Dwarf mondo grass is a low growing, dark green plant native to Korea and Japan that grows together in clumps. Despite the name and appearance, this plant is actually a member of the lily family. People often use it for decoration in flower beds and to mark the borders of paths and gardens. It is also considered a good choice for lawn cover because its height doesn't typically exceed four inches (10 cm), and mowing may only be necessary once a year. Unlike most plants, dwarf mondo grass can also retain its dark green color under drought conditions because it doesn't require much sun and typically has lower water requirements than other types of turf.
Planting dwarf mondo grass to cover a lawn can be very labor intensive. Before planting, three inches (7 cm) of weed-free compost should be cultivated into the ground to a depth of 12 inches (30 cm). Most people buy bare-root sprigs of the grass from garden centers or wholesale suppliers and plant them individually in the ground, spaced six to eight inches (15 to 20 cm) apart. If a person has a large lawn, this could take a lot of time. Dwarf mondo grass seed is available as well, but it is not normally recommended to use for ground cover because it may not all come up.
Once the sprigs are properly planted, the grass should begin to grow and spread outward, eventually covering the desired area. The sprigs generally need water every day until they are established. A monthly application of fertilizer may also help to ensure proper growth. The recommended fertilizer to use for dwarf mondo grass if 5-10-15, and supplementing with a liquid fertilizer during the first six months of growth may also be helpful. Weeds can be controlled with herbicide, but may have to be pulled out by hand in between grass clumps.
Many people prefer dwarf mondo grass over regular turf because of its attractive appearance and low maintenance requirements. In spite of the possible benefits, this plant may not be a good choice for everyone. After planting, it can take as long as three years to completely establish itself. It is also not very strong, and likely won't hold up to as much wear and tear as regular turf grass. People with lawns that see a lot of traffic due to pets or children may want to consider investing in a stronger type of grass.