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

Watch the video or follow the directions below


Step 1: Dig planting holes 6″ apart

Digging planting holes for dwarf mondo

  • Dwarf Mondo is a slow spreader so take that in consideration when deciding how far apart to plant it.
  • Planting Dwarf Mondo 6″ apart should allow for full coverage in 2-3 growing seasons.
  • Planting it closer together will provide quicker coverage.

Step 2: Planting Dwarf Mondo from trays

Planting dwarf mondo grass from trays

Step 2: Transplanting Dwarf Mondo from an established area

Transplanting dwarf mondo grass

  • Take plugs every 3″ apart 
  • Use the 4″ depth ring to harvest plugs (4″ deep)

Planting dwarf mondo plugs

  • Plant the Dwarf Mondo plugs into transplant area. 

Step 3:  Water the Dwarf Mondo plugs

Watering dwarf mondo grass

  • Keep the soil moist for 2 weeks.
    • I’m watering this area several times a day for the first 2 weeks.
    • 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 get established and begin to spread. 
  • Save time by using a timer and sprinkler 

Step 4:  Watch the Dwarf Mondo Grow

Dwarf mondo before and after

  • The Dwarf Mondo may take 2-3 years to fill in.

Read this article for additional detailed information on planting Mondo Grasses.

 Summary of some of the important points:

When to plant Dwarf Mondo

  • Best in early spring, but can be planted in the summer  through early fall so that the plugs can root in before winter sets in.

Where to plant Dwarf Mondo

  • Shady areas where lawn grasses struggle to grow. Mondo grass can also tolerate near full-sun.
  • Areas too steep for mowing (it only needs mowing once a year)
  • Grows in USDA zones 6-11
  • Drought resistant once established.
  • Does not tolerate heavy foot traffic.
  • Thrives 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 herbicides. 
With Herbicides:


  • The 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.
    • It’s important to note that Glyphosphate kills the visible grass and weeds, but not seeds.
Without Herbicides:


  • This method will also kill any visible grass and weeds, but not seeds.


  • Solarizing involves tilling, watering, and then covering the area with clear plastic during the summer for at least 4 weeks.  This is a more involved process but comes with the added 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 moist.

With herbicides:

  • Post-emergent herbicides (these herbicides are designed for broadcast spraying but can still be slightly harmful to new plants so avoid direct hits if possible).
    • 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 contact with the newly planted plugs.
  • 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 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.


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