Liriope Spicata (Creeping Lilyturf)

Liriope spicata

The herbaceous perennial Liriope spicata, also known by its common name–creeping lilyturf, is one of the fastest-spreading groundcovers you can buy. Not only is this versatile spreading Liriope drought-tolerant, but it also thrives in sun or shade–and can even tolerate large amounts of moisture.

For filling in large areas quickly, this grass-like perennial is an excellent choice. It spreads by way of tough runners that can sometimes overtake adjacent plants. For this reason Liriope spicata should be planted in areas that are contained or have barriers, such as the right-of-way area between a sidewalk and the street. In other spots this aggressive groundcover demands frequent attention to prevent its rapid spread from encroaching on other plants. If you’re looking for a border plant or a garden groundcover you will be better served with L. spicata’s cousin Liriope muscari. If, on the other hand, you need a fast-growing turf substitute for areas of your property that are not heavily trafficked, L. spicata may be your best bet.

Uses for Liriope spicata

One of the most common uses for this popular lilyturf is erosion control. On steep hillsides this groundcover fills in quickly and establishes strong runners that hold soil in place. Since it is equally at home in sun and shade, Liriope spicata provides coverage and control for any type of slope.

An additional use for this plant is that of weed control. This Liriope covers bare ground quickly to prevent weeds from taking hold, minimizing the time you need to spend weeding.

This plant produces spiky clusters of white or purple flowers in late summer followed by dark blue berries in the autumn. Its evergreen leaves can take on a bronze tone in the winter. The maximum height for Liriope is 15 inches and each plant spreads up to about 12 inches.

Creeping lilyturf

Maintenance

To use Liriope to fill in a large area quickly, divide the rhizomatous plants before the initial planting. They will rapidly spread, at which time you can divide them again. With this process, your Liriope will cover a large expanse in a very short time.

Liriope spicata grows more quickly in sunny conditions, although it also thrives in the shade. It prefers a moist or well-drained soil but tolerates some sogginess as well. The optimal zones for growing this plant include zones 4 thorough 10. L. spicata is also deer-resistant, making it a good choice in areas heavy-populated with deer. Maintenance is fairly minimal, but you will need to monitor its spread to other parts of the yard and give it a trim with a string trimmer or mower each spring.

For gardeners who are seeking an attractive evergreen foliage and a fast-growing groundcover, Liriope spicata fits the bill. Just be prepared to spend some time controlling its spread if you want to prevent your new groundcover from turning invasive.

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