Liriope plants, also known as Monkey Grass, is an easy-growing perennial grass you can plant along walkways, pathways, and flower borders throughout any landscape. Liriope, dubbed Lillie turf, is drought-resistant, deer-proof, and withstands many climates from a growing zone 4 to 10. In the summer, it produces lavender flower spikes with hues of purple or pink that compliment the grass-like foliage.
The majority of Liriope grow between 10 to 18 inches tall. Liriope Muscari grows in a clumping habit that reaches about 8 to 15 inches wide, depending on the variety you choose. You can space these 8 inches apart to create a dense border, mass planting, or foundation plantings. If you space them 15+ inches apart, you can see their weeping habits better.
Liriope is used as ground cover along sidewalks and pathways or around trees and shrubs. In addition, people often use them in mass plantings on slopes or along streams to provide a contrasting texture. Liriope can be grown in full sun to part shade. It can also be planted in various soils and does well in drought. Liriope’s hardiness makes it a versatile groundcover that will space quickly and provide lasting beauty.
The plants are evergreen in warmer weather and prefer mild winter weather. In colder USDA Zones, Liriope dies in the late autumn and is used more like an annual. Lilyturf is very hardy and low maintenance.
Liriope require very little fertilization, but you can fertilize them after spring growth begins with a granular, slow-release, balanced fertilizer or organic plant food. We use Osmacote Slow-Release fertilizer on our plants in mid to early spring.
Once fall arrives, you can cut back the leaves and dead foliage of your liriope. Use shears or even a weed eater to make the process quick. If you live in warmer climates where the plant will stay evergreen, the plant will recover quickly. If you live in an area where the plant goes dormant, expect the foliage to start emerging in early spring.
Once established, Liriope plants are drought tolerant. In the first season after planting, they need regular water. Liriope prefer soil that is consistently moist but not soaked. Overwatering can lead to root rot and then potentially crown rot. Well-drained soil is preferred, but they can tolerate clay or sandy soils. Adjust your watering to how well your soil drains in your garden.
Plant your liriope in full sun to part shade. They prefer morning sun and afternoon shade but are tolerable in various conditions. Avoid deep shade areas that get no direct sunlight during the day.
For more tips on caring for your ground cover grasses check out our ground cover grasses care guide.
Plants by Mail offers two sizes of Liriope in most varieties, a 2.5 Quart and an 18-pack of 3-inch cups. The 2.5 Quart plant will be close to the fully mature size of the monkey grass. These are great options for filling in an existing bed or replacing a dead or deteriorated plant. The 18-pack liner trays have plants with much smaller root systems and plant growth. These are ideal for starting your mass plantings. However, they are similar to grass plugs and will take several years to mature into an ideal ground cover.