Monkey Grass Growing Tips That Will Helpful To Your Growing

Monkey grass for garden - greenplantpro

Monkey grass is a broad name for the Liriope genus of plants. In terms of gardening and landscaping, the most commonly used member of the genus is Liriope muscari. It works excellently as a ground cover, preventing or reducing topsoil erosion. Spider grass and creeping lilyturf are two other names the plant shares.

As an evergreen foliage plant, it is an excellent addition to any garden. However, it may take continual maintenance, growing quickly and aggressively in ideal conditions. Let’s discuss everything you need to know about monkey grass, including how to identify and cultivate it.


Monkey Grass vs. Liriope

The name “monkey grass” applies to two different Liriope species: muscari and spicata. Both are used often in landscaping and have similar physical characteristics. However, many people call muscari “Liriope” while calling the spicata variant “monkey grass.” 

The plants have differences even as members of the same genus. It grows quicker and more aggressively due to its rhizomes which spread underground. Liriope grows in clusters in a more controlled area. This plant’s leaves will grow to around 18 inches long, but Liriope leaves reach longer, up to 24 inches.


Monkey Grass Characteristics

During winter, the grass may brown at the tips but remains mostly evergreen. By spring, it sprouts again from the center, leaving you to remove the dead foliage along the outside. It is a resilient plant that lasts through the winter, maintaining most or all of its color.

Both Liriope muscari and Liriope spicata produce stalk-like flowers ranging in color from lavender to white. Each species also makes small berries with a dark blue-black color. 

While some say the fruits are toxic, the plant is non-toxic for pets. If a person or animal eats parts of the plant, they may experience a stomach ache at worst.


How To Cultivate Monkey Grass

Both species are very resilient and grow aggressively, even in adverse conditions. Acidic, well-drained soils are best for the plant. Full sun and partial shade suit them best. However, since the grass can multiply almost uncontrollably, think carefully about when and where you plant it to prevent overgrowth.


Does monkey grass spread?

Yes, and it can be an invasive pest. One of the best ways to contain this plant growth is to use hardscaping or root barriers to box them in. Liriope spicata plants spread through rhizomes, which grow above or below ground. 

Using large gravel and rocks in your planter beds will prevent them from overtaking your lawn or garden. However, Liriope muscari is a clumping plant that doesn’t grow as aggressively. 

Plant the monkey grass seeds 6 to 8 inches apart. In the first year, they need constant watering. Once established, the grass will manage itself reliably. Both kinds are tolerant to deer, heat, and salt. However, you may witness problems with certain insects like slugs. In addition, they are not resilient against foot traffic, despite being a popular ground cover option. 


How To Trim Monkey Grass

For maximum beauty, you will want to cut back the tops of the grass before each spring, around February. Alternatively, especially in ornamental settings, you can trim the brown ends of the leaves with a pair of clippers. 

Cutting back the brown ends of the leaves will accommodate new foliage in the next growing season. If you maintain them regularly, they keep their lovely dark green color all year. 


Benefits of Monkey Grass

Many states consider this plant invasive, but it does have benefits. The main appeals of the grass are its soil erosion prevention and ruggedness. Having the plant on your lawn or in your garden reduces erosion caused by water. It can even grow on slopes, helping to keep the topsoil stable.

The grass will grow where other plants cannot. It fares well at the base of a tree or shrub, which usually become bald spots for gardens. 

Both varieties are ornamental for their aesthetic purple flowers and their deep green foliage year-round. While they do require yearly pruning to retain their full beauty, they do not require much maintenance. Early spring is the best time to plant them, after which they will flourish until the next growing season begins. 


Monkey Grass vs. Mondo Grass

Mondo grass is another species (Ophiopogon japonicus) that is colloquially called “monkey grass.” However, it has different characteristics than the Liriope genus plants. Mondo grass grows taller and has narrower leaves than Liriope. Its fruits are a light shade of blue instead of the dark color of monkey grass fruits. 

Despite their differences, the two types of grass fulfill the same functions. They are resilient and great as ground cover. The grass spreads much faster, however, and needs yearly pruning.



It is an excellent foliage choice for a lawn or garden, providing essential structure and year-long greenery. However, it takes boundaries and maintenance to keep it under control. Trimming it back or cutting the tops before each growing season will keep them looking beautiful and healthy.

Monkey grass is carefree and resilient once established. In ideal conditions, it grows a little too well, so be careful when, where, and how you plant it. Many states consider the grass invasive. With proper care, however, a well-trained gardener can take advantage of this evergreen ornamental plant all year.

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