Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FAQ: Which mondo or other ground cover might work best?

I have two separate areas, one is 90% shade (30' x 30'), the other is 100% sun (200' x 125'); both slope, so drain well.  The soil is clay. Can you recommend which mondo (or other ground cover) might work best? At present I have "regular" lawn that needs mowing every two weeks. It seemed that dwarf mondo might be my best alternative, but the more I read up on it, it seems to work best in mostly shade, if so, again, could you recommend a "mondo" type grass that would work in full sun? I like that the dwarf mondo grows to only 3" or 4" tall.

You want to replace your lawn grass with a low-maintenance ground cover.  Dwarf mondo would work well in full sun or shade. My article, Mondo Possibilities For Your Landscape, explains more. For covering an area the size you described with dwarf mondo will require patience. Lirope spicata might be a better choice. It grows taller, about the height of regular mondo, but spreads more rapidly. You can learn more about it from my article, Liriope: A Favorite Ground Cover.


If liriope or mondo are planted in full sun, experience drought and you fail to water, the leaf tips may turn brown. Severe drought might make all the foliage roll up and/or turn brown. But I've laid bare root divisions of liriope and mondo out on hot concrete in full sun for several days, and they revived when planted and watered. However I wouldn't make abuse a regular practice.

The advantage of liriope and mondo over grass, however, is that both will grow well in shade while grass may not. Liriope spicata is cold-hardier than mondo.

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