Liriope: magician or villain ?

Asked April 23, 2018, 8:32 AM EDT

We are trying to find plants that are very good for a bad erosion problems and also for protecting from forest fires. Someone suggested Liriope but it seems it may be considered too aggressive in Maryland. Are there any good uses such as having it mowed in an area as a lawn plant a few times a year? Are some kinds of Liriope banned or on their way to being banned in the Great State of Maryland or on their way to being banned or recommended to avoid ?. How toxic are these berry-fruits to humans? Do birds or other animals eat the berries and spread the plant. I imagine the worse would be it would kill the bird and a new plant would grow where it falls. I do not want to make more problems than we solve. **************************************************

Carroll County Maryland

1 Response

Liriope would be fine for erosion, though it does not have a very deep root system and could not handle large volumes of water.
The summer leaves die back each winter and new leaves emerge each spring. The old leaves dry up and would be fairly flammable in early summer perhaps. By late summer they will probably have decomposed enough to not be a big fire issue. (We do not find that the berries are toxic.)

Liriope is considered somewhat invasive in Maryland (it appears on some lists in our region.)

There are two species of liriope. One is "creeping" liriope (Liriope spicata) , and that one is aggressive and a becomes a nuisance in many landscapes. The other kind forms clumps (Liriope muscari). Buy the clumping kind if you decide to use it..

No, you cannot mow liriope like a lawn, though you can mow it at the end of winter to get rid of the dead leaves. If you want to mow a grass-like groundcover a few times a season, you might like hard fescue.