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I know that liriope is evergreen in Savannah where I used to live, but is it evergreen in Northern Virginia. I'm playing with the idea of using it as ground cover for under some trees in the front of the house. There is enough shade that grass is struggling. There are also some shallow roots.
I'm thinking of the type with white flowers. I figuire I can put it in in a couple of weeks - if it is evergreen.
Do you know what type of liriope you have. I was surprised to find that there are so many varieties. There seem to be two types that have white flower, which I prefer. Unfortunately, the one that I really like only does well in shade. I am concercerned that there will not be enough shade since these are deciduous trees. The only white one looks okay, but just not as nice.
The purpule flower type are probably more popular.
Also, do you need to cut your liriope in the spring?
I have few Liriope plants (Liriope muscari 'Big Blue') and I can count on them to stay green and reasonably attractive during the winter. They start looking a bit ratty by the end of the winter and heavy snow might mat them down some. I cut them back to the ground in early spring or late winter (I can't remember when...pretty soon I guess). They have a bunch of plantings outside the office where I work, and I have seen them cutting them back with a string trimmer...I just use scissors.
BTW, I read a lot of "don't plant Liriope..it spreads way too fast" type of posts. Mine have been in for 3 years and they have probably doubled in size. Are some varieties more aggressive than others or are mine ready to spring on me this year?
Brent, I don't know the differences in the various types of liriope. However, like any good groundcover, your liriope is working to cover as much ground as possible. I believe the key to any ground cover is to give it border. If it isn't fenced in, it will run wild. I had a similar situation with vinca in a previous house. Vinca was all over the place. I'm sure that it was orginally supposed to be in one small area.
Bamboo is famous for this. It is beautiful, but it has to be kept in bounds or it will be all over your yard - and your neighbor's yard!
groundcovers can be funny. Some vinca and wintercreeper that I have edged by lawn, have stopped there. Maybe the grass competition tells it to stop. I believe liriope has bunching and spreading types. Mine seems to spread but not leap like a vinca can. My Liriope is basically evergreen altho you have to either trim at the time forsuthia blooms or avert your eyes for a few weeks while the old stuff gets kind of brown, before the new leaves come out.
Brent, my feeling on that is there are a lot of people who either live in zones where everything is invasive or that unfairly label every plant that will eventually spread a bit as invasive. Like anything you plant won't eventually spread or that if you grow perennials you shouldn't expect to have to divide them every few years.
I hvae three liriope plants I planted 10 years ago and they are about double what they were when I planted them.
I don't think liriope is invasive in our area. Like Brent, I cut mine in late winter because the leaves get tired and ratty looking. I have Liriope muscari 'Variegata' growing in a small area between my garage and front walkway. These pictures should give you and idea of the growth rate over 12 months:
My liriope spicata borders a walkway to my back door. It was planted in '94 and has maybe tripled in size, so I don't think of it as invasive in any way. Since I began to weed-wack it in the late spring, it comes back much nicer...fuller, greener. This plant is easily divisible for sharing.
This variegated one does not 'run' , but the clumps get fatter. I believe I will have plenty by next Swap. I divided it last year by shoving a spade right down into it and prying a hunk off and moving that. Then put dirt or compost hole left by the original. (Another MAG described this for dividing perennials- thanks )
The green (creeping) liriope that I have been removing, is creeping into cracks in a rock border and hiding all the rocks. I think it's great for shade and root competition, for something green that looks presentable almost all year, can even fill an area instead of mulch.
I would try to plant them anyway.The suns angle and distance from earth are greater in the winter. As far as invasive, it depends on your deffinition of invasive. yes a boarder will keep it in check as will thinning from time to time. Here in Oklahoma it will creep out into the grass but its mowed weekly and adapts to the height. So is it invasive? if you are a keep everything inbetween the lines..yes if you can tolerate a few spots where the grass looks a bit different then no.
Just my opinion.
Dave Tulsa, OK zone 6b
Hey Penne -- It was great to meet you today! I agree with what Brent (and everyone else) said. My liriope stays green, but looks ratty by spring. The recommended protocol is to cut it to the ground in early spring to get rid of the tired leaves. If you wait too late to cut it back, you'll cut the tips off the new growth and it will never look quite right. My liriope is incredibly indestructible and tough, but isn't what I would call invasive. It does gradually expand especially if the soil is high quality, but it is easy enough to divide.
If you want so, let me know. I have plenty. But I haven't seen the white-flowered variety you mention.
What is the name of the white cultivar you favor? I have lots of shade . . .
My 'Munroe's White' liriope is evergreen in Alex., Va. After it is 2-3 years old (to allow for optimum strength and maturity), it needs to be cut down to the ground every March (before the new growth starts). Otherwise, it gets a little tattered and discolored if you don't prune it down.
I realize that I am super late to this party, but I feel the need to mention that liriope spicata is a problematic groundcover here, imo. We have someone in the neighborhood who has planted Liriope spicata as a lawn replacement. I have been watching it spread across the road from where he planted it and it is now spreading there on public land.
I grow liriope muscari, which is the clumping form mentioned above. Liriope muscari (clumping, not spreading) is well behaved and easily managed, unlike spicata. It is evergreen and cutting it to the ground in late Winter will rejuvenate it for the new season.
I think I have a thread (more of a vent than anything else) on the Invasives forum regarding l. spicata.
Also, it seems to be a nightmare to remove/kill. My next door neighbor grew it years ago, but he has been trying to remove it for a long time. He has tried Roundup and other chemicals to no avail. Digging it up by the roots is the only thing that works, but unless you get it all, it will spring back up. There are spots in my yard where previous owners had been growing spicata and I cannot get rid of it. I need to go dig it up ... AGAIN.
Thanks for the rant. It is so useful to learn these things -- I have several plants I put in that I thought were pretty, only to learn they are dreadful invasives. All education on that front is appreciated.
Wish I'd seen this sooner, I thinned my muscari clumps this year and ended up composting about 2 sq. ft. of it -- I could have offered it up to anyone in the market.
Thanks, Happy. I've done the same. I've planted nandina, sweet autumn clematis, burning bush, and buddleia only to find out later that they are invasive. I'm sure that I must have other naughty plants as well. I do try to deadhead to prevent spreading of seeds/berries, but I may end up torching them one day. =)
Good information about liriope. I must have the clumping variety, because I planted it about 8 years ago, and it has not spread terribly. It has "spawned" a few baby plants that I transplanted. I'm glad to know how to thin the original plants - thanks, sallyg. I haven't done anything to it in the past, but it did start looking a little yellowish this year. I'll try thinning this fall and see how it does next spring.