How to Grow Liriope Plants

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Lilyturf

Liriope Plants are hardy perennials that reach a height of 30 to 45 cm. The most commonly grown species of this genus in the garden are Liriope muscari, better known as the Big Blue Lilyturf, and the more aggressive growing and faster spreading Liriope spicata (Creeping Lilyturf).

Liriope muscarii
Liriope muscarii by M. Martin Vicente.

These can be identified from their root system, with Big Blue Lilytuf having fibrous roots, and Creeping Lilyturf having a creeping rootstalk (Rhizomous) system.

They have grass like leaves and spiky purple or white flowers that bloom from late summer until early autumn.

Liriope makes a great edging plant and can also be used in borders.

The small height of this deer resistant plant makes it great to grow as a short ground cover. Ideally grow alongside ornamental grasses.

One of the more common names for the Liriope plant is Lily-turf.

Commonly Grown Liriope Species

Liriope muscari

Liriope muscari
Liriope muscari (Big Blue Lilyturf / Border Grass / Lilyturf / Monkey Grass), photograph by Leonora (Ellie) Enking; CC.

Liriope spicata

Liriope spicata
Liriope spicata (Creeping lilyturf / Creeping liriope), picture by Bruce Kirchoff; CC.

Commonly Grown Liriope / Lilyturf Cultivars

Liriope 'Variegata'

Liriope variegata
Liriope muscari 'Variegata' (Liriope variegated) cultivar photograph by F. D. Richards; CC.

Liriope muscari 'Big Blue'

big blue liriope
Liriope muscari 'Big Blue' cultivar photograph by F. D. Richards; CC.

Liriope 'royal purple'

liriope royal purple
Liriope 'royal purple' cultivar photograph by Forest and Kim Starr; CC.

Liriope Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Lilyturf, Monkey grass, or Spider grass.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm).
Native: Asia.
Growing Region: USA: Zones 5 to 10. UK: H5
Flowers: Late summer through autumn.
Flower Details: White, violet. purple. Tiered whorls. Tiny. Spikes. Upright grape-like.
Foliage: Evergreen. Strap-like. Glossy. Dark-green.

Sow Outside: 1/4 inch (6 mm). Start of spring - before the last frost, or towards the end of autumn. Spacing 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: one month. Temperature: 70 to 75°F (24 to 27°C). Seeds should be soaked for one day in warm water so they can complete maturation. Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.

Requirements and care: Tough plant. Partial shade; can tolerate full sunlight if growing in very moist soil. Good drainage essential. Rich soil, moist soil. Provide a feed in the spring. Can survive dry soils. Regular watering during dry periods. Remove inflorescence following blooming to prevent seed spread and to maintain tidiness. Cut back to about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) in the winter and discard any dead leaves. Propagate: Self-seeds; or by dividing.
Miscellaneous: The roots of Liriope are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Makes a good ground cover plant.

How to Grow Lily Turf - the Liriope Plant

Lily turf and other Liriope Plants should be sown at a depth of about 6 mm (1/4 inch) either at the end of autumn or just before the last frost spring.

Liriope likes to grow in a partially shaded part of the garden that has a moist and fertile soil with good drainage.

If starting off Lily turf and other Liriope indoors then start to grow about 7 or 8 weeks before they are due to be transplanted.

The seeds should first be soaked in warm water for a day and germinated st 18 to 21 degrees Celsius (64 to 70°F); this should take about a month.

Once established, transplant Liriope seedlings into the garden after the last frost of spring about 30 to 40 cm (12 to 16 inches) apart.

Caring for Lily Turf and other Liriope Plants in the Garden

Liriope are fairly easy plants to look after. Water regularly in dry periods to keep the ground moist for best results.

After flowering has occurred, remove the flowering stems before the seed has chance to set. This will help prevent Lily turf from spreading in the garden.

In the winter dead leaves should be removed from the plant, and Liriope cut back to about 10 cm (4 inches) in height.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Liriope plants. You may also enjoy my guides on how to grow ground cover plants such as Aegopodium podagraria, Dymondia margaretae, Portulaca oleracea, and the Zinnia angustifolia.