Among many potential plants a gardener should consider in the garden are ground covers. Groundcovers allow you to fill in areas of the garden for a lush seemless scene. One such groundcover that is very low maintenance is liriope and in this post I'm specifically talking about Liriope muscari 'Variegata'. There are other varieties of liriope that aren't as attractive or can be more aggressive like Liriope spicata (which spreads via runners) but variegated liriope is much more tame. It fills in quickly into clumps and depending on how close you plant it can easily cover wherever you need a groundcover.
When comparing the variegated to the non-variegated versions of Liriope muscari I've noticed that the variegated does much better when placed in shade. The non-variegated seems to do fine anywhere. The plants in these pictures were divisions I made while remodeling a fence garden at my parent's home. More than twenty plants easily came from three large clumps in another location of their yard. All you need to divide liriope is a good sharp shovel and a strong back. I always pull away the loose crowns first by hand then divide the more stubborn pieces more aggressively with the shovel blade. Washing the soil away from the roots can also help to loosen the clumps.
Liriope has also been recommended as a lawn replacement/substitute due to its drought tolerance and low maintenance
Here is a picture of the partially finished garden. It was completed later in the year but this picture shows the liriope in the center of the garden underneath the cherry trees and in front of azaleas and a dappled willow. It flowers in the summer and eventually produces berries. Many people recommend mowing liriope in the spring to encourage fresh new growth, around here that's not usually necessary - the rabbits do that for us!
It seems that some people either love liriope for its utilitarian uses or hate it completely. I think if used the right way it can be an asset in the garden, what do you think?
Labels: ground cover, perennial