Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Creeping Lily Turf, Lilyturf, Monkey Grass
Liriope spicata

Family: Ruscaceae
Genus: Liriope (lir-RYE-oh-pee) (Info)
Species: spicata (spi-KAH-tuh) (Info)

6 vendors have this plant for sale.

23 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
4.5 or below (very acidic)
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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5 positives
No neutrals
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive poeciliopsis On Feb 26, 2015, poeciliopsis from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Central Phoenix -- I have been growing Liriope spicata (Silver Dragon) successfully in pots since 2004. It does well with lots of water (every-other-day) but they get a lot of brown leaf ends in sun. The pots get several hours a day of full sun in summer. I recently put 3 plants into the ground in areas I have had difficulty getting anything to grow. They are in heavy shade with water every other week in summer. It will be interesting to see if they become as "invasive" as many of the comments indicate.

Negative Ted_B On Oct 30, 2014, Ted_B from Birmingham, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant reminds me of the title of a Steven Seagal action film - "Hard to Kill". Consider this plant as if you were considering getting a huge tattoo, as removal is no less trivial.

Once established, this particularly invasive variety of Liriope seems virtually impossible to eradicate without generous servings of metsulfuron. Attempting to remove by digging guarantees months (if not years) of frustration, as even the smallest pieces of remaining runners re-sprout as sure as death and taxes. Even seemingly dead rhizomes that have sat unearthed for weeks in the open sun have a bad habit of springing to life.

My advice is unless you are aggressively seeking to control erosion of a slope, this weed should be avoided like the plague for ornamental applications. I'm sure your neighbors will appreciate such restraint as well. The less invasive Liriope muscari is a clumping variety that is better behaved.

Negative Rickwebb On Jan 21, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This spreading groundcover from East Asia never stops spreading and does become Lilyturf. It is evergreen, but often becomes browned later during strong or less snow covered winters. It starts off as a cute clump, but eventually becomes a turf-like messy plant. It gets a leaf spot disease that is not fatal. There is a report of it escaping cultivation into the woods in Maryland, becoming invasive. It should be cut or mowed to the ground in early spring to get rid of old growth, though deer often do a big favor and do this. I've seen it so many times invade around shorter plants so that it looks so messy or it covers and hides decorative gravel. It is so strong it invades and breaks through asphalt edges of driveways and paths. It is resistant to herbicides. The only way to truely get rid of it is to dig it out of the ground. If one must use it, use it in a small area surrounded by strong concrete pavement.

Positive u4icmusic On Oct 7, 2009, u4icmusic from Chattanooga, TN wrote:

The description on this plant is incorrect. This "spreading" liriope has white flowers, the clumping varieties have purple flowers.

Positive Gretabooski On Mar 15, 2006, Gretabooski from Austin, TX wrote:

Excellent ground cover with great color when it blooms. even if occasional maintenance is needed to thin out the creepers, it is a hearty drought resistant plant for Texas landscapes.

Positive Magwar On Apr 14, 2005, Magwar from Royston, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I am growing this along a erosion line in my back yard, the creeping lily turf is doing wonderful. I prefer it to the clumping version just due to the fact that I need it to spread. Makes a great border. Only downside is cleaning up after trimming it back. (I have it bordering gravel and prefer not ot mow it lest I get socked with a rock.)

Negative patp On Nov 6, 2003, patp from Summerville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Variegated Liriope is much easier to manage (contain) than Monkey Grass and is more optically appealing to me. If Monkey Grass roots become entwined with the roots of other plants, it's almost impossible to eradicate. Still, I can fully appreciate the sentimental value that Monkey Grass might impart.

Negative INJUNSUN On Nov 5, 2003, INJUNSUN from Knoxville, TN wrote:

It is spreading in East Tennessee (Knoxville vicinity) as a low-priority invasive escape.

Positive suncatcheracres On Aug 30, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

Every house I've ever lived in in the South, and all my relatives' houses, have had some variant of this plant in the yard. Garden books say it is overused, but I think this plant is wonderful. It makes an attractive, easily kept, evergreen border for flower beds that can be mowed under, and the spreading habit of L. spicata just gives you more plants for more borders. And there is always someone who will take your extras.

Some books say L. spicata is invasive, so if that bothers you, you can just grow any of the 9 or so varieties of L. muscari, the other Liriope, which clumps, staying where it is put. But I find L. muscari to be quite expensive in garden centers, especially when you need 50 or 60 of them for a border. I've grown both kinds, and I personally like the spreading kind better, especially the white flowered ones. Or you can grow a named variety of L. spicata called 'Silver Dragon,' with white striped leaves, which supposedly doesn't spread as rapidly.

My grandparent's house in South Georgia, where my 97 year old Aunt now lives, has had this plant in the yard for over 50 years. Every year, in early Spring, the yard man just mows the Monkey Grass borders with his lawnmower, just as the new shoots are emerging, but before they are large enough to get cut, to get rid of any unsightly brown and yellow leaves left over from the winter. The regularly mowed, runner-type, centipede grass lawn keeps the Monkey Grass in check on the lawn side, but the running offshoots do have to be dug out of the flower beds every few years. But my Aunt always has people wanting her extras--they cart them away in big clumps in cardboard boxes, and the azaleas, camellias, and cast iron plant are then safe from Monkey Grass invasion for another few years.

Here in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, I have quite a bit of shade, so I am growing a look-alike called Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus) which looks like a shorter, darker version of Monkey Grass. This little guy is a spreader too, and I will treat it just like Monkey Grass, except it will probably never get mowed.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Phoenix, Arizona
Aptos, California
Thousand Oaks, California
New Haven, Connecticut
Seaford, Delaware
Royston, Georgia
Woodstock, Georgia
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Plainfield, Illinois
Newburgh, Indiana
Mathiston, Mississippi
Kirksville, Missouri
Rowland, North Carolina
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Florence, South Carolina
Roebuck, South Carolina
Seneca, South Carolina
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Houston, Texas
Poolville, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Mechanicsville, Virginia

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