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Desert Spoon, Blue Sotol

Dasylirion wheeleri

Family: Asparagaceae
Genus: Dasylirion (das-il-LIR-ee-on) (Info)
Species: wheeleri (WHEE-ler-ee) (Info)
Synonym:Dasylirion wheeleri var. wislizeni


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage

Foliage Color:




36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Arivaca, Arizona

Oracle, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona(2 reports)

Rio Rico, Arizona

Tonto Basin, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona(2 reports)

Acton, California

Carmichael, California

Clayton, California

Encino, California

Fairfield, California

Long Beach, California

Pittsburg, California

Reseda, California

San Diego, California

San Leandro, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Valley Center, California

Visalia, California

Vista, California(9 reports)

Trout, Louisiana

Henderson, Nevada

Albuquerque, New Mexico(3 reports)

Elephant Butte, New Mexico

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

Emerald Isle, North Carolina

Simpsonville, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Austin, Texas

Dripping Springs, Texas

El Paso, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Winters, Texas

Richfield, Utah

South Jordan, Utah

Seattle, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 24, 2014, 1077011947 from Greer, SC wrote:

...love this plant. It is the centerpiece of my Xeric bed with Agave, hesperaloe, yucca, iceplant, opuntia, Echeveria 'Topsy Turvy' and others. Beautiful!


On May 29, 2012, JulioABQ from Albuquerque, NM wrote:

This plant does very well in the high desert where winter temperatures can dip to the low single digits and even negative numbers and at the same time summer temperatures can reach innthe 100's with constant droughts. Here in Albuquerque, NM they are planted all over and do very well.


On Dec 1, 2006, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

I've seen these growing in the wild in Tonto Basin, AZ; Oracle AZ; and on the West Ruby Road Trail in Arizona (South of Tucson), off of Interstate 19 through to Ruby, AZ and on to Arivaca, AZ.


On Sep 2, 2006, thistlesifter from Vista, CA wrote:

This specimen was grown from tiny seedling for over 20 years in this location. It has flowered once before and will split now to 4 heads over time. It splits upon each flowering. Eventually under hard conditions, it should form a trunk. It is a beautiful light blue though not so visible in the attached photo.

Easy care in the right location. It is a valuable addition to almost any garden that has the space to accommodate it.



On May 8, 2005, angele wrote:

A favorite desert plant, I like it so much I purchased one for my yard.


On Jan 31, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

This species can be treated in the same manner as agaves to produce food and liquor (sotol) The tough leaves can be woven into mats and baskets and used for thatching.

The spoon like base is often used in dried flower arrangements.

It's range is Southern AZ, east to West TX , and also into Northern Mexico.


On Jan 20, 2005, cacti_lover from Henderson, NV (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant is widely planted here in Henderson and it does very well. Very drought tollerant and good for xeriscaping. The leaves are indeed dangerous and should be planted away from foot traffic. This plant looks very handsome when the older lower leaves are cut off leaving the base bare. It resembles a pineapple. The bell-shaped white flowers are actually very small, but are clustered on a tall inflorescence that grows 8'-12' tall.


On Jul 25, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This species of Dasylirion is a little more commonly grown in southern California (U.S.) as specimen plants or additions to xeriscapes. It is called the Desert Spoon since its leaves are flat and slightly cupped, holding water at its spoon shaped base where it attaches to the trunk (It has to be removed to see this shape).

Unlike the other commonly grown species, D longissimus (quadrangularis), the leaves on this species are viciously spiny and can easily cause bleeding if just brushed up against. One of the reasons Dasylirions are used in landscaping is their unique geometically perfect globoid lumps with hundreds of perfectly arranged leaves coming out in all directions. Some D wheeleri have green leaves, but the more commonly planted specimens have blue-silver leaves... read more