© RHS / Tim Sandall



Common name: Lily turf

These modest, evergreen perennials can be mistaken for grasses. Liriopes are great ground cover plants or fillers for the front of part-shaded borders giving all year round interest. Liriopes come to their own when the purple or white flower spikes appear lighting up autumn borders. It is also a very useful plant for gardens where rabbit damage is a problem.


Small purple or white flowers are produced in dense upright spikes in late summer to autumn among strappy leaves (sometimes marked with white or cream). The flowers are followed by purple-black berries. Some make tight clumps (Liriope muscari) while others are gently spreading, ground cover plants (Liriope spicata).


Liriopes prefer growing in light shade, but they can be also planted in a sunny spot. They are happy most soils that drain well, including drier soils.


If planted in deeper shade, Liriope will not flower well. Plants may struggle in very alkaline soils or if planted in poorly draining heavy clay. They leaves may be damaged if growing in full sun and dry soil.

Did you know?

The Liriope plant name honours a Greek woodland nymph, Liriope, the mother of the vain Narcissus. Do not be alarmed by the 'white lumps' on the roots – Liriope has a fibrous root system with scattered tubers. 


Growing guide

Browse liriope

Liriope by flower and leaf colour

Liriopes we recommend

Buy liriopes from RHSplants.co.uk

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Useful advice

Perennials: cutting back

Perennials: cutting back

Perennials: dividing

Perennials: dividing

Shade planting: annuals, bulbs and perennials

Shade planting: annuals, bulbs and perennials

Shrubs: evergreen for specific situations

Shrubs: evergreen for specific situations

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