How To Plant Liriope As Border [ Full Guide ]

Liriope, also known as monkey grass, is a popular choice for creating borders in gardens and landscapes. This versatile and low-maintenance plant is loved for its grass-like foliage and beautiful, delicate flowers. When used as a border, liriope can define spaces, provide a neat and tidy appearance, and add visual interest to a garden or yard. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various types of liriope plants suitable for borders, the essential steps for planning the border design, preparing the soil, and finally, the planting process.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Liriope As Border

Before we go into the details, let’s provide a quick outline of the steps involved in planting liriope as a border:

  1. Select the right type of liriope: Different types of liriope plants are suitable for borders, including Liriope muscari, Liriope spicata, and Liriope gigantea. Choose the variety that best suits your climate and the specific requirements of your border.

  2. Plan the border design: Consider the size and shape of the border, as well as the spacing between the liriope plants. This step will help you create a well-organized and aesthetically pleasing border.

  3. Prepare the soil: Liriope thrives in well-draining, fertile soil. Take the time to prepare the soil by adding organic matter and ensuring proper drainage.

  4. Plant the liriope: Once the soil is ready, carefully plant the liriope at the appropriate spacing, ensuring that the roots are well-established and the plants are positioned correctly.

  5. Care and maintenance: After planting, provide proper care, including regular watering, mulching, and occasional division to ensure the health and longevity of the liriope border.

Types Of Liriope Plants For Borders

When considering liriope for a border, it’s essential to choose the right variety that suits the specific requirements of your landscaping project. The following are three common types of liriope plants that are suitable for borders:

  1. Liriope muscari: Also known as big blue lilyturf, Liriope muscari is a popular choice for borders due to its clumping growth habit and attractive, lilac-purple flower spikes. This variety is known for its excellent coverage and ability to tolerate a wide range of growing conditions.

  2. Liriope spicata: Liriope spicata, or creeping lilyturf, is well-suited for borders due to its spreading nature, making it ideal for creating a uniform ground cover along the border. This variety produces small, lavender flower spikes and is known for its ability to thrive in partial shade.

  3. Liriope gigantea: As the name suggests, Liriope gigantea is a larger variety of liriope, featuring broad, strappy leaves and robust growth. This variety is well-suited for creating a bold and impactful border, especially in larger landscaping projects.

When choosing a liriope variety for your border, consider factors such as the amount of sunlight the area receives, the desired height and spread of the plants, and the overall aesthetic you want to achieve.

Planning The Border Design

Creating an effective border design with liriope involves careful planning to ensure that the plants are arranged in a visually appealing and functional manner. Here are the essential steps for planning the layout of your liriope border:

  1. Determine the border size and shape: Measure the length and width of the area where the border will be installed. Consider the overall shape of the border, whether it’s a straight line, curved, or irregular shape, to best complement the surrounding landscape.

  2. Spacing between plants: Depending on the variety of liriope you choose, determine the spacing between each plant. Generally, liriope plants should be spaced about 12 to 18 inches apart to allow for ample growth and coverage.

  3. Consider the visual impact: Think about how the border will look throughout the year. Consider the height, texture, and color of the liriope foliage, as well as the potential for flowers in the case of Liriope muscari, to create an attractive, dynamic border.

  4. Complementary plantings: If you plan to incorporate other plants or flowers along with liriope in the border, carefully select companion plants that will complement the liriope and enhance the overall design.

By taking the time to carefully plan the layout and design of your liriope border, you can create a cohesive and visually striking feature that enhances the beauty of your garden or landscape.

Preparing The Soil For Planting Liriope

Proper soil preparation is crucial for the successful establishment and long-term health of liriope plants in a border. Follow these steps to ensure that the soil is ready for planting:

  1. Assess soil drainage: Before planting liriope, it’s essential to assess the drainage of the soil in the border area. Liriope thrives in well-draining soil, so if the soil is compacted or prone to waterlogging, consider incorporating amendments to improve drainage.

  2. Test soil pH: Liriope prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. Test the soil pH using a soil testing kit, and if necessary, make adjustments using lime to raise the pH or elemental sulfur to lower it to the optimal range for liriope.

