Scientific: Liriope muscari
Common: big blue lilyturf, lilyturf, monkey grass
Family: Asparagaceae
Origin: An understory shade plant in the temperate forests of China and Korea.

Pronounciation: Leer-ee-O-pee mus-CAR-i

Hardiness zones
Sunset
2-10, 12-24
USDA 6-11

Landscape Use: In Phoenix, mesic shade landscape border edging along driveways and sidewalks, shade ground cover, indoor atriums with bright natural light, shade turf substitute.

Form & Character: Basally clumping, grass like, tufted, oriental.

Growth Habit: Evergreen herbaceous perennial, slow clumping by rhizomes, 12 inches height with equal to greater spread.

Foliage/texture: Linear, green, grass-like foliage to 6 inches long; fine texture.

Flowers & fruits: Small showy flowers occur on erect spikes with tiered whorls of dense, white to violet-purple flowers rising above the leaves a few inches during late summer. Shade inhibits flowering. Fruits small, black, drupe like.

Seasonal color: Little to none in Phoenix because full shade culture inhibits flowering.

Temperature: Tolerant only so long as it is located in a shaded location.

Light: Partial to full shade in Phoenix is necessary. Out of the 'Valley of the Sun', monkey grass can be cultured in full sun.

Soil: Tolerant....except one is likely to see marginal leaf necrosis caused by the general salinity of Phoenix soils and irrigation water. To culture monkey grass, amend Phoenix landscape soil with hefty amounts of organic matter to counteract the normal buildup of soil salinity.

Watering: Requires regular supplemental water.

Pruning: Little to none, except to shear to the ground in late February to rejuvenate growth. Some landscape "neat freaks" will remove the flower stalks after bloom. Divide clumps every few years.

Propagation: Seed, division of basal clumps is easy.

Disease and pests: None

Additional comments: Big blue lilyturf is of limited use in Phoenix landscapes. It is a landscape subshrub that needs special cultural attention and that "special", shaded site location within a landscape to survive. I reiterate, "It MUST be grown in the shade".

There are many cultivated varieties all of which are of limited use in Phoenix. The cultivar 'Variegata' is a classicly popular monkey grass cultivar that can be cultured in mid- and high-elevation cities of Arizona, but not in the landscapes of Phoenix where it will roast like a Costco chicken. The cultivar 'Big Blue' flowers intensely. Big blue lilyturf or monkey grass is a landscape staple in the southeastern United States as a lawn edging plant.