How to Grow Liriope Big Blue
By Anna Graizbord
, last updated February 1, 2012
Liriope big blue (sometimes called monkey grass or lilyturf), a perennial primarily used as a groundcover, is known for its versatility, low-maintenance, and remarkable vitality in a variety areas. Typically, it is used in banks, slopes, to line paths, driveways or to fill gaps in between trees and shrubs, and makes a great underplant for ferns and other shade plants. In the late summer, liriope big blue blooms small lavender flowers and black berries, which can persist into winter.
Growing Liriope Big Blue
Liriope big blue, tuberous-rooted and grass-like, grows in clumps about 12 to 18 inches in diameter. Generally, this plant is hard to reproduce straight from the seed, though stratified seeds can be started indoors or in a heated greenhouse when outdoor conditions are not suitable. They may also be sown outdoors after the threat of frost has passed.
- Liriope big blue can thrive in almost any type of sun exposure, heat or drought, and can even tolerate salt spray. For best results in flowering, however, full sunlight is best.
- Plant in well-drained moist, loamy soil with lime and leaf mold.
General Maintenance & Tips for Liriope Big Blue
- With the lawnmower at the highest possible cutting height, mow off the foliage during late winter (January to mid-February) before growth starts in the spring. Take care not to damage the crown of the plant.
- Needs only occasional watering in the worst dry spells and little, if any, fertilizer.
- Big blue creeps up growing slowly and not invasively like some other Liriope types.
- Liriope big blue isn’t particularly vulnerable to many insects or diseases, though root rot can happen as it doesn’t tolerate “wet feet.” Fungus and scale insects can be a problem sometimes, both causing reddish spots in the leaves usually during the late summer. Otherwise, watch out for slugs and snails.
- Their foliage is evergreen in the deep South.
- In addition to being hardy against weather, soil, and sun conditions, liriope big blue can withstand heavy foot traffic, smog, and is considered to be rabbit resistant.
- Liriope big blue species and cultivars include: Silvery Sunproof (striped white and yellow leaves, withstands sun better than most), Majestic (dark foliage, strong grower that can reach up to 18 inches tall), Monroe's White (white flowers in large clusters, does better in shade), John Burch (creamy yellow edging on leaf blade), Christmas Tree (light lavender flower spikes in the form of a Christmas tree, prefers shade), Evergreen Giant (stiff-textured leaf blades and white flower spikes), Gold Band (wide leaf blades with a gold edge), Samantha (green leafed cultivar with pink flower spikes), and the Webster Wideleaf (widest leaf of any cultivar).