Dasylirion wheeleri

desert spoon
Grows into a thick blue globe of twisted, hooked leaves that is compelling with age. Tall, thin, upright flower-stalks.
Dasylirion wheeleriDasylirion wheeleriDasylirion wheeleriDasylirion wheeleri
height 2–5ft
width 3–6ft
tolerates Drought, Heat, Pots, Rooftops, Neglect, Wind
Dasylirions are unusual plants from North American deserts. They are exceptionally drought tolerant, especially once established. They will love a sunny hot spot, but they’ll want summer water every week or two for the first few years to get established, since summer is when they receive rainfall in nature.

Yellowing or sickly browning of leaves is a sign of overwatering or not enough drainage.
exposure Part Shade – Full Sun
drainage In Ground: Cactus Mix, In Pots: Cactus Mix, Tolerates Sandy Soil
fertilizing All Purpose
origin SW USA

Sunset Zones Map

Outdoor Exposure Guide


Full Sun
Six or more hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Shade
Three to five hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Sun
One to two hours of sun beams directly landing on the plants leaves.

Full Shade
The plant is never fully lit by sun beams, but is in a bright spot or has dappled sunbeams playing over the leaves throughout the day.

Deep Shade
The plant never has dappled light on the leaves, and is in a place that feels dim, even on a nice sunny day.


Growing Notes

Dasylirions create a head of many long, thin leaves in an orb shape over a stout trunk that varies in height by species. You can either let these leaves age and turn into a beard as they would in nature, or prune off the oldest leaves as they age and get replaced by new ones from the crown. Pruning the lower leaves will expose the trunk, giving the plant a clean textured look over time. This can also make it easier to weed around the base of your plant, especially with the spinier dasylirion species.
Generally dasylirions remain solitary, though they do sometimes split from the top and grow into multi-trunked forms with great age.
To create a fountain-like appearance, prune lower leaves higher up, until the lowest leaves are at an upward angle. This will also narrow the spread of your dasylirion.
Adding to the uniqueness of these plants, a centimeter or less of the leaf tips will naturally brown and even become tufted over time.

Special Interest

While tequila and mescal are made from agave, there is a less well known liquor named sotol which is distilled from dasylirions. Sotol is the official spirit of the Mexican state of Chihuahua where it has a designated appellation origin. However, it’s frequently distilled in many areas within dasylerions native ranges, including the Texas hill country, where the spirit is growing in popularity.

Once mature, dasylirions have tall thin flower spikes during summer, up to ten feet tall! They are similar to agave flowers, in that they are a central spear covered in small flowers, but since dasylirions aren’t monocarpic your plant will continue to live on beyond their flowers. Remove the spike once it’s fully matured. Since dasylirions are either male or female, your flower spikes will reflect the gender of the plant, being different in color and shape. Flowers bloom in understated earthy tones.