Liriope Muscari

Teena Crawford is co-host of radio program ‘Smart Gardening’ on Melbourne’s 3AW. Two years ago she planted her front yard with Liriope muscari as a lawn substitute. On the day Burke’s Backyard visited, Teena’s ‘lawn’ was in full flower, and looked so spectacular that passers-by were stopping to admire it.

Plant details

Common name: Lily turf Botanic name: Liriope muscari

Description:

An evergreen perennial to about 60cm (24″) tall, and 45cm (18″) wide. It has strappy, green leaves and erect stems of bell-shaped, purple flowers.

The genera Liriope and Ophiopogon are closely related and there is some confusion over their botanic names, particularly since some have been renamed recently but are still being sold under their old names. They are both commonly referred to as mondo grass or lily turf.

Varieties mentioned in our segment

‘Monroe White’

- creamy white flowers (also sold as ‘Monroe’s White’)

‘Royal Purple’
- deep purple flowers

‘Samantha’
- pink flowers

Best climate:
Liriope muscari grows in all areas of Australia except for the tropics.

Uses:

groundcover
borders and edging
lawn substitute
shade gardens
pots

Good points:

evergreen foliage
attractive flowers
long flowering
low maintenance
hardy
drought tolerant
easy to grow

Downside:

Needs protection from snails.

Care:

Liriopes like well-drained soil and a position in full sun or part shade.
In late winter cut back ragged leaves, allowing new leaves to grow in spring.
Lift and divide old clumps when dormant in late winter.
Protect from snails.
Teena suggests planting liriope 40cm (16″) apart if you want to try growing it as a lawn substitute.

Getting started:

Liriope muscari is available at nurseries and garden centres. Expect to pay from $10 for 140mm (6″) pots, and from $18 for 200mm (8″) pots.

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