When to cut liriope?

Information On Pruning And Cutting Monkey Grass

Monkey grass (Liriope spicata) is a grass that is quite common in areas that are hilly or uneven because they fill in the area quite nicely. It comes in thick and is quite easy to grow.

A lot of people are not sure about what to do about pruning monkey grass or cutting monkey grass. They ask themselves, “How low should I cut back my monkey grass,” or “may I mow it, or do I need to trim with clippers?” When you worry about how well you take care of your yard or land, you might be worried, but there is nothing to worry about.

What is Monkey Grass?

Monkey grass is a member of the lily family. What makes turfs from the lily family so desirable a landscape material is that they are quite versatile and can handle many different environmental conditions.

Monkey grass can handle

hot conditions better than a lot of shrubs and ground covers can. They are especially easy to grow and maintain on steep slopes where it is hard to maintain any sort of grass.

Tips for Trimming Back Monkey Grass

If you are wondering when to cut back monkey grass or can you mow monkey grass, you are not alone. A lot of people don’t know what to do with it. Pruning monkey grass or trimming back monkey grass isn’t too complicated. It will start to grow by mid-spring.

If you want to know when to cut back monkey grass, you can cut the plants back to 3 inches early spring. Pruning monkey grass helps take out the battered leaves and permits new leaves to come in and flourish. Cutting monkey grass with a lawnmower or trimmer is great for larger areas of the grass, but trimmers work just as well on pruning monkey grass where it is growing in a smaller area.

After trimming back monkey grass, you can fertilize and feed the area. Be sure to include weed control as well. If you have just finished trimming back monkey grass, make sure to mulch the area with straw, bark or compost. This way it will be ready for a new season of growing.

If you are wondering, “How low should I cut back my monkey grass,” you now know you can cut it as if you used a mower, or use a mower for cutting monkey grass so you can get it read for the growing season. This way it will be healthy and fill in nicely.

Gardening: Winter is best time to trim liriope

By Pat Lea

Q: The monkey grass lining the walk at my new house looks really bad. Can I spruce it up? Fertilize? Thin it out?

A: Monkey grass, usually a cultivar of Liriope muscari, is a very handy edging plant. The muscari, or clumping, varieties will grow slowly and make an excellent border plant for beds and walks. Liriope spicata, often called spreading lilyturf, will grow outward from the center and spread over a wide area. The creeping forms are more often used as a groundcover. Your border plant is remarkably resilient, but it does require some care to be in top shape. The plant grows strong, green, new foliage every spring. You are no doubt looking at several years’ worth of worn foliage. Winter weather can damage the old foliage, so that after several years it becomes weather-beaten and miserable-looking. The roots however, are usually fine. Liriope is a very sturdy plant. The best time to trim liriope is winter. Now is a good time, and any time up until about mid-March will work. As soon as the plant starts to grow, any trimming will cut the new tips and the plant will be disfigured for the rest of the year. You will have to get out your lawnmower and set the blades very high, or use a sharp hedge trimmer to trim all the dead and worn foliage off this winter. A string-style weed trimmer is not recommended for trimming liriope because it can shred the growing shafts of the plant. If you must use one, don’t grind the stems down, and try not to shred the foliage. A clean cut looks best and is better for the health of the plant. Strong plants don’t need fertilization. Liriope transplants well, but it is an energetic project to dig it up, cut and replant it. Trim up your liriope now, and see how it looks in spring. Then decide if you need to thin or adjust the planting.

E-mail Pat Lea at [email protected]

This post and photos may contain Amazon or other affiliate links. If you purchase something through any link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Any supplies used may be given to me free of charge, however, all projects and opinions are my own.


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Variegated Lilyturf perennials – also known as Liriope Muscari – have earned my respect for their easy care, being practically maintenance free! I think every garden needs to have some carefree plants like these! Here’s how to easily prune them in the Spring . . .

Last Fall, just after Labor Day, we embarked on a professional landscape transformation of our front yard.

Have I shared the pictures and amazing story here yet? No. I am so bad, and promise to get my butt in gear to finish up editing the pictures. (The problem is that I took SO many, and you don’t need to see 65 pictures of dirt piles, even though they fascinated me!)

In our main bed in the front yard is where you’ll find 7 Variegated Lilyturf plants, also known as Liriope Muscari.

These plants have earned my respect for their easy care, and for how hard they work at staying maintenance free! I think every garden needs to have some carefree plants like Variegated Lilyturf!

The Lilyturf was planted in mid-September, and just a month later, they had grown like crazy in the new, fertile dirt and mulch!

Here’s a better shot, although it’s in the shade . . .

Variegated Lilyturf also known “Liriope Muscari”

  • Use as a clumpy groundcover or as border edging
  • Blooms in late Summer with purple-lilac-blue (my best description) flowers
  • Flowers resemble grape hyacinths
  • Evergreen – keeps its color year-round
  • Perennial in USDA Zones 5 – 11 (Your own growing conditions may vary.)
  • Partial sun, and easily adaptable to shade or full sun once established
  • Deer resistant

Our Variegated Lilyturf plants kept their color during the Winter months, but after a few snowstorms coupled with below-freezing temperatures, they looked a bit ragged:

And that’s where the basic – and minimal – care comes in:

Every Spring, before the new growth begins, simply prune them down to within a few inches of the ground.

I pruned our Liriope (what I personally call them) on April 21st:

Here’s how the plants looked two weeks later on May 5th:

Here’s how the plants looked on May 13th:

And here’s how the Liriope looked on May 18th, almost a month after being pruned:

Yes, that’s how easy it is to look after your Lilyturf plants!

