Toothless Sotol, Mexican Grass Tree
Dasylirion longissimum is a succulent plant related to Yucca and Agave that slowly grows a thick, beautifully scarred trunk from which erupts a tufted head of narrow, rigid, 4-angled green leaves, each with a slightly withered tip, reminiscent of a fibre-optic lamp.
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Dasylirion longissimum is native to the Northern Mexico Chihuahuan Desert and Southwestern of United States. Dasylirion longissimum are dioecious, so the plants are separated in male and femaile plants. The female plant bears decorative reddish seeds after flowering.
The plant’s name has been the subject of long debates and it was considered identical to Dasylirion quadrangulatum, but now the two are considered to be two different species, inhabiting two different areas of Mexico. Even today, the two names are used interchangeably by some growers as the only way to differentiate them is by flowers, which are not emerging that often in colder climate gardens.
Care & Size Guidance
The Toothless Sotol seems quite adaptable, having sailed though the last two winters in many gardens outside in the UK, and is the perfect companion for yucca and agave in milder gardens. It is equally happy given pot culture and moved somewhere dry and frost-free for winter.
The Dasylirion longissimum is cold hardy down to -9 degrees for short periods of time, provided the plant is kept dry. Cover with a horticultural fleece when frost is forecasted. The plant should be kept in a dry unheated conservatory over if the cold periods are extended.
Small plants (usually with no trunk developed) are usually reasonably priced, however due the slow growth rate, more mature plants become expensive really fast.