Dasylirion wheeleri

Desert Spoon, Spoon Flower, Sotol

(2 customer reviews)

From £49.95

Dasylirion wheeleri is a stem succulent related to yucca and agave that forms a beautifully regular dome of leaves, each long and thin, waxy coated with serrated margins and tufted at the end.

The colour of the Desert Spoon is variable, often blue-grey, sometimes mid-green and quite often twisted giving each leaf a kind of spiral effect.

Origin: Northern Mexico and Southwestern US
Genus: Dasylirion
Species / Cultivar: wheeleri
Common Name: Desert Spoon, Spoon Flower, Sotol

Plant Biography

Dasylirion wheeleri is native to the Northern parts of Mexico and Southwestern United States, the name literally means “dense” or “shaggy” + lilly.

Above the foliage, a massive flower stalk grows in summer reaching up to 5 m in height. The plant is dioecious, meaning that the male and female plants are separated, with males having mostly white flowers while the female flowers are purple-pink.

In Mexico, the inner core of the plant is being fermented and distilled, resulting in an alcoholic drink similar to tequila or mezcal, called sotol. Locals in the west part of Mexico are using its leaves to weave baskets and holiday decorations after stripping the leaves of their spines.

Dasylirion wheeleri
Soil: Well drained
Soil that does not show much signs of moisture, either visibly or when handled.
Temperature: 1 - 35°C
Temperature range at which this plant is healthiest and grows best.
Growth Rate: Slow
This plant is particularly slow to grow, even during growing season.
Water Requirement: Low
Will grow in a drier position and is unlikely to need regular watering once established.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Full Sun
Wants direct, unfiltered sunlight most of the day, such as a south facing position.
Eventual Height: 4 - 8m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 1 - 1.5m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Half Hardy
Will need protection from frosts in order to survive winter, eg. with fleece jacket.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.
Lifecycle: Perennial
This plant is persistant and does not die off after flowering. It will return each season indefinitely, if provided with suitable growing conditions.

Expert Tip

The Desert Spoon is a perfect plant for a Mediterranean or arid garden. Position at the front, where it's perfectly symmetrical rosette can add an architectural interest.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Dasylirion wheeleri is an easy to care for arid plant. It grows happy in well drained soils and full sun and it’s incredibly drought tolerant. Once planted, it does not require much care, though a deep watering every now and then in summer will promote rapid growth.

In cultivation the plant apparently has a tendency to rot in heavy soils and so requires good drainage.

Virtually pest and disease free, but scale insects may find the underside of the Dasylirion’s leaves a good home. Make sure to inspect the plant at least once a year in spring.

Once the flowers are spent, the flower stalk can be cut down to the centre of the plant’s crown.

Prickly in all directions

Prickly in all directions

The main feature of the Dasylirion family is the small prickles that are found on the edge of the leaves. These prickles can be straight, curved forward or recurved towards the leaf base.

Some species have a mixture of different prickle arrangements and some have smaller prickles between the large ones. These prickles are vicious, giving the leaves the appearance and feel of small serrated kitchen knives that clearly deter animals from eating them!

This plant will also send up a huge flower spike if its happy–my last one was 15ft! Have two in pots in Torquay and they seem to winter well as do all varieties of Dasylirion!

Peter Coster

This plant will also send up a huge flower spike if its happy–my last one was 15ft! Have two in pots in Torquay and they seem to winter well as do all varieties of Dasylirion!

2 customer reviews for Dasylirion wheeleri

This plant will also send up a huge flower spike if its happy–my last one was 15ft! Have two in pots in Torquay and they seem to winter well as do all varieties of Dasylirion!

Peter Coster

I bought one of these from The Palm Centre last year. I have it planted close to a SE facing wall with other arid blue/grey foliage plants such as Yucca Rostrata, Yucca Linearis and Chamearops Cerifera.Looks great, and growing well!

Tim