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Pruning Liriope - Best Practices

Liriope muscari


When is the best time to prune my liriope? Is cutting it all the way to the ground really needed? - Elaine L., Glen Allen, VA

'Dr. Drew':

A popular ground cover, liriope is a low maintenance plant suitable to spots shady or sunny, dry or wet, level or sloping. For best results in Richmond VA, we recommend shearing it to ground level each winter. Here are the basics:


Liriope spicata (spreading variety) blooms white during summer months. Considered aggressive, it puts out runners that can travel beneath walkways or into adjacent plant beds. Spreading can be controlled by planting in shady spots or in contained areas.

Liriope muscari (clumping variety) blooms purple during summer months. Suitable for borders or accenting garden beds, this variety blooms where it is planted. Also available in variegated varieties.


Prune liriope by cutting it back to ground level during winter, careful to complete before new growth occurs. In Richmond, we time pruning to occur in January (and certainly no later than February) due to erratic Richmond weather. A period of sustained warmth can trigger early growth - at which point pruning is not recommended.

Is cutting back liriope needed? No, but once the pruning window has closed you will have to live with what you have. Depending on variety, location (sunny vs. shady), and how it has fared over the past year, your liriope could look ragged until next winter.


If you have any questions about liriope, when or how to prune, or its suitability to your gardens or yard, please contact 'Dr. Drew' at Terra Firma Landscaping and we'd be happy to help!

Occasionally we answer questions from customers with concerns about plant material, suitability and maintenance practices. If you have a question, please email us.

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