Creeping lily-turf

Creeping lily-turf has an almost grass-like appearance.

Creeping lily-turf is a ground cover with very upright narrow foliage that resembles the foliage of bulbs.  Flower spikes are produced from mid to late summer.

Botanical name:

Liriope spicata

All Common Names:

Creeping lily-turf, liriope

Family (English):

Lily of the Valley

Family (Botanic):

Ruscaceae

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Ground cover,
  • Perennial

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Patio/sidewalk

Size Range:

  • Small plant (6-12 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9,
  • Zone 10

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Season of Interest:

  • Mid summer,
  • Late summer,
  • Early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Pink,
  • Purple,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Arching,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Slow,
  • Moderate

More Information:

Size and Method of spreading

Creeping lily-turf grows 8 to 12 inches high.  It is a colonizing ground cover that spreads at a moderate rate by short rhizomes.  Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots.  These plants are strong growers and may have the potential to grow aggressively.

Plant Care

While creeping lily-turf does best in moist sites, it is also fairly tolerant of dryness once established.  It makes its best growth in shady sites, but is tolerant of full sun.  In Southern climates, the foliage is evergreen, but in the north, foliage often looks ragged after winter and mowing it down in early spring, will encourage new growth.

Disease, pests, and problems

Slugs can be a problem.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Resistant to deer and tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Asia.

Leaf description

The long, thin basal leaves resemble bulb foliage or even turf grass.  Foliage is dark green; evergreen in Southern climates.

Flower description

Small pink to white flowers are produced on upright stalks from mid to late summer.

Fruit description

Fruits are dark berries; not ornamentally important.

Cultivars and their differences

Silver Dragon creeping lily-turf (Liriope spicata 'Silver Dragon'):  Green and white striped foliage with light purple flowers.

Location of Liriope spicata (Creeping lily-turf) at the Arboretum