  3. Add organic matter: Enrich the soil by incorporating organic matter such as compost, well-rotted manure, or peat moss. This helps improve soil structure, fertility, and moisture retention, providing a favorable environment for liriope growth.

  4. Till the soil: Use a garden fork or tiller to thoroughly mix the organic matter into the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. This will ensure that the amendments are evenly distributed and integrated with the existing soil.

  5. Level the soil: Rake the soil surface to create a smooth, level area for planting. Remove any debris, rocks, or protruding roots that may impede the planting process.

By following these soil preparation steps, you can create a hospitable and nutrient-rich growing environment that will promote healthy and vigorous liriope growth in the border.

Planting Liriope In The Border

Once the soil is properly prepared, it’s time to plant the liriope and establish a beautiful border. Follow these detailed steps for successful planting:

  1. Dig planting holes: Use a trowel or shovel to dig individual planting holes for each liriope plant. The holes should be slightly wider and equal in depth to the root ball of the liriope.

  2. Remove plants from containers: Gently remove the liriope plants from their containers, being careful not to disturb the roots excessively. If the roots are tightly bound, tease them gently to encourage outward growth.

  3. Place the liriope: Position each liriope plant in its respective planting hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil surface. Space the plants according to the design layout you planned, maintaining the recommended distance between each plant.

  4. Backfill and firm the soil: Fill in the planting holes with the excavated soil, gently firming it around the base of each plant to eliminate air pockets and provide stability.

  5. Water thoroughly: After planting, thoroughly water the liriope border to settle the soil and provide essential moisture to the newly installed plants. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged in the weeks following planting to support root establishment.

  6. Apply mulch: Once the liriope plants are in place and watered, apply a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or wood chips, around the base of the plants. Mulch helps conserve soil moisture, suppresses weeds, and maintains a consistent soil temperature.

RELATED  How To Plant Canna Lily [ Full Guide ]

Care And Maintenance Of Liriope Border

After planting liriope as a border, ongoing care and maintenance are essential to ensure the long-term health and vitality of the plants. Consider the following care practices:

  1. Watering: Liriope benefits from consistent moisture, especially during periods of dry weather. Water the border regularly, providing enough water to keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.

  2. Fertilization: In early spring, apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer specifically formulated for ornamental grasses and perennials. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application rates and methods.

  3. Division: Over time, liriope plants may become crowded and clumped, leading to reduced vigor and flowering. Periodically divide the plants by carefully digging up clumps, separating them into smaller sections, and replanting them at the appropriate spacing.

  4. Weed control: Regularly inspect the liriope border for any weeds or unwanted vegetation. Hand-pull weeds as they appear, being careful not to disturb the liriope roots.

  5. Pruning: While liriope is relatively low-maintenance, you may choose to trim back any unsightly or damaged foliage in late winter or early spring to promote fresh growth and maintain a tidy appearance.

  6. Winter protection: In regions with cold winters, consider applying a layer of mulch or straw over the liriope border to provide protection from freezing temperatures and fluctuations.

By following these care and maintenance practices, you can ensure that your liriope border remains healthy, vibrant, and visually appealing throughout the seasons.

Planting liriope as a border can add charm, structure, and year-round interest to your garden or landscape. By carefully selecting the right liriope variety, planning the border design, preparing the soil, and executing the planting process, you can create an attractive and functional border feature. Additionally, by providing ongoing care and maintenance, you can ensure that your liriope border flourishes and continues to enhance the beauty of your outdoor space for years to come.

Choosing The Right Planting Location

Liriope is a versatile and low-maintenance perennial plant that is often used as a border in gardens and landscapes. It is well-loved for its attractive grass-like foliage and showy flowers that bloom in late summer. Not only does liriope add visual interest to a border, but it also serves practical purposes such as defining boundaries, preventing erosion, and deterring weeds.

Before you begin planting liriope as a border, it’s essential to choose the right location for optimal growth. Liriope thrives in partial shade to full sun, although it typically prefers dappled shade or morning sun, especially in hot climates. It can tolerate a wide range of soil types but thrives in well-drained, fertile soil.

