Q. How do I care for Liriope?
Liriope, or lily-turf as it's commonly known, is not actually a grass but a member of the lily-of-the-valley family. One popular species is L. muscari, an attractive native of Japan, Taiwan and China. This sturdy plant roots deeply and develops dense tufts of stiffish, erect or arching, dark green, glossy leaves about 1/2 inches wide and 1 feet long or longer. Its flowers, creamy white to deep lavender, are clustered in dense spikes as long as the leaves. The fruits are black.
Another popular species is L. spicata., which spreads rapidly by underground stems. Its spreading growth makes it unsuitable for edging but ideal for ground cover. Smaller than L. muscari, this species produces narrower flower spikes in a similar color range, and similar small black fruit.
Liriope tolerates shady to sunny conditions, but flowers best in sun. First-summer Liriope requires regular watering, or it may wilt and droop. Once it has had a chance to establish, the plant will become quite tolerant of drought conditions. After several seasons, Liriope may become ragged-looking. If so, cut plants back to the ground in spring, around the time when Forsythia is flowering. Never cut just the tips, because the leaves will not recover. If there is no winter damage, do not cut back the plant at all.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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