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Liripope muscari - lilyturf Grass

The first thing to say about Liriope muscari, is that it is not a true grass. However, many writers - and nurseries - put it in the ornamental grass section, so we will do the same. Liriope is related to another non-grass - Ophiopogon Black Dragon and for the sake of clarification, both are related to the Lily of the Valley (Convalaria).

As a 'grass' Liriope is totally out of place, for it has bright blue tiny bell flowers. Nonetheless, it is a very useful low growing plant - evergreen at that - and flowers in late autumn and through to the winter.

It forms a dense tuft or clump and has underground rhizomes that help it to spread and form drifts - albeit slowly. It requires a shady position - preferably damp, so is well suited to growing in woodland or in the shade of shrubs in the shrub border.

Liriope muscari - classed as a grass - but it is not a real grass!The foliage is grass-like, but the flowers are not. Neither do they have the autumn seedheads that true grasses are generally noted for. The flowers give the plant its specific name of L. muscari - for they are similar to the spring-flowering bulbs - Muscari.

Liriope is a fully hardy perennial and should last for many years. It is low growing with the foliage rarely reaching more than 12in, and the flowers rarely barely top the foliage.

 It is not suitable for the front of herbaceous borders - unless it can be guaranteed shade - and moisture.



 

It can be planted in a stone container on the patio - if it can be found a dark corner. Having the autumn and winter flowers make it a good choice for patio planting when most other plants have died down.

Propagation of Liriope muscari

Liriope can be grown from seed  - taken direct from the plant and sown in Spring. A cool spot is necessary, and in particular, the seedlings will require full shade after germination. Best potted into individual pots once germinated and grown in shade before planting out the following spring.

Dividing the plant is an easy option - carried out in late spring. Divisions are best grown for a further year in small pots before planting out the following spring. They should then flower the following autumn/winter.

Problems of Liriope.

as with the other non-grass mentioned earlier, Liriope can be home to slugs in early spring, and snails a little later. Both of which will relish the meal that the slightly lush foliage provides.






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