Liriope (Leh-RYE-oh-pee) plants, or Lily-turf, are attractive perennial groundcovers. Their grasslike foliage stays green through the winter, then renews itself every spring. Liriope grows in clumps and spreads quickly, bearing flowers in the late summer. These versatile plants have many uses in the landscape and are virtually care-free. There are two species of liriope, Creeping Lily-turf (Liriope spicata) which spreads by underground runners and Blue Lily-turf (Liriope muscari) which grows from tubers. While creeping lily-turf is useful and even substitutes for lawn in some regions, Blue lily-turf is the more ornamental of the two.
Size: The arching blades of Blue lily-turf foliage form clumps as tall as 2 feet. A typical, well-established clump will measure 10 to 15 inches across.
Foliage: Blue lily-turf is evergreen. The leaves are grass-like blades, 1/4 to 3/4-inch wide and 10 to 15 inches long. The variety `Variegata' boasts handsome green foliage edged in yellow. Blue lily-turf foliage is best suited for warm regions. Although evergreen, leaves may turn partially brown during northern winters.
Flowers & Fruit: The flowers of Blue lily-turf bloom in clusters on spikes 6 to 8 inches long, in late August or September. They may be Blue, violet, or white. In younger plants the flowers are easily visible above the leaves, but as the plants age they tend to hide the flowers. Fruits are sparse, shiny black berries.
Some good varieties of Blue lily-turf include: `Christmas Tree,' with unevenly branched, lilac colored flowers; `Majestic,' with violet-Blue flowers; and `Monroe White,' with white flowers. `Variegata' features the cream and green striped foliage and lavender flowers.