How to Plant and Grow Lilyturf

This popular edging plant stays green year-round in many climates.

Lilyturf, Liriope

Used often as an edging plant or groundcover, the perennial lilyturf (Liriope) is popular for good reason. It stays green year-round in many climates, produces pretty blue or white flowers, and is a tough plant. Its dense tufts of almost evergreen, broadly grassy leaves are often striped. Stiff stems bear tight spikes of tiny blue or white bells, similar to those of grape hyacinth. Lilyturf is hardy in Zones 5-10 and does best protected from drying winds in rich, well-drained soil that retains moisture.

Lilyturf Overview

Genus Name Liriope
Common Name Lilyturf
Plant Type Perennial
Light Part Sun, Shade, Sun
Height 12 to 24 inches
Width 12 to 24 inches
Flower Color Blue, White
Season Features Colorful Fall Foliage, Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Cut Flowers, Fragrance, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Division, Seed
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Groundcover, Slope/Erosion Control

Where to Plant Lilyturf

Lilyturf grows best with partial shade, but they can also take lots of sun and will even thrive in nearly complete shade. If they grow in very shady spots, the plants tend to be leggier, and they'll need more time to spread out if used as a groundcover. Its adaptability makes it suitable for nearly any situation. They make an attractive edging to a border or path.

How and When to Plant Lilyturf

Plant lilyturf in spring and summer for the best results. Amend the soil if needed before planting. Space out the plants far enough, at least 1 foot, to allow for spreading. Dig a large hole to accommodate the root ball, and loosen the roots before planting. After backfilling the soil, water deeply to soak the roots. Add 1 inch of wood mulch.

Lilyturf Care Tips

Lilyturf plants are easy to grow. Use them as a groundcover, planted in a group, or as a border edging along walkways, paths and garden beds.


Lilyturf thrives in just about any condition from full sun to light shade.

Soil and Water

Lilyturf will do fine as long as the soil isn't very soggy. It can grow in moist soil and needs about 1 inch of water per week since it's somewhat drought-tolerant. This plant likes moderately acidic to neutral soil from 6.0 to 7.0 pH.

Temperature and Humidity

Warm temperatures from 65ºF to 75ºF are ideal for lilyturf. If it is much hotter than this in your area during the summer, plant lilyturf where it has some shade to protect it from the afternoon heat, but too much shade results in leggy plants.

In areas with the coldest winters, provide protection for the plant by cutting it back to just above the crown and cover it with a layer of leaves. Remove the cover in spring before new growth emerges.

Established plants can tolerate excessive humidity.


Liriope doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer. Add a 10-10-10 type in the spring. That should be sufficient, especially if you have fertile soil. Be careful because too much fertilizer can increase the chances of disease and insect problems. For the amount to use, follow product label directions.


When lilyturf flowers fade, cut them back to keep the plant looking tidy. Prune plants before the spring growing season to facilitate new growth and clear the plants of dead foliage.

Potting and Repotting Lilyturf

Lilyturf can be planted in pots, although it's usually used for borders and groundcover. Use a container large enough so it won't need to be repotted for at least two to three years. It should be 3 inches longer and deeper than the plant you use, and it should have drainage holes. Use a good-quality potting mix that's well-draining.

Pests and Problems

Lilyturf can be invaded by the usual garden pests when grown indoors, like aphids or mealybugs. Outside, slugs and snails can cause damage to these plants. Use an insecticide recommended for these pests, preferably a natural formula.

Fungal diseases that affect lilyturf are anthracnose and leaf and crown rot. Both can be brought on by heavy rains. Plants infected should be trimmed to about 3 inches from the ground to remove dead and diseased leaves.

How to Propagate Lilyturf

Propagate lilyturf either by dividing the plant or by seed. It's easier to grow lilyturf from divided plants than from seed.

To divide lilyturf, select an established plant that is at least three years old. Lift the entire plant and rootball by digging straight down 1 inch from the base of the plant with a sharp spade and then lifting out the rootball. Cut the plant into four or more sections, making sure each section has a good selection of roots and foliage. If the roots are extremely tough, you may need to use a saw to make the divisions. Plant each division into prepared soil in the garden or a container. In either case, amend the soil with compost before planting to encourage root production. Plant the divisions, being sure not to cover the root's crown with soil to keep it from rotting. Tamp down the soil to remove air pockets. Keep the plant well-watered until it recovers from the process. Don't be surprised if a few leaves turn yellow and die on the edge of the division.

You can also harvest seeds from lilyturf plants. Trim a few stems with flowers and leave them in a place to dry. Then, remove the seeds from the flowers. Put them in a bowl of warm water to soak 24 hours before you plan to sow the seeds. Fill a garden tray with moist sterile planting medium. Place the seeds 1 inch apart and cover them with 1/4 inch of the planting medium. Mist the tray and use a large plastic bag to create a greenhouse for it. Move the tray to a warm place and mist the planting medium occasionally over the next several weeks. Germination occurs about a month later. Remove the plastic bag and wait for the seedlings to grow a bit. Then, gently move the seedlings outside to holes you have prepared, spacing them 1 foot apart.

Types of Lilyturf

'Lilac Beauty' Lilyturf


Liriope muscari 'Lilac Beauty' has showy spikes of lilac flowers above solid green leaves. Zones 6-10

Variegated Lilyturf

Lilyturf, Liriope

Liriope muscari 'Variegata' bears cream-edged leaves and produces tiny brilliant blue flower spikes in fall. Zones 6-10

Lilyturf Companion Plants


The perennial periwinkle is a trailing plant with star-shaped blue flowers and glossy green leaves. Zones 4-9

Toad Lily

Toad lily's speckled flowers add a bright touch to a garden. This perennial grows in shade. Zones 4-9

Lilyturf Garden Plans

Tropical-Look Garden Plan

Use a well-placed container filled with colorful plants to provide a show-stopping focal point in this tropical-look garden plan. Don’t forget to look for hummingbirds; they’ll be attracted to the brightly colored blossoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are lilyturf plants aggressive?

    Anyone who is concerned because they’ve heard lilyturf can be aggressive should choose clumping lilyturf (Liriope muscari) for the home garden; it grows to no more than 24 inches wide and does not spread by runners. 

    Avoid spreading lilyturf (Liriope spicata), which covers a wide area and can be difficult to contain. Even if you dig it up, it comes back the following year from rhizomes left in the soil.

  • Is lilyturf a good plant for a coastal garden?

    Yes, lilyturf—also called monkey grass or spider grass—is salt spray tolerant, making it great for oceanfront or ocean-adjacent homes. Its fronds will wave gently in the ocean breeze.

Top Shade Perennials

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