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The liriope plant (Liriope Muscari), some call “giant evergreen lily turf” displays gorgeous lavender or violet-purple flowers and helps bring more color to any garden.
The Liriope grows easily and features dark green grass like foliage.
After the flowers die off, Liriope produces small, blackish berries that remain into the winter.
Thanks to the late summer flowers, winter berries, and evergreen leaves, this plant offers year-round beauty and is often used for garden borders.
Liriope Muscari pronounced [lir-RYE-oh-pee] [mus-KAR-ee], is also known by the common names:
- Monkey grass
- Lily turf
- Big blue lilyturf
It is native to Taiwan, Japan, and China and belongs to the Liliaceae family of plants.
Caring For Lilyturf Grass
How Big Does Liriope Get?
Lilyturf plants have long flower stems reaching up to 20” inches in length. The leaves typically reach 12” to 18” inches with interesting fountain-shaped growths.
The Liriope plant is a perennial recommended for growing in USDA hardiness zones 5-10. However, Liriope tolerates a wide range of temperatures, soils, and light conditions.
When mature, the plant looks like a tuft of grass. It features clumps of thin foliage. Eventually, the flower stems start to spike and grow past the foliage.
The Lily Turf Flower
Liriope tend to bloom at the end of the summer. However, most people grow these plants in the garden for their leaves.
When the flowers bloom, they arrive in a cluster around a central spike. They also produce a sweet fragrance.
The violet-purple flowers eventually die out, giving way to black berries that remain throughout the winter.
Can Lilyturf Grow In Full Sun?
Full shade to partial shade conditions is recommended for lilyturf. However, Liriope grows in almost any area from full sun to deep shade.
The only “lighting” issue you need to worry about is direct late-afternoon sun when placed indoors.
This plant can remain outdoors all year. However, it does not tolerate freezing temperatures well.
If kept outdoors, plants may not make it through the winter if the temperatures drop below 35° degrees Fahrenheit.
During the summer, Liriopes prefers moderately warm temperatures. The recommended range is 68° to 75° degrees Fahrenheit.
Watering and Fertilizing Tips
Throughout the summer, you will want to give these drought tolerant plants lots of water to maintain healthy growth.
In the winter, the plant goes dormant and does not need frequent watering.
A light fertilizer application of 10-10-10 is recommended during the growing season, but not during the winter.
You can use a liquid fertilizer with each watering to provide your plant with more nutrition.
Best Soil For Lilyturf?
The Liriope Muscari grows well in soil with good drainage. You may use potting soil if you prefer or healthy topsoil, whether planting indoors or outdoors.
Weeds can easily overtake this plant. If you intend to grow Liriope outdoors, you should eliminate the weeds. Pull the weeds by hand to avoid using sprays that may harm lilyturf.
NOTE: Although Liriope grows in a wide range of soil types, if the soil is too compact, consider adding a little bit of peat to help with drainage.
With potted, it is best to repot with fresh soil in the early spring.
Does Liriope Grass Need To Be Cut Back?
After the flowers die, most growers prefer to remove the flower stems. They also remove withered foliage to clean up the plant.
When planted outdoors, many people choose to trim the foliage back in later winter, before new growth starts.
This helps maintain a neater appearance, but it is not a required step for the health of your plant.
Liriope Plant Propagation
Propagating the lily turf plant requires you to either divide the root mass or germinate the seeds. However, reproducing from seed is not easy.
If you want to try propagating the plant from the root, carefully remove the plant from the soil and divide the root mass.
You can perform this step every two to three years to ensure that you always have plenty of lily turf grass to go around your garden.
Check out these small Liriope type grasses:
- Ophiopogon planiscapus (Black Mondo Grass)
- Ophiopogon jaburan (Green Mondo Grass)
Pests, Diseases, or Problems
There are several potential threats to pay attention to if you want to protect your lovely lily turf. These threats include:
- Crown Rot from the fungus (Phytopthora)
- Brown patches on the leaves
- Brown leaf tips
- Brown spots
- Sticky leaves
The brown patches are often due to overwatering. Scale back on the watering and remove the dead foliage. However, brown leaf tips typically indicate that the air is too dry.
Brown spots may be insects and not a sign of rot. One trick for getting rid of insects is to dip a cotton swab in alcohol and rub the spots to remove insects.
Sticky leaves indicate an aphid infestation. Treat with an insecticide like Neem oil.
Other Liriope Grass Varieties?
The two most popular species of the liriope genus are the Liriope muscari and the Liriope spicata.
Muscari has a thin, long leaf and lavender flowers while the Liriope spicata has a narrow leaf and lilac flowers that grow in clusters
There is also a variegated Liriope variety called – Liriope muscari ‘Variegata’ suitable for growing in USDA Hardiness Zone: 6 – 11.
Best Uses For Evergreen Lily Turf?
Liriope muscari is a great choice for growing in containers but excels when used in the landscape as a ground cover, as a border or in large beds. Monkey grass liriope is also drought tolerant and deer resistant.