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Liriope muscari 'Variegata' Variegated Lilyturf, Variegated Liriope

Edward F. Gilman, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen

Introduction

Variegated leaves and attractive, violet-blue flowers give this plant its charm. Variegated lilyturf is a 6- to 12-inch tall, herbaceous perennial that is useful in the landscape as a ground cover and accent plant. This plant spreads slowly by rhizomes and forms thick tubers that look like small potatoes. The 8 to 20 inch long, grass-like leaves have yellow stripes on their outer margins and arise from a central crown. The small, purple flowers of variegated lilyturf occur in terminal racemes that sit atop an 8 to 10 inch tall, violet-brown scape. These flowers appear in the summer and are followed by blue-black berrylike fruits. Flowers are mostly inconspicuous due to the brightly colored foliage.

Full Form - Liriope muscari 'Variegata': Variegated lilyturf, variegated liriope.
Figure 1. Full Form - Liriope muscari 'Variegata': Variegated lilyturf, variegated liriope.
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Liriope muscari 'Variegata'

Pronunciation: luh-RYE-oh-pee mus-KAR-ree

Common name(s): variegated lilyturf, variegated liriope, variegated border grass

Family: Liliaceae

Plant type: perennial; herbaceous; ornamental grass

USDA hardiness zones: 6 through 10 (Figure 2)

Planting month for zone 7: year-round

Planting month for zone 8: year-round

Planting month for zone 9: year-round

Planting month for zone 10: year-round

Origin: not native to North America

Invasive potential: not known to be invasive

Uses: mass planting; edging; naturalizing

Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Credit:

Description

Height: 1 to 1.5 feet

Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Plant habit: upright

Plant density: moderate

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: fine

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: most emerge from the soil, usually without a stem

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: entire

Leaf shape: linear

Leaf venation: parallel

Leaf type and persistence: evergreen

Leaf blade length: 12 to 18 inches

Leaf color: variegated

Fall color: no fall color change

Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: purple

Flower characteristic: summer flowering

Fruit

Fruit shape: round

Fruit length: less than 0.5 inch

Fruit cover: fleshy

Fruit color: black

Fruit characteristic: showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable

Current year stem/twig color: not applicable

Current year stem/twig thickness: not applicable

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun; plant grows in the shade

Soil tolerances: alkaline; clay; sand; acidic; loam

Drought tolerance: moderate

Soil salt tolerances: unknown

Plant spacing: 12 to 18 inches

Other

Roots: not applicable

Winter interest: no special winter interest

Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding

Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

Variegated lilyturf is a great plant for bordering a sidewalk or as an edging for a landscape bed. It will grow well underneath trees or around shrubs. However, it will not tolerate foot traffic.

Variegated lilyturf will grow in a sunny location but prefers one that has partial shade or full shade. It prefers well-drained soils and is moderately tolerant of drought and salt spray. This plant does have a negative reaction to high temperatures and can melt out in warm weather.

Variegated lilyturf may be propagated by division of the clumps or tubers. It will also grow from seed if the pulp is removed.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern. Grasshoppers may occasionally damage the foliage.

Publication #FPS-349

Release Date:February 12th, 2024

Related Collections

Part of Shrubs Fact Sheets

Related Topics

  • Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is FPS-349, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised October 2023. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture; and Gail Hansen, professor, sustainable landscape design; Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Contacts

  • Gail Hansen de Chapman
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