Consider the following factors when selecting a planting location:

  1. Sunlight: Determine whether the area receives full sun or partial shade throughout the day.
  2. Soil Drainage: Liriope prefers well-drained soil. Test the soil’s drainage by digging a hole and filling it with water. If the water drains within one hour, the soil is adequately drained.
  3. Moisture: Although liriope is relatively drought-tolerant, it benefits from consistent moisture. Avoid planting in areas prone to excessive moisture or waterlogging.
  4. pH Level: Liriope thrives in slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. Test the soil’s pH level and amend it if necessary.

How To Space Liriope Plants In The Border

Proper spacing ensures that the liriope plants have enough room to grow and spread, creating an appealing and uniform border. The spacing requirements may vary depending on the specific liriope variety you choose. Follow these general guidelines for spacing liriope plants in the border:

  1. Determine the mature width of the liriope variety you’re planting. This information is typically provided on the plant’s label or in a plant database.
  2. Calculate the number of plants you’ll need based on the desired width of the border. For example, if the mature width of the liriope variety is 12 inches and your border is 6 feet wide, you’ll need 6 plants for every 12 inches of width.
  3. Mark the desired planting locations using stakes, flags, or spray paint. This will help you establish a clear planting pattern and ensure the spacing is even.
  4. Measure the spacing distance between each planting location based on the number of plants you need per foot. For example, if you need 6 plants per foot, the spacing distance would be around 2 inches.
  5. Adjust the spacing distance based on your personal preference and aesthetic considerations. You may choose to space the plants closer together for a denser border or provide more room between them for a more natural look.

Planting Liriope In The Border

Once you have chosen the right planting location and determined the spacing, it’s time to plant liriope in the border. Follow these steps for successful planting:

  1. Preparing the soil: Before planting liriope, loosen and amend the soil if necessary. Remove any weeds or grass from the planting area. Incorporate compost or well-rotted manure into the soil to improve fertility and drainage.
  2. Digging the holes: Dig holes that are slightly wider and deeper than the root ball of the liriope plants. The depth of the hole should accommodate the root ball, with the crown of the plant at ground level.
  3. Planting the liriope: Gently remove the liriope plant from its container and loosen the roots if they are tightly bound. Place the plant in the center of the hole, ensuring that the crown is level with or slightly above the soil surface. Backfill the hole with soil, firmly pressing it around the roots.
  4. Watering: After planting, thoroughly water the liriope to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets around the roots. Keep the soil evenly moist during the establishment period, which usually lasts for several weeks.
  5. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or wood chips, around the base of the liriope plants. This will help conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Avoid piling the mulch directly against the plant’s crown.
RELATED  How To Plant Papaya Seed [ Full Guide ]

Caring For Liriope Plants In The Border

Liriope is a relatively low-maintenance plant, but it still requires some care to thrive and maintain its beauty. Follow these essential care tips for liriope plants in the border:

  1. Watering: Provide regular water to liriope plants, especially during hot and dry periods. Water deeply and infrequently rather than shallowly and frequently to encourage deep root growth. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot and other issues.
  2. Fertilizing: Liriope benefits from a balanced slow-release fertilizer applied in early spring. Follow the recommended dosage and application instructions on the fertilizer package. Avoid applying excessive nitrogen, as it can lead to excessive foliage growth and reduced flower production.
  3. Pruning: Trim back any damaged or yellowing foliage to maintain the plant’s appearance. Remove spent flower stalks to promote tidiness and prevent seed formation. In late winter or early spring, before new growth emerges, you can cut back the entire plant to around 2 inches above the ground to rejuvenate it.
  4. Weed control: Regularly inspect the border for weeds and promptly remove them. The dense growth of liriope helps suppress weed growth, but occasional weeding may still be necessary.
  5. Dividing: Over time, liriope plants can become overcrowded and may require division to maintain their vigor. Divide the plants every three to four years in early spring or fall. Dig up the clump and carefully separate it into smaller sections, ensuring that each division has a healthy root system and foliage before replanting.
  6. Winter protection: In colder regions, apply a layer of mulch around the base of liriope plants to provide insulation during the winter months. This will help protect the roots from freezing temperatures and frost heave.

