Amanda MackinnonMy (not so) secret easy-care plant

Can you relate to this – you get to know a plant, and it’s so easy and so good and so versatile that you nearly don’t want to tell anyone about it? Well, I am going to let mine out of the bag. Liriope ‘Emerald Cascade’ is one of those hardy plants that it’s virtually impossible to kill. It looks lush year round, and is great for tricky shady spots.

Liriope Emerald Cascade is a great border plant

Liriope Emerald Cascade is a great border plant

Put your non- gardening friends onto this one, they will love it.

Liriope Emerald Cascade in colourful pots at my front door

Liriope Emerald Cascade in colourful pots at my front door

Liriope ‘Emerald Cascade’ is a low growing, tough-as-nails performer. It is perfect for shady spots like under the eaves, underneath tree canopies and in the shade of verandahs. I have a collection at my front door in some funky pots (you can get those at and everyone always comments on them. This area is a no-sun and no rain zone and they look great all year round.

So a big tick for shade. They also get a big tick for dry tolerance which is why you can have them in neglected corners and they seem to thrive on hardly any water. It doesn’t matter if you forget about them for a while.

Liriope Emerald Cascade at Amandas 24You can plant it as a dense border, it will give a really lush effect. But it looks equally good in containers. It would look great along a shady poolside too if your lucky enough to have one. You don’t need to be overly fussy about the shade – it still handles the sun. I just wouldn’t put it in blaring all day sun locations and expect it to look its absolute best. It’s claim to fame is definitely being a ‘low light’ master.

Liriope emerald-cascade indoor pot plantLiriope emerald-cascade growing in waterThe other thing I love about Liriope ‘Emerald Cascade’ is that it is great indoors too – a great bonus. We have multiple containers and all thriving – both in very small and bigger display pots. They don’t give any telltale signs of being thirsty like most other indoor plants.

I have one ‘Emerald Cascade’ at home in the direct path of our main heat pump. It’s four years old and it’s never had any problems. It stands up very well to temperature variations, and the ongoing blast of winter heat coming its way. When everything else in your house is looking worse for wear, you’ll find ‘Emerald Cascade’ is still pushing on.

Liriope Emerald Cascade at Amandas 29

Everyone enjoys Emerald Cascade

‘Emerald Cascade’ has quite a dramatic appearance with its weeping emerald green foliage. It also produces cobalt blue berries in the spring and summer however these are a secondary feature to the foliage itself. Just think shade and think dry and you’ve the perfect solution.

So my secret’s out!

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Amanda Mackinnon

About Amanda Mackinnon

Amanda's career has taken her on a remarkable journey through science, education, international business and communication. Living in a busy male dominated household – chasing around 2 noisy boys, one friendly golden retriever, a cheeky ginger cat and her husband, it’s no wonder she finds solace in the quiet beauty of plants! Amanda writes regularly for a variety of publications and is passionate about all things happening on the little island at the edge of the world.

17 thoughts on “My (not so) secret easy-care plant

    • Amanda grows this plant herself, all the photos are in her own garden, (including featuring her own pets) and it is not a sponsored post. Working in the horticulture industry shouldn’t preclude her from sharing her own personal gardening recommendations.
      Why is this Liriope boring – because it doesn’t have spectacular flowers? Not all plants should be ‘stars’. I’m often on the lookout for something that functions as a rich green backdrop for other foliage colours or bright flowers. It’s an essential part of good planting design.

  1. Hi Michael,

    My plants had experienced light frosts with no problems. We also have plants performing well in more challenging parts of Vic and NSW. I would certainly think it is worth trialling a couple in your garden over this winter to see how they go. It is always hard to make sweeping statements about frost tolerance as local conditions can vary greatly as I cam sure you can appreciate.

    • I certainly can appreciate that, Amanda. Case-in-point: Wisteria. Anywhere you travel in England in May you’ll see wisteria happily in bloom. The flower buds are totally frosted here on my Woodend, Victoria property resulting in no flowers whatsoever, and I’ve recently heard that it’s the same in parts of the hinterland of Queensland. My problem is as much about being open to the eastern horizon as it is to any hard temperature stats – further reinforcing your point.

  2. Hi Lyn,
    What’s boring?? I love this plant have grown it in a container on my verandah for a few years. Despite a general lack of care, irregular watering and no direct light stil makes a beautiful dark green statement at my front door. Have also seen grown as a great border plant under deciduous trees in the ‘Dandenongs’.

  3. I think Liriope is great too, and (for Michael) it has been completely hardy in both my Cambridge and west of Scotland gardens. The only problem I have with it in Scotland is that some little garden visitor seems to attack the leaves. Doesn’t kill the plant but the leaves always look a bit shredded at the ends and any flower stalks don’t get a chance to develop so it never flowers. I know the foliage is the main thing but it would be nice to have the flowers too (they flower in late summer and autumn here, when lots of things are dying back). Some other plants with similar habit get the same treatment e.g. day lilies, Sisyrinchium, and the flower stalks of Iris ensata and Japanese anemones. No tell-tale slimy trails, so I don’t think it’s slugs. Some sort of bird, maybe (pheasants??) Any ideas, anyone? And if anyone has a solution as well as identification of the culprit, that would be even better. So far, all I can think of is to cover the plants with netting cages, which hardly looks attractive.

  4. It was good to see this article as I have this on my list of favourites in my new garden.
    I am hoping that it will grow well in an area close to the coast in WA where it will receive quite a bit of sun. I thought it would be a good plant to grow next to the pool – no mess and lush looking. What would be a good plant to contrast it with?

    • Hi Deb – I don’t think it will do so well in full sun next to a pool in WA as it’s more of a shade lover. Amanda is travelling at the moment without much email contact but she’ll let you know her thoughts soon.

      • Hi Deb,
        I have seen some great plantings alongside pools, but on the shady side, not in full sun. They can certainly handle a little sun but I wouldn’t plant them in a typical hot, all-day sun location. If you have a hot spot, take a look at Leptospermum Fore Shore (on – makes a great low hedge and loves the sun and coastal locations.

        • Thank you Amanda and Catherine for that info. I will have to rethink my plant selection. I will have a look at Leptospermum Foreshore. I was hoping to put something low maintenance that didn’t need pruning as the beds are very close to the pool. I am now thinking of some of the dianella range.

          • I have just realised that I have made a mistake – I am looking at Dianella Emerald Tasmanica. I think this will be suitable for a sunny position.

  5. Thank you Amanda for this article. I love it when someone reminds me that if you take a ‘typical’ plant out of its ‘typical’ spot in the garden and use it some other how – you have a brand new favourite!

  6. I love the diversity of Liriope plants. This plant seems to be mainly available in southern Australia and not available in QLD.
    Still looking for this cultivar but cannot find it locally.

  7. Hi Paul,

    Plants Management Australia distribute this plant in Oz, so jump on their website and they will no doubt be able to help you out with availability. Cheers Amanda

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