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How to Grow Liriope

Written by Stephanie on October 10th, 2013

Liriope (Liriope muscari) is also called big blue lilyturf. The other common species of Liriope is called creeping lilyturf (L. spicata).  This article discusses big blue lilyturf.  Lilyturf grows wild in the forest in China, Japan, and Korea. It is hardy in zones five to ten.

Lilyturf is a hardy evergreen ground cover.  Lilyturf generally grows from ten to eighteen inches tall and is twelve to eighteen inches wide.  It grows in clumps with dark green vegetation.  Some varieties are variegated.  Lilyturf blooms in July and August with spikes of purple, lavender, or white flowers. The flowers are small but there are a lot of them, making the plant very showy when blooming.

Lilyturf will grow in anything from full shade to deep shade.  For the most flowers, however, plant in full sun.  It is a very hardy ground cover and spreads rapidly.  Lilyturf is useful on slopes or banks, under trees, and as edging for flower beds.

Lilyturf is difficult to plant with seeds.  This is because the seed must be cleaned from the pulpy mass of the berry it is contained in, then subjected to warm scarification for eight weeks at about 77 degrees.  Then the seeds may be planted and will grow.  You can sow the seeds in the berries in the winter, however, they will be slow to germinate in the spring.

Lilyturf is easy to plant by dividing the root mass of existing plants or through transplants purchased from nurseries. Since this is so much easier than using seed, it is the usual manner of establishing lilyturf in the garden.

To plant lilyturf, first till up the flowerbed to a depth of six inches and add three inches of compost.  Then dig a hole slightly larger than the rootball of the lilyturf.  Carefully remove the plant from the pot and put it in the hole.  Firm soil around the roots and plant.  Carefully water the plant in.  Plants should be spaced one foot apart when planted.  They will quickly spread and fill in the spaces between them.

Lilyturf should be watered one inch of water a week to promote deep roots.  Do not let lilyturf dry out, but do not keep the soil too wet or the roots will rot.  The soil should be moist but not squishy.

Lilyturf must be pruned in late winter before the spring growth begins.  The easiest way to do this is with a mower set at the highest setting.  Just mow the plants, being careful not to damage the crowns while doing so.  Be sure to remove the mowed leaves and compost them.  Leaving them on the plants can spread diseases.

Lilyturf is fairly tough but is vulnerable to root rot, anacthrose, and snails and slugs.  For snails and slugs, spread iron phosphate bait around the plants.  It is sold under the names Sluggo and Escar-go.  It is not as poisonous to other animals as the old copper based bait.  Lilyturf is considered rabbit and deer resistant.


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