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Creeping Lilyturf Liriope spicata

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
lih-RYE-oh-pee spih-KAH-tah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

This plant is very tolerant of adverse conditions, but it can be invasive.  It is often used as a lawn alternative. It is a perennial, evergreen, tufted or rhizomatous herb used as ground cover with leaves that are straplike up to 18-inches long, dark green turning to bronze-green in winter.  This plant grows between 6" and 10" tall. Flowers are spike-like clusters of pale violet to white, 6-parted, on an elongated stem, that flower in mid to late summer. The fruit is a blue-black berry. This plant prefers light shade and fertile soil. It tolerates salt spray, heat, drought, heavy shade, but is susceptible to scale. 

It forms a dense, uniform cover, unlike Liriope muscari, which forms clumps until well established several years after planting. This plant spreads quickly by rhizomes and can invade adjacent turf areas or other ground cover beds. Therefore, this Liriope may be best suited for planting in a bed surrounded by hardscape or confined with an edging (root barrier) that is 18 inches deep. It will grow well as erosion control on banks or as edging underneath trees or around shrubs where nothing else will grow. However, like other Liriope, it will not tolerate regular foot traffic.  Liriope beds can be mowed each spring before the new growth begins to eliminate last year's unsightly foliage.  

This plant is mildly resistant to damage by deer and is drought and highly salt-tolerant.

Quick ID Hints:

  • 18" long, grass-like leaves with a 1/4" wide, serrulate margin
  • Pale violet or off-white flowers appear on short rachis in the summer

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

More information on Liriope.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Satellite Dish Fountain Root Sculpture Back of House Planting
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Silver Dragon'
'Silver Dragon'
Tags:
#purple#white#evergreen#invasive#drought tolerant#heavy shade#violet#white flowers#purple flowers#salt tolerant#lawn alternative#apvg#cpp#herbaceous#violet flowers#deer resistant#groundcover#grass like#fantz#apvg-vg
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Silver Dragon'
'Silver Dragon'
Tags:
#purple#white#evergreen#invasive#drought tolerant#heavy shade#violet#white flowers#purple flowers#salt tolerant#lawn alternative#apvg#cpp#herbaceous#violet flowers#deer resistant#groundcover#grass like#fantz#apvg-vg
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Liriope
    Species:
    spicata
    Family:
    Aspragaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China and Vietnam
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Ornamental Grasses and Sedges
    Poisonous
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are blue-black berries.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Flowers form in spike-like clusters, are pale violet or off-white, are 6-parted, on an elongated stem, and are hidden among leaves on short rachis.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Grass-like, 18" long and 1/4" wide dark green leaves turn bronze-green in winter and have a serrulate margin.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Slope/Bank
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Foot Traffic
    Heat
    Heavy Shade
    Pollution
    Rabbits
    Salt
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    No cases are known, but caution due to a relationship with known toxic plants
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Unknown
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits