Liriope muscari: Lily turf Plant Profile

Discover the versatile Lily turf. It’s an attractive yet low-maintenance plant that can tolerate a range of conditions.

Lily turf, scientifically known as Liriope muscari, is a captivating plant that belongs to the Asparagaceae family. It’s a clumping plant, known for its grass-like leaves and small, vibrant flowers.

If you’re looking to add a touch of elegance to your garden, Lilyturf is a solid choice. It’s not just about the looks; this plant is also quite hardy.

Stick around, and we’ll share some tips on how to grow Lilyturf successfully, and why it’s a favourite among Australian gardeners.

Liriope muscari | Plant Profiles

Family and Subfamily: AsparagaceaeNolinoideae

The Asparagaceae family encompasses a broad range of flowering plants, distinctively monocots, starting with a single seed leaf. This family is known for plants with fleshy roots or bulbs.

Nestled within this family, the Nolinoideae subfamily is where the Lilyturf resides. Recognisable by succulent, rosette-form leaves, and sometimes even spiky or thorny ones, it’s a group appreciated for its unique traits and resilience.

Liriope muscari: Basic Information

  • Common Name: Lily turf, Monkey Grass
  • Scientific Name: Liriope muscari
  • Origin: South East Asia
  • Family: Asparagaceae
  • Subfamily: Nolinoideae
  • Plant type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Size: 30-45 cm in height, 30-60 cm in width
  • Leaf Type: Long, narrow, grass-like
  • Flower Colour: Purple or white

Appearance and Features

Liriope muscari flower | Plant Profiles

Lily turf is a clumping plant with a tufted, spreading growth habit. It typically grows to a height of 30-45 cm and can spread up to 60 cm.

The leaves are long, narrow, and evergreen. In late summer or early autumn, you’ll see small, purple or white flowers. Following the flowers, small black berries appear.

Following the flowers, small black berries appear. Note: These berries are toxic if ingested, so they should be kept away from pets and children.

Natural Habitat

Lilyturf originally comes from South East Asia. It’s commonly found in forests, grasslands, and coastal areas.

Because this species isn’t native to Australia, be sure to check whether it’s considered an invasive species in your region.

How to Grow Lily turf

Liriope muscari leaves | Plant Profiles

People often choose Lily turf for its hardiness and aesthetic appeal. It’s a low-maintenance plant that can tolerate a range of conditions.

Growing Conditions

  • Soil: Well-drained, pH 5.5-7.0
  • Light: Part to full shade
  • Climate: Temperate, not frost-tolerant

Planting Guide

Plant Lilyturf in spring or autumn. Space them 30-45 cm apart to allow for growth and spreading.

Care and Maintenance

Water moderately and let the soil dry a bit between waterings. Prune in early spring to remove dead leaves.

Mulch annually with organic material like wood chips. Feeding is generally not required.

Pest and Disease Control

Watch out for aphids, slugs, and snails. Treat with insecticidal soap or neem oil for aphids, and handpick slugs and snails.

For fungal issues like leaf spot, improve drainage.

Liriope muscari Cultivars

  • Liriope muscari ‘Evergreen Giant’ stands out for its taller growth (up to 60 cm), robust evergreen foliage, and enhanced drought-tolerance, making it a preferred choice for both ornamental and practical landscaping applications.
  • Liriope muscari ‘Just Right’ is a compact cultivar with dark green, glossy leaves and abundant purple flower spikes, ideal for decorative borders and mass plantings.

Special Features

Lilyturf has dense clumps of foliage and showy spikes of flowers. These features make it a standout in any garden.

Wildlife and Pollinators

The plant attracts bees and butterflies, thanks to its nectar-rich flowers.

Uses in the Garden and Beyond

Lilyturf is commonly used as groundcover or as a border plant. It pairs well with ferns and other shade-loving plants.

Outside its native habitat, it can become invasive if not properly managed, so always check local guidelines.

Environmental Benefits

Lilyturf is drought-tolerant, making it a good choice for water-saving gardens.

Lilyturf FAQ

Is Lilyturf native to Australia?

No, Lilyturf originates from South East Asia. Always check if introduced plants are considered invasive in your area.

How tall does Lilyturf grow?

It typically grows to a height of 30-45 cm and can spread up to 60 cm.

Is Lilyturf frost-tolerant?

No, it prefers a temperate climate and is not frost-tolerant.

Photo of author

Linda Jones

Based in sunny Brisbane, Linda has a keen interest in ornamental plants. She firmly believes that gardens are as much about aesthetics as they are about functionality. Despite being a life-long gardener, she still enjoys learning about new plants and gardening techniques and sharing her discoveries with the Ultimate Backyard community. When she's not immersed in her garden, Linda loves reading and walking.


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