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How to Grow Liriope muscari Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Big Blue Lilyturf

The Liriope muscari plant (Common name: Big Blue Lilyturf) makes a great plant for borders or also can be planted in mass to create evergreen grassy groundcover.

It has a tufted grass appearance and can easily be grown in most places as it requires very little maintenance.

Liriope muscari

Photograph by Leonora (Ellie) Enking; Creative Commons.

It is also a great plant to use for areas that suffer from soil erosion.

This plant is a member of the Lirope Plant genus. These are generally known as Lilyturf or Monkey grass, and are typically low growing and grass-like in nature.

As they are evergreens they are often used in gardens as a landscaping plant that can provide year long groundcover.

Big Blue Lilyturf

Photograph by Manuel m. v.; CC.

Liriope muscari is a native of East and, some parts of, South-East Asia and can reach an height of about 18 inches (45 cm).

It grows in clumps and carries dark green strap-like leaves; these are glossy and about 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) wide.

The Lilyturf has compact clumps that slowly expand in spread to about one foot (30 cm). Erect spikes will form and these will bloom with violet coloured flowers towards the end of summer.

One of the reasons that make this a great plant to grow as groundcover is its tolerance to a large array of tough environmental conditions.

It is able to tolerate drought, high humidity, pollution, shade, and soil erosion, and is not usually severely damaged by deer or rabbits.

I recommend this page by Rutgers NJ Agricultural Experiment Station for more information on the best deer tolerant plants to grow in the garden.

Liriope muscari Cultivars

There are two main cultivars 'Big Blue' and 'Variegata'.

The first is a slightly taller version of the wild type plant (up to 2 feet (60 cm) with violet flowers.

The second has colourful variegated leaves; these are not as dark a green as the wild-type and have cream coloured edge margins.

Other cultivars include 'Christmas tree' (green leaves, lilac flowers) and 'Lilac Beauty' (lilac flowers); the difference between these two cultivars and normal plants seems to be minimal.

Liriope muscari Video growing Guide

Liriope muscari Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Liriope muscari
  • Common Name (s): Big Blue Lilyturf, Lily turf, and Monkey grass, Spider Grass
  • Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): 5 to 10 / H5

Plant Details

  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Evergreen perennial. Turf-like growth habit.
  • Plant Height: 1 to 1 1/2 feet (30 to 45 cm)
  • Plant Spread: 3/4 to 1 foot (22 to 30 cm)
  • Blooms: Late Summer and early Autumn.
  • Flower Details: Showy. Dense Racemes, Dense Spikes carry spiral whorls of small flowers. Violet, purple. Similar to Grape Hyacinth flowers.
  • Leaf Foliages: Strapped. Dark green. Glossy. Cream edged cultivar available.
  • Fruit: Black, Berry.

Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full sunlight to Partial shade; Can also grow in heavy shade but growth and spreading will be slow and the leaves not as showy.
  • Suitable Soil Types: Well drained. Fairly fertile soils for best results. Grows fine in average soils.
  • Suitable Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral for best results: 6.0 to 7.0
  • Soil Soil Moisture: Medium. Once established can tolerate drought conditions.
  • Sowing, planting, and Propagation:
    Propagation: Divide clumps at the roots by hand from late autumn to early spring.
    Sow: Difficult. Ensure seeds are free of any fruit pulp as it contains phenolic growth inhibitors. Stratify in warm water for one day. Sow into seed-starting tray containing a sterile potting mix. Sow at a spacing of 1 inch (2.5 cm), lightly cover with grit to about 1/4 inch (6 mm) deep. Mist the soil tray and put lid on the seed-starting tray. Germinate at about 70 to 75°F (21 to 24°C).
  • Care: Cut leaves back to the ground using a mower at the start of spring. Provide shelter from cold winds in cooler areas.

Further Information