Content Detail

Creeping lily-turf is a ground cover with very upright narrow foliage that resembles the foliage of bulbs. Flower spikes are produced from mid to late summer.

  • Family (English) Lily of the Valley
  • Family (botanic) Ruscaceae
  • Tree or plant type Ground cover, Perennial
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small plant (6-12 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9, Zone 10
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest midsummer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Pink, Purple, White
  • Shape or form Arching, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate, Slow

Size and method of spreading:

Creeping lily-turf grows 8 to 12 inches high. It is a colonizing ground cover that spreads at a moderate rate by short rhizomes. Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots. These plants are strong growers and may have the potential to spread aggressively.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to Asia.

Leaf description:

The long, thin basal leaves resemble bulb foliage or even turf grass. Foliage is dark green and evergreen in Southern climates.

Flower description:

Small pink to white flowers are produced on upright stalks from mid to late summer.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruits are dark berries that are not ornamentally important.

Plant care:

While creeping lily-turf does best in moist sites, it is also fairly tolerant of dry soil once established. It grows best in shady sites, but is tolerant of full sun. In Southern climates, the foliage is evergreen, but in the north, foliage often looks ragged after winter and mowing it down in early spring will encourage new growth.

List of pests, diseases and tolerances:

Slugs can be a problem. Resistant to deer and tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Silver Dragon creeping lily-turf (Liriope spicata ‘Silver Dragon’):

Green and white striped foliage with light purple flowers.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift