En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - March 30, 2009

From: Los Angeles, CA
Region: California
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses to replace mondo grass in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello - I live in the Southern California coastal zone, and am looking for a drought resistant, turf alternative. My husband wants to use "Mondo Grass", but I know that is not native to the region, and I'm trying to convince him to use a native alternative. Can you recommend a native alternative that would be similar to mondo grass in appearance/effect?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is happy to hear that you are replacing your Asian native, mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus), with a North American native. Although they do tend to be taller, here are four natives that are attractive and have a somewhat similar look to mondo grass:

Achnatherum hymenoides (Indian ricegrass)

Koeleria macrantha (prairie Junegrass)

Melica imperfecta (smallflower melicgrass)

Sporobolus airoides (alkali sacaton)

Sedges are another possibility and they look even more like mondo grass than the native grasses above (see the article, Sedge Lawns for Every Landscape).  Additionally, most sedges are evergreen and tend to be shorter than the grasses.  Both Carex pansa (California meadow sedge) and Carex texensis (Texas sedge) will work well in the Los Angeles area.  You can check our National Suppliers Directory for nurseries that specialize in native plants in the Los Angeles area.  It is possible that they may carry other native Carex sp. as well.


Achnatherum hymenoides

Koeleria macrantha

Melica imperfecta

Sporobolus airoides

Carex texensis

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Potential ecosystem benefits to Carex flaccosperma
December 06, 2014 - Hi, I am trying to find out if there are any ecosystem benefits associated with the plant Carex flaccosperma: Blue wood sedge?
view the full question and answer

Non-monoculture turf grass for Florida from Sarasota FL
April 28, 2012 - I am looking for a non-monoculture turf grass suitable for the Florida climate. Will Habiturf work, or perhaps you have some other suggestions? Please advise.
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent erosion in clay soil in Heron, NY
September 07, 2009 - What plants could be used to plant on clay soil, Eastern exposure in full sun to stop erosion on a bay side hill with a steep grade?
view the full question and answer

Planting buffalograss from Surfside Beach SC
September 14, 2012 - How do I plant buffalograss along a lake? Do I just spread the seeds?
view the full question and answer

Ground cover to withstand dog traffic in Michigan
November 02, 2010 - I need a soft ground cover that will grow in sand, and be able to take four big dogs that love to run in the yard. Grass just doesn't make it. Someone suggested that groundcover might work. Thanks...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center