How to Keep Your Variegated Liriope Healthy

Variegated liriope is among the most popular houseplant varieties because its variegated foliage adds interest and prestige to any garden or landscape. Variegated liriopes are also known as “moss roses” because their leaves are soft and fuzzy like moss.

Liriope is a genus of flowering plants in the Asparagaceae subfamily Lomandroideae. The genus includes about 50 evergreen perennials native to woodland habitats in the Northern Hemisphere and South Africa. With their whimsical, variegated leaves, liriope (Liriope muscari) always turns out to be quite the beauty in your garden bed or around your porch.

Here are some tips on successfully growing and caring for variegated liriope in your garden or yard.

What Is Variegated Liriope?

Variegated Liriope

Variegated liriope is a variety of liriope (Liriopetalum chinense) creeping grass. It has green leaves with cream or white stripes that give the plant an attractive, variegated appearance. Variegated liriopes are usually grown in gardens and can be used as ground cover, in containers, or as edging plants.

They produce exquisite purple blooms on 8- to 10-inch long stalks throughout the summer. This liriope cultivar has attractive dark green foliage with golden borders that add gorgeous visuals to any garden or landscape. Variegated liriope can be grown from seed, but they take a long time to grow and establish themselves before they flower, so it is easiest to buy them already established from a nursery or garden center.

Types of Liriope

Variegated liriope is a beautiful addition to any garden. These stunning plants offer a variety of textures, colors, and heights that other plants can’t provide. These plants also have significant benefits for the environment and your home.

In addition, there are other varieties of liriope, such as:

  • The ‘Franklin Mint’ Liriope Spicata: This variety of liriope has lavender flower spikes and somewhat broader leaves than the ‘Silver Dragon.’
  • The ‘Silver Dragon’ Liriope Spicata: Slender, variegated green and white leaves with lavender blooms
  • The “Evergreen Giant” Liriope Muscari: This variety has white flower spikes and stiff-textured leaf blades.
  • The “Christmas Tree” Liriope Muscari: This variety predominantly has light lavender flower spikes.
  • The “Majestic” Liriope Muscari is another unique variety of the liriope with dark foliage, black leaves, and large lilac blooms.

What to Consider Before Planting a Variegated Liriope

1. The Growing Conditions

Growing variegated liriope is not difficult, but it requires some care. To propagate the variegated liriope successfully, you’ll need to provide it with plenty of sun and moist, well-drained soil. The plant will also benefit from occasional watering during dry periods.

2. Where to Plant Them

If you are unsure where to plant your variegated liriope, look no further! We recommend planting them where there is partial or full sunlight and variegated liriope tolerates clay or sandy soil. Be sure to plant them at the same level as the rest of your lawn so that it looks natural.

3. Choosing Plugs

Variegated liriope, also known as variegate liriopes, is a perennial with a green base with white stripes. They come in two different shapes: mounding or clumping. When choosing plugs, you should go with the mounding varieties because they spread out more and are more low-maintenance than the clumping variety. With this plant, you don’t have to worry about deer eating all your plants because it is resistant!

4. Pests and Diseases Control

The variegated liriopes are prone to attacks by spider mites, so you must check the leaves regularly. If you suspect an infestation, spray the leaves with a soapy water solution or insecticidal soap. You can equally control the spread of spider mites by spraying with horticultural oil.

Growing a Variegated Liriope

Variegated liriope (Liriope spicata) can be grown in USDA zones 4-10. They prefer partial shade but will do well with full sun if the soil is moist. They are drought tolerant once established but should only be planted in a spot where the soil stays wet during the season.

