Lily turf

New to our Sunnyvale garden in 2019: Liriope muscari ‘Royal Purple’, commonly called lilyturf or blue lily turf, a tufted, tuberous-rooted, grass-like perennial which typically grows 12-18″ tall and features clumps of strap-like, arching, glossy, dark green leaves (to 1″ wide). ‘Royal Purple’ is most noted for its attractive grass-like foliage and deep purple flowers. I plan to integrate it with our Blue-Eyed grass and Sweet Kate.

Genus name honors a Greek woodland nymph, Liriope, the mother of Narcissus. Specific epithet means with flowers resemble grape hyacinth (Muscari).

Common name of lily turf acknowledges the plant’s turf-like growing habit. It is not a grass and was previously place in the lily family but is now placed in the asparagus family. Another common name is border grass.

Clumps slowly expand by short stolons (a creeping horizontal plant stem or runner that takes root at points along its length to form new plants), but do not spread aggressively like Liriope spicata. Erect, showy flower spikes with tiered whorls of dense, violet-purple flowers rise above the leaves in late summer. Flowers give way to blackish berries which often persist into winter.

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, fertile soils in part shade. Tolerates a wide range of light conditions and soils. Will grow in close to full shade, but will produce more elongated foliage and spread more slowly. Also has good tolerance for heat, humidity and drought. Foliage is evergreen in warm southern climates, but declines considerably in areas with cold winters. Cut foliage to the ground in late winter to early spring in preparation for new growth.


  • Filtered sun
  • Zones 6-11
  • Heat zones 12-1
  • Common Name: lily turf
  • Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Family: Asparagaceae
  • Zone: 5 to 10
  • Height: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
  • Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
  • Bloom Time: August to September
  • Bloom Description: Dark purple
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Water: Medium
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Propagate by dividing
  • Suggested Use: Naturalize

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