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Is This Overused Plant Making a Comeback?

Updated: Jul 25

variegated liriope perennial
Variegated Liriope is a tough perennial, but is overused.

Believe it or not, most universities spend very little time teaching landscape architectural students about ornamental plants. I had one course in planting design. Landscape architects are expected to learn about the trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses, and ground covers we use daily on our own. Most LA programs focus on design and construction, but at the same time, the public expects us to be plant experts. One of the first things I learned as a newbie LA is that I needed to learn a great deal about 500 or so plants and that I should never specify a plant that I didn't know its characteristics in depth. After the University of Texas at Arlington first turned me loose on the world, this plant was one of a dozen perennials in my plant palette. So variegated Liriope was a go-to for me early in my career. I'm guessing that tens of thousands were planted in my name. Why not? They're semi-evergreen, have gorgeous flowers, and are bullet-proof. Once I wasn't a poor college student and started traveling, I started noticing Variegated Liriope everywhere. Added up acres and acres of the stuff. In Georgia, I think there's a law that requires it or a non-variegated variety to be planted at the base of every tree (just kidding). I'm 33 years into my career now, and I haven't specified any Liriope in at least 28 years. That said, in the last ten years or so, there have been so many plants that have gone on to invasive species lists and are now prohibited. So, variegated and 'Big Blue' Liriope may be making a comeback. Probably not, it still a gas station plant.

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