Whether you are planning a new landscape design or looking to make some changes to your existing landscape to make it more beautiful, there are hundreds of plant choices you could find at a local supplier. You may stroll along the rows of trees, shrubs, and perennials examining the cute, little specimens in their pots and looking at the small picture on their tags but it’s truly tough to know if you would be making a good selection or not until you gave it a few years to grow. You may also ask landscapers for some advice. Occasionally we like to share some plant recommendations with you of plants that we love, so today we’d like to highlight a plant we frequently use, Liriope.
Liriope is a small, grass-like perennial that can be planted for use in a variety of ways. Some varieties will have a tendency to spread (Liriope spicataso) it can make a beautiful groundcover that has less disease and insect problems than other common alternatives such as pachysandra, and also not be an aggressive climber like ivy. Other varieties will grow more like an organized clump, and can look great when planted in groupings where there is some separation of the plants.
Liriope will grow to approximately 12″-16″ tall and prefers full sun to partial shade. This low-maintenance plant has moderate needs for water, making it fairly drought-tolerant plant after it establishes after the first year. It is also a plant that deer and rabbits don’t prefer to feed on as well as tolerant of air pollution, which allows it to be used on virtually any property whether a commercial landscaping project to a backyard landscaping design.
We mainly use 3 main types of Liriope. If we are attempting to fill an area with groundcover, whether on a residential site, commercial site, or to plant on a bank, the Liriope spicata variety will fill in very full in these areas. However, if you don’t want an area to spread there are 2 Lilyturf varieties that work great. Big Blue Liriope are a dark green-leaved variety as well as there is a Variegated Liriope that has a cream-to-yellow and green leaf tissue. Both of these varieties grow to the same size and have simliar characteristics except with the differing leaf color. Our landscape designers commonly use these in groupings with taller perennials behind to create layers of color and texture in the design. Liriope also looks great as a bed border or to line a walkway.
This perennial provides multi-season interest. New growth will emerge in mid-spring in a couple weeks. In late summer, Liriope will develop showy flower spikes with tiered whorls of dense, violet-purple flowers that resemble a miniature hyacinth and will remain for a few weeks until blackish berries develop in fall and can persist into winter.
Maintaining Liriope is easy. Each season the old foliage should be removed as it will get damaged by the winter turning it brown and looking unsightly. Some property owners prefer to cut back their Liriope in the late fall so that leaves and other debris do not get caught in the plants. Liriope will retain its color, particularly the Variegated variety throughout part of the winter, especially if weather isn’t that harsh. Some property owners will allow Liriope to remain until early spring and then cut back the old foliage. To remove the foliage, use a sharp cutting tool of some sorts, either a hand-pruner or a sharp hedge shears. Just be sure to not cut the curved tops of any new emerging leaves. Cut to leave approximately 1.5″-2″ of old foliage and the new growth will obscure it when it emerges.This is just one of the many plants that can provide more beauty for a low-maintenance landscaping design on your property. If you’d like to discuss us adding Liriope or any other plants to your property we’d love to talk further with you.