Liriope Spicata Hardiness in Zone 4

Asked July 18, 2018, 12:46 PM EDT

Greetings All
I would like to plant liriope spicata in my yard instead of grass. I recently bought my home on Higgins Lake (near Roscommon MI) which is in zone 4.
I had a very good experience with liriope in West MI (zone 6) as a ground cover. According to what I have read, liriope spicata is hardy to zone 4.
Because I am planning to plant several hundred square feet of liriope, I need to know if the plant is likely to survive northern MI winters. If so, do you have any tips to improve the chances that the plants will survive? Would it be best to plant in the spring?
Thank you.

Roscommon County Michigan

1 Response

Liriope spicata is rated as hardy in Zone 4 (to -30F). Start with a soil test to see if there are nutrients needed or the soil pH needs to be adjusted before plants are installed. You can buy a soil test self-mailer from Michigan State University Extension for $25 at the MSU Soil Test website.

Liriope spicata grows well in part sun to full shade and is adaptable to a variety of soils as long as they are are not saturated. Water deeply once or twice weekly when newly planted to help the roots grow properly. After establishment (about 3 months or so) Liriope is drought tolerant. However, It is especially useful for holding a slope. Be sure to keep it watered in extreme heat, especially in the first summer. Fertilize with a slow release, balanced fertilizer in spring for optimal growth. For a cleaner look, prune back your Liriope to about 2 inches prior to new spring growth. Liriope rarely has issues with pests. Disease is also rare unless this grass is grown in wet conditions. Liriope is deer, rabbit, pollution, and salt tolerant.

If the area you plan to plant with Liriope is low, the winter temperatures may go below the hardiness level. Another problem with Liriope spicata is its slow growth and establishment rates. You may end up doing a lot of weeding between the plants before you get a fully-covered area. Spring planting would be preferable as the new plants would have an entire to get established prior to winter.