Optional pruning: In the Fall, after the blooms are finished, I’ll cut those off at the base of each stem. If the leaves are looking a bit too long, I’ll snip off a couple of inches at the most from the ends. Then I have nice green color during the Winter months!

Happy gardening!

Should Evergreen Giant Liriope Be Cut Back In Spring?

Answer #1 · Maple Tree’s Answer · Hi Robin-If your liriope are getting quite large or ragged looking you can prune them back in late winter or early spring. You want to do this before any new growth starts appearing from the bottom of the plant. Pruning this plant also helps to rejuvenate older plants keeping them healthier. Any disease or insect problems are also helped by getting rid of a lot of the old foliage. Cutting the foliage back to 3 or 4 inches is best. You don’t want to go any lower when pruning it back as scalping too low can injure any of the plants new growth buds that may be starting. After pruning your plants they will look somewhat unattractive but new growth will fill in fairly quickly with the liriope. I found using a hedge trimmer works well. You can also use a weedwacker, string trimmer, but this sometimes doesn’t make a nice cut through the leaves and it can really throw the cuttings making more of a mess than need be. My neighbor doesn’t appreciate the leaves flying over the fence either. If your plants are looking nice and green and not to large for your liking you may not want to cut them back this year. You may want to just cut out any dead or unattractive leaves along with any old flower stems. If this is the case you can also use a small rake and lightly rake through the plant removing any old or dead growth along with any possible leaves from other plants that may have fallen into your plants.
Hopefully this has helped. Please ask if you have any other questions.

Garden Q&A: It’s not necessary to cut back liriope

I see my neighbor cut back his liriope every spring. Is this necessary?

It is not necessary, but homeowners and landscapers often trim liriope just prior to spring to remove old-looking and tattered foliage.

Time the pruning before new growth has started to emerge in the spring. The trimmed foliage is usually a good candidate for your compost.

Do azalea flowers change color from when they are young to when they mature? I think some of mine have done this.

Some people think that the change in flower color is due to a change in the soil pH, but it is not the cause of the color change in azaleas.

Azaleas do occasionally sprout a “sport,” a branch having different flower color from the parent shrub. Sometimes the sport’s flowers are an improvement; sometimes they are plain-looking and not worth keeping.

Astute gardeners look for interesting sports and propagate them. Such is true of the popular George L. Taber azalea, propagated by Harold Hume. It is a sport of the reddish-pink flowered Omurasaki azalea. Hume, while working at a Glen St. Mary nursery, spotted the light pink flower with its dark pink blotch and named it for his employer.

I have some hostas that need to be divided. How and when do I go about dividing them?

When dividing hostas, the entire plant can be dug up, and as much of the soil as possible shaken or washed off the roots with a sharp spray from a hose. With the roots exposed it is easier to determine each individual plant. The clump may be twisted, tugged, pulled or forked apart, separating the individual plants.

If the plant is a tightly congested mass, a sharp knife may be needed to cut each crown apart. The crown is the portion of the plant where the leaves join the roots, and there may be many on a large clump.

Each crown will result in one plant. If larger clumps are desired, then several crowns may be left together.

It may not always be necessary to dig the entire clump from the ground. If only one additional plant is desired, then the soil can be dug from one side of an existing plant, and a clump of the desired size can be cut off with a sharp knife.

Though spring division is easiest, summer division is preferred and can be done in August. The important thing to remember is after replanting to supply enough moisture to keep the plant actively growing.

Dividing in early spring before leaves emerge is a good time to divide as there will not be mature foliage that can be damaged.

If dividing in spring, the plant may take the rest of the season to recover from the shock.

If dividing in late summer/early fall, damage still may occur to mature foliage, but the plant will have time to reestablish before winter sets in and will emerge as though undisturbed in the spring.

Also if dividing after the foliage matures, existing leaves may flop over and wilt, but new leaves will emerge from the crown. If leaves flop over, just cut off the old ones, which will make the plant look better.

Tom Bruton is a master gardener with the Duval County Extension Service and the University of Florida/IFAS.

A question for Dan Gill: My husband wants to cut back our liriope now, and I was wondering if this is a good idea. It looks fine, but he feels it will make it more vigorous. What do you think? — Janice Sanderson

Answer: Virtually all of the plants we use as ground covers are evergreen. As time goes by, however, unattractive old foliage will often accumulate among the healthy leaves, and the planting needs a good shearing to rejuvenate it and improve its appearance.

This also is useful for removing any cold damage that might have occurred during the winter and controlling the height of vining ground covers, such as Asian jasmine and English ivy.

For several popular ground covers, such as liriope and monkey grass, it’s important that this be done now before new growth begins. Use garden scissors, hedge shearers, string trimmers or even your lawnmower adjusted to its highest setting (make sure the blades are sharp and push the mower through the planting slowly).

Clipping back every two to three years generally is adequate, so if your liriope looks fine this year, you may leave it alone.

For readers with other ground covers, Asian jasmine generally requires cutting back at least once a year. Ground covers that are good candidates for trimming now include monkey grass, creeping lily turf, English ivy, liriope, Asian jasmine, Japanese ardisia, cedar fern, wood fern and dwarf bamboo. Use hand pruners to selectively prune unattractive leaves from plants, such as aspidistra, autumn fern and holly fern.

Dan Gill is a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter. Email questions to [email protected] or add them to the comment section below. Follow his stories at www.nola.com/homegarden, on Facebook and @nolahomegardenon Instagram.

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