Dasylirion is quite the favorite among landscapers because it can be pruned like the top of a pineapple. No matter where you live, this one is hard to miss because of its naturally rosette-like shape.
Over time the plant forms something that resembles a trunk and can grow to be up to 6 feet in height, which makes them outdoor plants. So, they are an excellent choice for large landscapes and spacious gardens. Here are how you take care of them and some varieties.
- 1 How to Grow and Care For Dasylirion
- 2 How to Propagate Dasylirion
- 3 Types of Dasylirion Plants
- 3.1 Dasylirion acrotrichum (Great Desert Spoon)
- 3.2 Dasylirion berlandieri
- 3.3 Dasylirion cedrosanum
- 3.4 Dasylirion gentryi
- 3.5 Dasylirion glaucophyllum
- 3.6 Dasylirion graminifolium
- 3.7 Dasylirion leiophyllum (Smooth Sotol)
- 3.8 Dasylirion longissimum (Toothless Sotol)
- 3.9 Dasylirion longistylum
- 3.10 Dasylirion micropterum
- 3.11 Dasylirion miquihuanense
- 3.12 Dasylirion occidentalis
- 3.13 Dasylirion palaciosii
- 3.14 Dasylirion parryanum
- 3.15 Dasylirion quadrangulatum
- 3.16 Dasylirion sereke
- 3.17 Dasylirion serratifolium
- 3.18 Dasylirion texanum (Texas Sotol)
- 3.19 Dasylirion wheeleri (Wheeler Sotol)
- 4 FAQs
How to Grow and Care For Dasylirion
Sometimes called the spoon yucca plant, these plants are originally from the deserts of North America. They are perennial shrubs that are related to Agave plants. Dasylirion plants are semi-succulents and grow well in dry regions like Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
This is a dense plant with long silver-blue leaves that takes its own sweet time to grow. So, be patient. These slender leaves can grow up to 4 feet both in height and width. Over time, you will see a short structure that looks like a trunk and has teeth and dark red margins. These teeth can lead to cuts which is why extreme caution is advised when dealing with these plants.
On the bright side, they have a lovely natural shape which means pruning isn’t really necessary unless you’re doing design experiments in the landscape. When the plant matures, it will produce tall, spiky flowers that can grow 10-15 feet tall which is another reason to grow these plants outdoors.
They must be cultivated in early spring or late fall and you must wait 7-10 years to see the flowers which bloom in late spring or early summer. The females will have purple-pink flowers and the males will have creamy yellow flowers.
These plants love full sunlight and grow well in reflected heat. They can even handle a little bit of shade and humidity despite their desert origins. So, keep their surroundings as close to their natural habitat as possible for the plant to thrive. However, if it is inevitably going to get some shade, make sure the plant gets at least six hours of direct, bright sunlight.
This is a desert plant which means it has a good level of drought resistance. Watering the plants once every couple of weeks in the summer till it is established that it is good enough. Once you enter the winter season, you can bring that down to once every 2-4 weeks. Once a month is also good enough depending on your region’s climatic conditions.
Make sure the hose is pointed to the bottom of the plant to make sure the crown doesn’t get too much moisture. This can cause root rot.
Dasylirion plants need well-drained soil because they are desert plants that are also semi-succulents. So, as you would expect, this plant is not very good at handling extreme winters. So, if you are growing them outside of the hardiness zones that are recommended, you must place them in a container for protection.
Make sure the pot has enough space for a grown Desert Spoon plant because these plants are also not very good with frequent transplants and repotting exercises. The potting mix and the container must both be well-drained.
It has to be porous and drain well like sand or garden loam. This plant also does not have a lot of salt tolerance, which means you can’t plant it near the ocean. Luckily, it is not picky with the pH level of the soil. So, that’s one less thing to worry about.
Once the plant is well established, it grows well on its own. So, you don’t have to feed fertilizers. But you can add a little balanced fertilizer in spring, which is its growing season, for an extra boost of nutrients.
This is a desert plant which means it thrives in dry and hot climates. It has good drought and heat tolerance but starts getting stressed when the temperatures go above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The same goes for cold weather when the temperatures go below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Propagate Dasylirion
The best way to propagate Dasylirion plants is to cultivate seeds. But this process does take a lot longer during germination. It also takes the plant a lot of time to get established when it is being grown through seeds.
So, you can also propagate them through cuttings.
Types of Dasylirion Plants
Dasylirion acrotrichum (Great Desert Spoon)
Dasylirion cedrosanum is a beautiful robust, perennial, evergreen plant from Northern Mexico, similar to Dasylirion wheeleri although the leaves may be slightly wider. The rosettes are for many years stemless, but old specimens may form a short, stocky trunk topped by a spectacular, broom of countless leaves and showing a graceful symmetry. Sometimes a plant has more than one trunk. Withstanding intense drought, they can live more than 150 years.
Dasylirion leiophyllum (Smooth Sotol)
Dasylirion longissimum (Toothless Sotol)
The Dasylirion longissimum is a slow-growing durable evergreen shrub that looks like a miniature palm with a large fountain-like clump of very stiff grassy leaves, eventually forming (after many many years) a solitary trunk, most resembling the genus Xanthorea, the grass trees of Australia. (completely unrelated, though) Even the flower spikes look similar. This appearance makes it very easy to identify. Withstanding intense drought, they can live more than 150 years. It is possibly the most beautiful “sotol”.
Dasylirion serratifolium is a subacaulescent Yucca-like plant that forms dense hemispherical rosettes of leaves up to 100-200 cm in height and diameter. These rosettes are perfectly symmetrical. The leaves are narrow, prominently serrate, and armed with flexible prickles. The tips of which are fanned out to wide brushes.
Dasylirion texanum (Texas Sotol)
Dasylirion wheeleri (Wheeler Sotol)
The Dasylirion wheeleri is a moderate to slow-growing mounding evergreen shrub. The grass-like succulent leaves radiate from the center of the plant’s apex in all directions.
1,000 Types of Succulents with Pictures
How Do You Pronounce Dasylirion?
It’s almost exactly as the spelling goes. It is pronounced as ‘daz-ee-lee-ri-un’.
Why Is It Called Desert Spoon?
Because the base of the plant has an inward curve that is shaped like a spoon. Also, the middle of the trunk is stubby and is covered by a bunch of dead leaves.
How Often Does a Desert Spoon Bloom?
You can expect the desert spoon flowers to start blooming in late December and it goes on throughout the spring season. If you want to keep them blooming for a longer period of time, you can remove the stalks of the flowers which keeps them going for another flush. But remember that these stalks attract hummingbirds and bees.