Variegated liriope grows 3-4 feet tall by 2-3 feet wide, so this plant is best suited for gardens with a good amount of space. Below are the steps on how to plant a variegated liriope:

  1. Soak the liriope berries in water for 24 hours. Remove any residual material from the seed after soaking.
  2. Prepare a solution of household bleach and water: 9 parts water to 1 part bleach. The bleach eliminates the phenolic acid that prevents germination from the seed casing.
  3. Plant the seeds in the ground or a clean pot 1/4 inch deep. Maintain an even moisture level until germination, which should take 1 to 2 weeks. Leave the plant for at least 30 days since the ideal germination temperature is 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at room temperature.
  4. Transplant the liriope seedling outdoors or to a larger pot when it reaches one inch in height.

Liriope Transplanting: Potting and Repotting

Variegated Liriope in a Pot

Liriope is commonly used as a ground cover, although it can also be cultivated in containers. Plant the variegated liriope in wet, well-drained soil, such as high-quality potting soil. The container should be at least 3 inches longer and deeper than the sample to let the plant thrive for two to three years. At the bottom of the pot, there should be multiple drainage holes.

When repotting, go one pot size higher and use new potting soil each time. These plants thrive when they are slightly root-bound, and if the roots push their way through the drainage holes, you’ll know it’s time to repot.


The variegated liriope is resistant to USDA zone 4, which means it may stay green all year, depending on where you live. However, throughout the winter, it goes dormant and ceases growing. Although some folks clip it to just above the crown, you can leave it intact or do likewise.

Start trimming away any browned or dead leaves if you choose to clip them. Dead foliage can increase pest or disease activity. Cover the plant with a layer of leaves during extreme cold blasts to avoid stress or plant loss in colder climates.

Caring for a Variegated Liriope

Variegated liriope is one of the most popular types of grasses; hence, they need special care to keep thriving. They are very hardy, require maintenance, and have lovely variegation in their leaves. These qualities make them an excellent choice for many landscapes, gardens, and yards.

This unique plant prefers moist soil but not soggy soil. The soil should be moist but not saturated or wet; this helps keep their leaves from dropping or getting brown spots due to moisture damage.

To adequately care for your variegated liriope, be sure to put the following points into consideration:

1. Fertilizer

Liriope doesn’t require much in the way of nutrition. Even so, it can thrive from a single application of organic plant food or slow-release fertilizer in early spring. It should take at most a quarter cup per plant fertilizer to help accelerate growth and facilitate dispersion.

2. Humidity and temperature

Liriope plants prefer daytime temperatures ranging from 68 to 75 ℉. If you plant liriope in a freezing climate, it will most certainly die during the winter months, and your plant may also need winter protection in the harshest USDA zones.

3. Water

Water the plants consistently during the first growing season, but not each day, as this might lead to wet soil conditions. Liriope requires roughly 1 inch of water per week on average. Liriope plants are drought-tolerant and, once established, can go a little longer without watering.

4. Soil

Liriope supports all kinds of soil properties and soils; however, it does not like constantly damp or marshy ground.

5. Light

Liriope plants thrive in partial shade but may take full light and even survive in almost complete shade. These plants prefer moderate afternoon shade in warmer climates, and deep shadow makes the foliage leggier, and the plants spread more slowly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best fertilizer to use for variegated liriope?

Although variegated liriope don’t require much feeding, we recommend fertilizing at least once in early spring. To do this, you can use organic plant food or a slow-release (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) fertilizer.

What’s the cause of brownness in the liriope leaves?

Anthracnose, a fungal disease, causes brown spots on the leaves of variegated liriope. This disease is more rampant when there is overhead irrigation or frequent rainfall.

What are the best conditions for variegated liriope?

Variegated liriope are unique plants that thrive in full shade, full sunlight, or even partial shade. They also adapt to different types of soil.

What’s the best way to maintain variegated liriope?

If you planted the variegated liriope, you should water it regularly to prevent drooping or wilting. You also shouldn’t worry about where to keep the plant since it grows in both sunny and shady conditions.

Variegated liriope is a beautiful plant that is relatively easy to grow and care for. It mainly prefers moist, well-drained soil with high peat content. When ready to plant, ensure the soil stays damp but not wet. The variegation will darken if the plant gets too much sun or if it’s getting too dry.

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