

Transplanting dwarf mondo grass

  • Take plugs every 3″ apart 
  • Use the 4″ depth ring to take plugs 4″ deep

Planting dwarf mondo plugs

  • Plant the dwarf mondo plugs into the ground

Step 3:  Water the Dwarf Mondo plugs

Watering dwarf mondo grass

  • Keep the ground moist for 2 weeks
    • I’m watering this area 2 times a day
    • You may have to water more or less frequently depending on your climate, shade, or soil type
  • Water twice a week for the first growing season
    • Watering more frequently helps the Dwarf Mondo grass when it is first getting established
  • Save time by using a timer and sprinkler 

Step 4:  Watch the Dwarf Mondo

Dwarf mondo before and after

  • This is a yard we planted with Dwarf Mondo a few years ago, and it’s doing very well

Additional Information

This link  is a great source for more detailed information on planting Mondo Grasses.  I will summarize some important points below

When to plant Dwarf Mondo

Best in early spring, but can be planted in the summer or early enough in the fall so that it can become established before winter sets in

Where to plant Dwarf Mondo

  • Shady areas where other grass struggles to grow (though it can tolerate full sun)
  • Areas too steep for mowing (it only needs mowing once a year if at all)
  • Grows in USDA zones 6-11
  • Drought resistant once established
  • Does not tolerate heavy foot traffic
  • Does best with well drained soil  

Preparing to plant Dwarf Mondo

You must kill the existing grass or weeds.  This can be done with or without chemicals

With Chemicals:


  • The old brand name is Round-Up, but there are many formulations 
  • Follow the directions on the label for mixing and spraying
    • Spray it, wait a week, spray it again, wait a week, and it’s ready for plugging
    • This link follows another method which takes more time, but is more effective
    • Glyphosphate kills the grass and weeds, but not seeds
Without chemicals:


  • This will kill grass and weeds, but not seeds


  • Solarizing involves tilling, watering, and then covering an area with clear plastic during the summer for at least 4 weeks.  This is a more involved process but comes with the benefit of killing seeds in the ground

Weed control after planting the Dwarf Mondo grass

Without herbicides:

  • Apply straw or wood mulch in between plants to suppress weed growth while the plants are young
  • Pick out the weeds that do emerge by hand
    • Wait until after rain or watering to pick weeds
    • They come out much easier when the soil is wet

With herbicides:

  • Post-emergent herbicides
    • Sethoxydim kills many grassy weeds.  Read the label for more information
    • Clethodim  Also kills many grassy weeds.  Read the label for more information
    • When the plants are young you can usually spray the weeds in between plants while avoiding direct hits
      • These herbicides are meant to be sprayed over the entire area, but they can still be slightly harmful to new plants, so avoid direct hits if possible
  • Pre-emergent herbicides
    • Most pre-emergent herbicides can be used with Dwarf Mondo grass (this link shows you which ones)
    • Use with caution on newly planted plugs
    • They can slow down new root growth, and young plants are the most vulnerable to this
    • You can lessen the risk for young plants by spraying in between the plants
      • Or spray the entire area prior to planting the Dwarf Mondo (so the new plugs won’t get sprayed directly)


Dwarf Mondo grass only requires light fertilization

  • Compost
    • Annual top-dressings of 1/2 inch of compost
    • This is preferred because it provides nutrients and helps the plants spread faster  
  • Organic fertilizer:  Apply lightly through spring and summer
  • Inorganic fertilizer:  Use an all purpose controlled release formulation and apply lightly through the spring and summer 

Disease and Pest Problems

Like many groundcovers, dwarf mondo grass is rarely plagued by disease and pest problems.  Though information on some common pests can be found in this link

Mowing Dwarf Mondo

  • Some recommend mowing once a year to increase the rate of spreading (but this is debatable)
  • Don’t mow too low
    • Dwarf Mondo grass can be damaged by scalping

Be sure to check out other uses for the proplugger on our website including:

  1. Lawn Plugging
  2. Bulb Planting
  3. Soil testing
  4. Planting annuals