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Blue lily-turf

Blue lily-turf, cultivar 'Big Blue'

Blue lily-turf is a ground cover with very upright narrow foliage that resembles the foliage of bulbs.  Flower spikes are produced from mid to late summer.  The species can be a bit borderline-hardy in the northern half of zone 5, but some of the cultivars are more reliable in zone 5.

Botanical name:

Liriope muscari

All Common Names:

Blue lily-turf

Family (English):

Lily of the Valley

Family (Botanic):

Ruscaceae

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Ground cover,
  • Perennial

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Container,
  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border

Size Range:

  • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9,
  • Zone 10

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Tolerances:

  • Dry sites,
  • Occasional drought

Season of Interest:

  • Mid summer,
  • Late summer,
  • Early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Blue,
  • Purple,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Arching,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

More Information:

Size and Method of spreading

Blue lily-turf grows 12 to 18 inches high.  It is a colonizing ground cover that spreads slowly by short rhizomes.  Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots. 

Plant Care

While blue lily-turf does best in moist sites, it is also fairly tolerant of dryness once established.  It makes its best growth in shady sites, but is tolerant of full sun.  In Southern climates, the foliage is evergreen, but in the north, foliage often looks ragged after winter and mowing it down in early spring, will encourage new growth.

Disease, pests, and problems

Slugs can be a problem.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Resistant to deer and tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Asia.

Leaf description

The long, thin basal leaves resemble bulb foliage or even turf grass.  Foliage is dark green; evergreen in Southern climates.

Flower description

Small purple flowers are produced on upright stalks from mid to late summer.

Fruit description

Fruits are dark berries; not ornamentally important.

Cultivars and their differences

 Big Blue lily-turf (Liriope muscari 'Big Blue'):   Grows 12 to 18 inches high; flowers are lavendar to blue.  Zone 5.

Majestic lily-turf (Liriope muscari 'Majestic'):  Grows 12 to 15 inches tall; flowers are deep lavendar to violet.  Zone 5.

Monroe's White lily-turf (Liriope muscari 'Monroe's White'):  White flowers.  Zone 5.

Royal Purple lily-turf (Liriope muscari 'Royal Purple'):  Deeper purple flowers. Zone 5.

Silvery Sunproof lily-turf (Liriope muscari 'Silvery Sunproof'):  Green leaves with cream-colored edges.  May need some winter protection in zone 5.

 

Location of Liriope muscari (Blue lily-turf) at the Arboretum