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

Native Grass is Falling Over
November 09, 2011 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I've tried to find this answer but am stumped as to the cause. We live in Fredericksburg, TX and have several different tall grasses, Yellow Indian grass, Little Bluestem, wire...
view the full question and answer

Trimming of cordgrass plants
November 20, 2007 - We have planted more than 150 cordgrass plants (spartina bakeri) along the edges of the small pond at our condominium complex to try to prevent any further soil erosion between the buildings and the p...
view the full question and answer

Can two species of Muhlenbergia be cross-pollinated from Portal AZ
July 17, 2012 - Will Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Big Muhly) cross-pollinate with Muhlenbergia porteri (Bush Muhly)? I am attempting to restore the grasslands on my private property to a pre-1900 state. Bush Muhly was a...
view the full question and answer

Mixture of native grasses as opposed to buffalo grass monoculture
November 26, 2003 - My husband and I just built our home on Lake Travis. Our lot is very rocky and is on the side of a hill. We would like to plant something on the incline at the front of our home that doesn't need a l...
view the full question and answer

Reseed Buffalograss in Early Spring in San Antonio
January 14, 2011 - When is best time to put down Buffalo grass seed in 78260 area. How much dirt should I put over existing sodded buffalo grass, which is now sparse?
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