Liriope is an excellent choice for creating an attractive and functional border in your garden. By choosing the right planting location, spacing the plants properly, and providing appropriate care, you can enjoy the beauty of liriope throughout the year. With its lush foliage and lovely flowers, liriope will enhance any border and bring a touch of elegance to your landscape.

Watering Liriope Plants Correctly

Liriope, also known as Lilyturf or Monkey Grass, is a versatile and attractive perennial plant that can be successfully used as a border in gardens and landscapes. It is a low-maintenance plant that requires minimal care once established and can add beauty and texture to any garden border.

Liriope plants are native to East Asia and belong to the Asparagus family. They are known for their tufted, grass-like foliage and delicate purple or white flowers that bloom in late summer or early fall. Liriope plants are not only visually appealing but are also resilient and can thrive in a wide range of growing conditions.

Proper watering is essential for the health and vitality of your liriope plants. While liriope is known to be drought-tolerant once established, it still requires regular watering during its initial growth and establishment phase.

When planting liriope as a border, follow these watering guidelines:

  1. Initial watering: After planting the liriope, water the plants deeply to ensure that the soil is thoroughly moistened. This helps in promoting root establishment. Water the plants until the soil feels moist to a depth of at least six inches.

  2. Regular watering: For the first few weeks after planting, water the liriope plants frequently to keep the soil consistently moist. A good rule of thumb is to water them every 2-3 days, or whenever the top inch of soil feels dry. Aim to water deeply, allowing the water to penetrate the soil to a depth of at least 6-8 inches.

  3. Established plant care: Once the liriope plants have become established (usually after the first growing season), they will require less frequent watering. Generally, liriope plants can thrive with one inch of water per week. However, it is important to adjust watering based on weather conditions and soil moisture levels.

  4. Avoid overwatering: Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues. Ensure that the soil drains well and does not become waterlogged. It’s a good practice to test the moisture level of the soil before watering to ensure it is not excessively wet.

Remember that it’s better to water deeply and infrequently than to provide shallow, frequent watering. Deep watering encourages the development of deep and robust root systems, promoting better plant health and survival.

Fertilizing Liriope Plants In The Border

Fertilization plays a crucial role in the growth and overall health of liriope plants. By providing the necessary nutrients, you can enhance the plant’s vigor and flowering potential. Here are some tips for fertilizing liriope plants in borders:

  1. Soil test: Before fertilizing, it is recommended to perform a soil test to determine the nutrient levels and pH of the soil. This will help you select the appropriate fertilizers and adjust the pH if necessary. Liriope plants prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range of 5.8 to 7.0.

  2. Organic matter: Before planting liriope in the border, incorporate organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure into the soil to improve its fertility and texture. This will provide a good foundation for the plants and reduce the need for excessive fertilizer applications.

  3. Slow-release fertilizer: Apply a slow-release balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 formulation, in early spring when new growth appears. Follow the package instructions for the recommended application rates. This type of fertilizer gradually releases nutrients over an extended period, providing a steady supply for the plants.

  4. Additional feedings: Liriope plants benefit from supplemental feedings throughout the growing season. Apply a water-soluble balanced fertilizer, such as a 20-20-20 or 10-10-10, every 4-6 weeks from spring to summer. This will ensure that the plants receive a continual supply of nutrients for optimal growth and flowering.

  5. Avoid excessive fertilization: While liriope plants benefit from regular fertilization, it’s important not to overdo it. Over-fertilizing can lead to excessive foliage growth and reduced flower production. Follow the recommended application rates and avoid applying fertilizer too close to the base of the plants to prevent burns.

RELATED  How To Plant Rye Grass [ Full Guide ]

Pruning Liriope In The Border

Pruning liriope plants is not necessary for their survival but can be done to maintain an attractive appearance and promote better growth. Pruning helps remove old, damaged, or unsightly foliage, and prevents the plants from becoming overgrown and invasive. Here are some pruning tips for liriope in the border:

  1. Spring cleanup: In early spring, before new growth emerges, remove any dead or damaged leaves by cutting them back to the base of the plant. This will encourage fresh foliage to grow and give the plants a tidy appearance.

  2. Shearing: If your liriope has become overgrown or untidy, you can shear the foliage back to about 2-3 inches above the ground in early spring or late winter. This rejuvenation pruning will promote new growth and help maintain a more compact and uniform appearance. Use clean and sharp shears or hedge trimmers for the best results.

