Silvery Sunproof

'Silvery Sunproof'
Variegated Lily Turf

"Ithin the woodlands, flow'ry gleaded,
By the woak tree's mossy moot,
The sheenen grass-bleades, timber-sheaded,
Now do quiver under voot."

-William Barnes


Summer & autumn flower spikes for Liriope muscari 'Silvery Sunproof' Lily Turf (or Lilyturf, or Monkey Grass) are a blue-purple, quite a bit darker than 'Lilac Beauty.' The flower spikes rise well above the foliage, as shown here in September (2005).

It is called 'Silvery' because of the cream to yellow-striped variegated leaves, which make it a beautiful foliage clump even when not in flower. It is 'Sunproof' because it can be quite sun-hardy so long as soil is kept evenly moist, though it frankly prefers bright shade. The foliage at a foot or a foot & a half height is shorter than the species.

It is not so fussy about soil moistness when in the shade, & is one of the better plants for somewhat dry dappled shade conditions. If too stressed, however, some of its grassy evergreen leaves will turn brown, & can be slow to recover its looks.

Allegedly cold-hardy at minus ten to zero degrees Fahrenheit, from some gardeners' reports 'Silvery Sunproof' seems to be less attractive below Zone 7 suffering a lot more winter damage than do non-variegated varieties. It is strongly evergreen through our mild winters on Puget Sound (Zone 8). But if it does get scruffy by winter's end, or sunburned in summer, it should be sheered to the ground to start afresh.

For gardeners who are attracted to ornamental grasses, lily has pretty much the same appeal plus excellent flowers. In autumn it develops purple-black berries that can last into winter. The flowers or the spikes of berries are long-lasting in bouquets. It's an excellent choice for container gardening, especially if one longs for containers that preserve some winter interest too.

Although very hardy it spreads slowly; cultivars of L. muscari are not invasive in the manner of L. spicita.


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