Lilyturf (scientific name: Liriope) is a type of low-lying flowering plant from East Asia (source). It’s relatively easy to care for, though you may wonder how often to water it. After all, water is the lifeblood of any plant.
In general, lilyturf does not require frequent watering. It can withstand drier soil conditions better than most other groundcovers. However, watering it about once a week during droughts can help to ensure healthy growth.
If you want to grow lilyturf instead of regular grass in your garden, you want to know — among other things — the plant’s watering requirements. You’ll also want to know what happens to lilyturf when it doesn’t receive the amount of water it needs, as well as the optimal conditions lilyturf thrives in.
Signs That Your Lilyturf Needs Watering
While lilyturf is relatively resistant to drought, that doesn’t mean it can escape extreme dryness unscathed. (Actually, that goes for any plant — even cacti, arguably the most well-known plants that can thrive under dry conditions, need a little bit of moisture.)
Some of the signs that your lilyturf isn’t getting enough water are:
Wilting or Drooping
When lilyturf doesn’t receive enough water, it tends to droop or wilt. That’s because the lack of water causes the plant’s cells to dehydrate, making the plant collapse and keeping them from staying erect. If your lilyturf looks “sad,” that’s a sure sign you need to water it more.
When your lilyturf changes into a different color, that’s another likely sign it isn’t receiving enough water. To understand why that is, I need to briefly explain how water supply impacts the process of photosynthesis in a plant.
As you know, photosynthesis is a complex process wherein plants convert light energy (i.e., sunlight) into nutrients (source). (Of course, the process is more nuanced than that, but for our purposes, I will skip right into the nutrients part.)
Now, water contains two molecules of hydrogen. When you give your lilyturf enough water, the plant uses the hydrogen from water and combines it with the carbon dioxide from its surroundings to create the sugar it needs to survive. (source)
This process is aided by chlorophyll, the pigments that give plants their green color and are directly responsible for photosynthesis. (source)
If there isn’t enough water, your lilyturf won’t be able to create enough nutrients for itself. The chlorophyll, in turn, won’t be able to do its job properly, causing your plants to discolor.
Decrease in the Growth Rate of the Plant
Another consequence of inadequate water supply is a decrease in the plant’s growth rate. I’ve already briefly explained what photosynthesis is earlier and how the lack of water disrupts the process.
Essentially, if there isn’t enough water, the plant won’t be able to process nutrients, causing its growth to slow down.
Optimal Conditions for Growing LilyTurf
I’ve already established what happens when lilyturf doesn’t get enough water. So how much water should you give it, and what other things should you keep in mind to ensure your lilyturf grows healthily? Here are my tips for you.
- Make sure it receives moderate sunlight. These plants do best when they get about two to six hours of direct sunlight. Otherwise, you’ll want to put it in partial shade, especially during the wet seasons when it runs a higher risk of getting waterlogged.
- Regularly water them once they’re potted and during dry spells. When a newly potted lilyturf is watered, its root system becomes more robust, allowing it to absorb more nutrients.
- Make sure the drainage systems are sound. While you don’t want to underwater your plant, you don’t want to overwater it either. Therefore, make sure it has a good drainage system. For example, you can buy the kinds of pots that drain well, like the AVELEKA Self Watering Planter (link to Amazon). As its name suggests, it will save you the headache of figuring out just how much water to give your plant.
- Make sure the soil has adequate moisture. It’s not always easy to tell whether you’re under- or overwatering your plant, especially if you’re new to gardening. In that case, you may need a moisture meter like the XLUX Soil Moisture Meter (link to Amazon). All you have to do is stick it near your plant (but be careful not to hit the roots!), and get a fairly accurate reading of the moisture content in your lilyturf’s soil.
- Plant lilyturf in spring or early autumn. The dry weather in summer can cause the plant to dry out. On the other hand, during winter, the water in the soil can turn into frost. This waterlogs the roots, causing potentially fatal issues like root rot. (Trust me: Once your plant suffers from root rot, it’ll be very difficult to salvage it.)
- Mulch the soil with compost or manure. Over time, the soil your plant grows in loses nutrients. As such, you need to mulch the soil with compost or manure to replenish the soil’s nutrient reserves and promote better plant growth. You can make this mulch yourself, or you can purchase ready-made ones online.
- Prune your plants. No matter how well you care for your plant, it will suffer some damage in some form or other. Therefore, it’s important to prune away any diseased parts of your lilyturf regularly to keep them from spreading to the rest of your plant.
Types of Lilyturf
Lilyturf isn’t a single species of plant. If you search online, you’ll find a couple of species: L. muscari and L. spicata. L. muscari is a more colorful variety, while the way L. spicata grows makes it better suited as a groundcover than L. muscari.
Therefore, if you’re going for aesthetics, pick L. muscari. But if you’re looking to keep weeds from spreading in your garden, L. spicata might be a better choice.
Though the Liriope can withstand dry soil conditions, it does need to be watered now and then. Watering your lilyturf about once a week is considered optimal. It’s also important to keep the other tips that we’ve outlined in mind to ensure that your lilyturf grows strong and healthy.