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Liriope muscari 'Variegata' Variegated Lilyturf, Variegated Liriope

Edward F. Gilman


Variegated leaves and attractive, violet-blue flowers give this plant its charm (Figure 1). 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.

Figure 1. Variegated lilyturf
Figure 1.  Variegated lilyturf


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
Uses: mass planting; edging; naturalizing

Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

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


Height: 1 to 1.5 feet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Plant habit: upright
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: fine


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 color: purple
Flower characteristic: summer flowering


Fruit shape: round
Fruit length: less than .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


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


Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
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

Date: 8/17/2015


    • Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems
    Organism ID

    About this Publication

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

    About the Authors

    Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


    • Gail Hansen de Chapman