GROUND COVER (LIROPE – Monkey Grass)
Some of the best ground covers are natives of Asia about thirty (30) varieties of a genus called Liriope. Now there are two types of liriope, one the other Muscari. These two species have many interchangeable common names lilyturf, monkey grass, variegated lilyturf, and blue lilyturf. When looking for any of these one must remember the difference between the two, Muscari types are clumping and spicata types are spreading. The majorities in the market are Muscari types, they come in green or variegated with either white or yellow leaves. The flowers can be purple, blue or white.
Liriope Mascari types can be used to line borders of walkways and gardens. There a massive root system keeps water from washing debris from washing onto the sidewalk of a lawn. Whereas liriope spectra should be used in areas where you would like a massive show quickly, remember that the spicata types are very invasive. It is difficult to plant anything close to spicata as it will be crowed out. Liriope mascara types can be used to do mass plantings but have to be planted closer or take more time.
In our area Liriopes have the tendency to brown out on the tips in winter, looking bad until the new leaves push past the old in the late spring. An excellent solution is to cut back the old leaves in late fall or early spring allowing the new leaves to show earlier. A long time ago I planted crocus amongst some of my liriope and if I do not cut leaves back in fall the early flowers of crocus are hidden.
There are no diseases or insect problems with Liriope. It is almost indestructible. In mid to late fall depending on the variety you have chosen there will be stalks of either white, purple, or blue blooms. Then small blackberries will then form on these stalks. It is almost imposable for them to develop as it takes special care to germinate in our area.
Just remember when looking for liriope ask for Liriope muscari.
©Ken Wilson Gardening Whisperer LLC 2015