  3. Dividing: Over time, liriope can become congested and develop a thick mat of roots that inhibits healthy growth. Dividing the plants every 3-4 years can help rejuvenate them and promote better flowering. To divide liriope, dig up the clumps in early spring or late fall, and carefully separate them into smaller sections using a sharp spade or garden knife. Replant the divided sections in their desired locations, ensuring they have enough space to grow and thrive.

  4. Trimming flowers: If desired, you can remove the spent flower spikes after they have finished blooming. Simply cut them back to the base of the plant using sharp pruning shears. This will help maintain a neater appearance and prevent the plants from diverting energy into seed production.

Remember to clean and sanitize your pruning tools before and after use to prevent the spread of diseases. This can be done by wiping the blades with rubbing alcohol or a diluted bleach solution.

Overcoming Common Problems With Growing Liriope

While liriope plants are generally easy to grow and maintain, they can encounter a few common problems. By being aware of these issues, you can take proactive measures to prevent or address them. Here are some common problems with growing liriope and how to overcome them:

  1. Improper drainage: Liriope plants require well-draining soil to prevent root rot and other moisture-related issues. If you notice that the soil in your border retains water excessively, consider amending it with organic matter or creating raised beds to improve drainage. Avoid planting liriope in low-lying areas prone to waterlogging.

  2. Pests: Liriope plants are generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, they can occasionally be affected by spider mites, aphids, or slugs. Monitor your plants regularly for any signs of pest infestation, such as distorted foliage, leaf discoloration, or sticky residues. Treat affected plants with appropriate insecticides or use organic pest control methods, such as neem oil or insecticidal soap.

  3. Invasive growth: Some varieties of liriope, such as Liriope spicata, have a more aggressive spreading habit and can become invasive if not properly contained. To prevent unwanted spreading, consider planting clumping varieties of liriope, such as Liriope muscari, which have a more compact growth habit. Alternatively, installing a physical barrier, such as a metal or plastic edging, can help contain the plants and prevent them from encroaching on other areas of the garden.

  4. Winter damage: In colder regions, liriope plants may experience winter damage. The foliage can turn brown or suffer from frostburn. To protect the plants during winter, apply a layer of mulch (such as straw or shredded bark) around the base of the plants. This will insulate the roots and provide some protection against freezing temperatures. Avoid using heavy or compacted mulch that could smother the plants.

  5. Nutrient deficiencies: Liriope plants may exhibit nutrient deficiencies if the soil lacks essential minerals. Symptoms of nutrient deficiencies include yellowing or chlorosis of the leaves, stunted growth, and poor flowering. If nutrient deficiencies are suspected, perform a soil test to identify any nutrient imbalances and adjust fertilization accordingly. Adding organic matter and regular feeding will generally help prevent nutrient deficiencies.


Planting liriope as a border in your garden can be a rewarding and visually appealing choice. With proper care and maintenance, liriope plants can add texture, color, and elegance to your landscape. From watering correctly and providing adequate fertilization to pruning and addressing common problems, this guide has provided comprehensive information for successfully growing liriope in a border. Remember to tailor the care to your specific growing conditions and enjoy the beauty and versatility of liriope in your garden.


What Is The Best Time Of Year To Plant Liriope As A Border?

The best time to plant liriope is in the early spring or fall when the weather is cool and there is consistent rainfall.

How Far Apart Should I Space Each Liriope Plant When Creating A Border?

Liriope plants should be spaced 12-18 inches apart to allow for proper growth and a full border.

What Type Of Soil Is Best For Liriope Plants?

Liriope thrives in well-drained, moist soil with a pH level of 6.0-7.0. You can also amend the soil with compost to improve its nutrient content.

How Much Sunlight Do Liriope Plants Need?

Liriope plants are adaptable and can grow in both full sun and partial shade. However, they will perform best in partial shade, with a few hours of morning or late afternoon sun.

How Often Should I Water Liriope Border Plants?

Liriope plants should be watered deeply once a week during the first growing season to establish their root system. After that, they are drought-tolerant and only require occasional watering during periods of extreme heat or dryness.