Liriope muscari 'Royal Purple'
Common Name: lily turf
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asparagaceae
Zone: 5 to 10
Height: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Bloom Description: Dark purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Erosion, Air Pollution

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, fertile soils in part shade in the St. Louis area. Tolerates a wide range of light conditions and soils. Will grow in close to full shade, but will produce more elongated foliage and spread more slowly. Also has good tolerance for heat, humidity and drought. Cut foliage to the ground (mow large plots) in early spring. May not be reliably winter hardy in the northern parts of USDA Zone 5 where it should be sited in protected locations.

Noteworthy Characteristics

‘Royal Purple’ is a lily turf cultivar that is most noted for its attractive grass-like foliage and deep purple flowers. It is a stemless, tufted perennial that typically grows to 10-15” tall. It features ribbon-like, arching leaves (each 12-18" long and to 1/2" wide) that recurve to the ground forming a dense clump. Clumps slowly expand to form a carpet of foliage, but plants are not invasive. Dark purple flowers densely packed in erect, showy, terminal flower spikes bloom slightly above the foliage atop upright stems in late summer. Flower spikes are somewhat reminiscent of grape hyacinth (Muscari). Flowers give way in fall to blackish berries that may persist into winter. Foliage is evergreen in warm southern climates, but declines considerably in areas with cold winters such as St. Louis. Genus name comes from Greek mythology in reference to a fountain nymph named Liriope who was the mother of Narcissus. Species name is in reference to the similarity of Liriope to Muscari. Common name of lily turf acknowledges the plant's turf-like growing habit. It is not a grass and was previously place in the lily family but is now placed in the asparagus family. Another common name is border grass.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for slugs and snails. Leaf rot and crown rot may occur.

Garden Uses

Excellent grassy ground cover for shaded areas of the landscape. Best massed as a ground cover or edging plant. Small groups for accent. Rock gardens. Woodland gardens. Containers. Edging for paths or walkways. May be used in some areas as a grass substitute, but it has little tolerance for foot traffic.