If you haven’t heard of the term Ophiopogon, don’t worry, for it isn’t the name of a deadly illness. The name is derived from a genus of evergreen perennial grasses.
These ornamental grasses have been present for almost 200 years, having been discovered by westerners in Japan. Today we’ll look at two kissing cousins of the Ophiopogon family: mondo grass and monkey grass.
Many gardeners confuse mondo and monkey grass; the most puzzling element is that both may be referred to as monkey grass. They are both visually appealing species with remarkable similarities, and choosing one that will fit your needs will require you to understand the distinctions.
But, before we look into mondo grass vs monkey grass, we must first grasp what monkey grass is.
What is monkey grass?
You’ve probably heard of monkey grass; it’s not your ordinary lawn grass in the suburbs. It is a tricky grass. I’m sure images of monkey grass, and mondo on the internet aren’t helping much.
As perplexing as it may sound, monkey grass is a popular term for two separate types of grasses belonging to the same genus. Monkey grass is a phrase that is used to refer to both the liriope and the mondo grass, although they are not the same.
However, most of us have agreed that the commonly used nomenclature for the liriope is monkey grass. However, they are both referred to as lilyturf as a group.
Mondo Grass Vs Monkey Grass
The mondo and monkey grass have one thing in common: they never fail to impress when planted in your outdoor area. They all have this distinct cascading growth pattern that appears like a fountain, adding a theatrical flair.
Both can be utilized as a groundcover or planted alone to leave an impression on your visitors.
Mondo and monkey grass are both evergreen types of grass, which makes every gardener choose between the two, and in the warm weather, they are greener and produce flowers during this period or in the spring. Furthermore, once established, they will fare well without a lot of maintenance.
If you are concerned about the deer and rabbit nibbling on your grass, then this will not be a problem with the monkey and the mondo grass.
Adding to this quality, they are both fairly resistant to drought and are not susceptible to many diseases like your typical lawn grass. They both do well under the shade, making both types of grass a to-go-to grass for gardeners with a shady yard.
Monkey grass and mondo grass don’t give a fuzz about the kind of soil they grow on, but well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter is the best for both plants having them grow into dense and vivid grass.
However, the mondo and monkey grass will have foliage discolorations during bad winter. They will suffer cold damage having their leaves turn brown with a rugged look.
One factor that discourages most homeowners from considering covering their yard with gorgeous green sweeps of mondo and monkey grass is that they are less tolerant of heavy foot activity, and digging by your children and four-legged pets would quickly harm it.
Many homeowners have struggled to distinguish between mondo and monkey grass. But the trick is in the leaves.
The monkey grass has wider leaves than the mondo grass; the leaves of a monkey grass are 14 inches wide, strappy, dark green, and grow to 12 inches long, whereas the leaves of a mondo grass are 12 inches wide and grow longer than the mondo grass; the leaves also have a drooping appearance.
In terms of height, the monkey grass species can grow to be 10 to 24 inches tall, whereas the mondo grass can only grow to be 12 inches tall.
However, mondo grass tolerates foot traffic better than the other. Furthermore, the monkey grass is less likely to survive the winter, but when exposed to full sun, the mondo grass will die faster than the monkey grass.
Another common distinction between the monkey grass and the mondo grass is the kind of flowers they produce. The monkey grass produces a ‘proud’ flower that stands above the clumps formed by its stiff leaves, and the blooms are usually violet in color or cream-colored.
See also: When is the right time to cut monkey grass back
In contrast, the blooms of the mondo grass are usually hidden in the foliage and are white or lavender. The flower of a mondo develops into glossy black fruit.
The monkey grass has a rapacious spreading habit and will quickly cover your lawn, unlike the mondo grass species, especially the dwarf mondo, which is slow-spreading and will take its sweet time to cover your lawn.
But the erect medium-textured leaves of the monkey grass develop a lovely ornamental grass while the mondo varieties work well as a lawn grass species.
How to Care for Mondo and Liriope
Both the mondo and the liriope grass grow well in well-drained soil and, despite being drought tolerant, will require some watering from time to time.
A small amount of fertilizer will make your grass more bright, although it is not required for both species.
The mondo and monkey grass will require little care, but you will need to clip them back after winter to get the greatest appearance out of them.
See also: Differences between liriope and mondo grass
To maintain them healthy, trim them in late winter before new growth begins. You must also keep them weed-free and treat them in case of fungal, slug, or scale assault.
Mondo grass vs monkey grass is a difficult choice for most gardeners because they have a lot in common. They flourish with little upkeep; they are both incredibly gorgeous and add the touch of refinement your landscape requires.
Both of these are ideal replacements for any gardener. Now that you understand the differences and similarities between the mondo and the monkey grass, you can make the best decision for yourself.
Keep in mind that whether you choose mondo or monkey grass, you must guarantee that their fundamental needs are addressed.