Plant of the Month: Liriope Spicata Plant - Absolute Gardener

Plant of the Month: Liriope Spicata Plant

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liriope spicata

The liriope spicata plant is an interesting and unusual looking houseplant. It is a low-growing evergreen with lanceolate leaves that are usually blue-gray to green in color. Liriope spicata plants have been popular because they are relatively easy to care for and grow indoors, but many people don’t know how to keep them happy! The following article will give you some tips on keeping your liriope spicata plant successful.

What is a Liriope Spicata Plant

Liriope spicata is a fast growing perennial lily-like plant. The liriope spicata will grow up to 24” tall and can spread out to 12 feet wide with strong runners that are deep green, light blue or gray. They typically have long leaves which overlap for protection from heat and drought as well as cold weather. The liriope spicata is very versatile and can grow in wet, dry or shady areas of the garden. They can be found on either side of the Atlantic Ocean, but there are three different species available for cultivation.

Origins of Liriope Spicata Plant

Liriope spicata is a perennial, lily-like plant that belongs to the lily family. Native to China and Japan, its common name in Japanese means “hairy leaf,” which accurately describes its leaves. Other names include creeping liriope and creeping lilyturf. Known as liriope (pronounced lee-ree-OHP) in North America, this plant has gained a reputation for being low-maintenance, tough and drought-tolerant. It often is confused with the liriope silver dragon.

liriope spicata

Liriope Spicata Plant Care Guide

Liriope spicata is a hardy ground cover that can take some shade. This plant is used to fill in areas of the garden and liven up large spaces. Liriope Spicata plants are relatively easy to care for, making them an ideal choice for beginners looking for low-key landscaping projects. Follow these Liriope spicata care guides below!


Liriope spicata thrives in moist, well-drained soil. Soil should be amended with compost and organic matter to help retain moisture over time for liriope spicata.

In areas where liriope spicata is grown outdoors, we recommend adding a layer of mulch on top of the soil every year in early spring for liriope spicata. This will give your liriope spicata added protection from insects and frost damage during cold winter months.


Liriope spicata plants prefer light shade, so liriope spicata should not be planted in full sun. In summer liriope is best situated in part-sun to avoid scorching the leaves. If you want your liriopes to stay compact and bushy, they need at least four hours of midday or afternoon sun.


Water liriope spicata plants once a week or less. This can be done by pouring water from the top of the liriope spicata plant and allowing it to run down into the soil, or watering liriope with a hose. The best time for this is in the morning so that liriope spicata can dry out during the day and liriope is less likely to get wet from rain.

Water liriope spicata plants in a way that allows water to be absorbed by both liriope root ball (the soil on top of which liriope sits) and the roots themselves, such as soaking liriope spicata plants in a bucket of water or using drip irrigation.

Never allow liriope to sit in water for too long, because this will cause the soil around liriope roots to become saturated and thereby reducing its ability to absorb air. This can also make liriope more susceptible to root rot and other diseases.


Liriope spicata plants require a temperature range of 60 to 90 degrees. They can tolerate temperatures below 50, but they grow more slowly at those levels and will eventually die if the temperature does not return above 40 degrees. However, liriope don’t do well in cold weather because of the lack of sunlight and water they need. When liriope are exposed to freezing conditions for too long, their leaves will turn brown and fall off, and the liriope will eventually die.


A liriope spicata plant thrives in moist climates. It is best to keep the humidity around 55% or higher with regular misting and humidifiers. Be sure to not soak the liriopes leaves, as it would cause them to rot or fall off from too much moisture on their leaves.


Liriope spicata plant can be fertilized monthly in the spring, summer, and fall with a balanced fertilizer that is high in nitrogen–use about half of what liriope would normally require for normal growth during this period. Fertilize once every six months to a year if the plant is not actively growing.


The liriope spicata plant is not toxic to humans. There are some plants that are poisonous and can be fatal if ingested, so it is important to keep liriopes away from pets or children who may try to eat the leaves.They will still cause discomfort for your pet if they do ingest them though!


liriope needs to be trimmed periodically throughout the year if liriope has outgrown its space or is overgrown and matting together, but these should never be removed more than one third of total length per cut.

Pruning liriope spicata plants will also help liriope maintain a healthy shape and appearance. Pruning liriope too much, however, will reduce its ability to photosynthesize–produce food for itself via the process of converting light into chemical energy in organic materials such as glucose. The liriope spicata plant should be trimmed so that liriope is about 12 inches tall.

Propagation and Growth

Liriope spicata are not a plant that you can easily propagate. The liriope spicata has rhizomes, which is the underground stem of the liriope species and it cannot be divided up or propagated through cuttings because they will not have roots. It’s best to take a cutting from existing liriope spicata plants and use that cutting to re-mulch your liriope spicata.


Liriope plants are often used as a ground cover. Liriopes do not like to have their roots disturbed, so it is important that they be repotted only when the liriope looks wilted or needs more space. It’s best for liriepis to grow in moist soil and under the shade of larger plants. The liriope should be repotted in the spring and before the new growth starts to grow, which is usually around late March or early April. In order for liriepis to do well, it needs good drainage soil with a pH level between six and seven.

Plant Disease

liriope spicata is susceptible to few pests or diseases, but liriope can be attacked by leaf miners–small larvae that eat liriope leaves from the inside out. This causes black dots on liriope leaves as well as eventually killing off liriope entirely. The liriope spicata plant can also be attacked by aphids, which cause liriope to secrete a sticky substance and reduces liriope growth as well as weakening its roots system. Control these pests with insecticides designed for lawns or other pesticides such as neem oil, pyrethrum, or horticultural oil.

Liriope Spicata Plant Variegated

Liriope spicata plant var. ‘Variegata’, are considered to be one of the best choices for a groundcover because they will tolerate even drought and poor soil conditions. Variegated liriopes have been popular as groundcovers in Southern garden designs since 1940s but now can be found all over North America. Variegated liriopes are also called lilyturf and lance-leaved lysimachia.

Liriope spicata plant variegated variety is often referred to as “Easter lilies” because of their similarity in appearance to the Easter lily flower, Lilium longiflorum. The lilyturf plant has lanceolate-shaped leaves that are green and white with an irregular pattern of variegation on the edge of each leaf, giving a lacy appearance.

Variegated liriopes grow well in shade to partial sun areas where they will spread but not overtake other vegetation as it grows taller. Variegated liriopes are deer-resistant, drought tolerant, and low maintenance plants that can be used to establish a safe barrier from predators.

liriope spicata

Common Issues with Liriope Spicata Plant

Liriope spicata can be susceptible to insect problems such as white flies and mites which are attracted by the liriope plant’s sweetness. These insects suck juices from the liriope leaves causing discoloration or even death of liriope plants. If liriopes are attacked by these insects they will turn brown and die, but fortunately liriopes have a strong enough self-defense system to stop this from happening too often. There is also the risk of liriopes being bothered by some fungal diseases which can cause wilting leaves or yellowing liriope plant leaves.

Tips for Keeping Liriope Spicata Plant Happy

  • Provide plenty of water and lots of bright light
  • Feed your liriope every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer
  • Protect plants from getting too cold or hot for extended periods of time by keeping them in the appropriate room or placing them in a sheltered location
  • Cut liriope back to within an inch of ground level every year in spring
  • It’s important not to let liriope dry out completely. Plants that have been chewed on by deer, rabbits or other pests should be treated at once with insecticidal soap and rabbit repellent

Liriope Spicata Plant Frequently Asked Questions

Is Liriope spicata invasive?

No liriope is not invasive. Liriope spicata plant, also called creeping lilyturf or tiger grass, produces a lush carpet of green that will soften other landscape plants and make your yard pop with color all year round.

Does Liriope spicata spread?

Some creeping liriope spicata plants have the ability to spread, in other words they can grow new shoots from below ground. Liriope spicata does not form an aggressive root system and spreads by producing above-ground runners which are called stolons. New liriopes will be a genetic variation of the original liritope if liriope spicata is propagated by runners.

Does liriope die back in winter?

It does not die back during the winter but dies back in late spring or early summer, depending on its location, before it starts growing again.

Should liriope be cut back?

Yes, liriope spicata should be cut back. The liriope will grow and become too large if it is not trimmed regularly which can harm the plant or make it more prone to disease. It’s best to trim liriope after flowering in the late fall (before early winter) when new growth from the liriope spicata plant is just starting to emerge.

Is liriope berries poisonous to dogs?

Liriope berries are not poisonous to dogs.


In conclusion, liriope spicata plants are a great addition to any garden. They require little care and have some benefits such as improving air quality in your home or providing an area of shade for you to sit under on hot days. Liriope Spicata Plants will make the perfect gift this holiday season! Get yours here. 

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