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DASYLIRION longissimum

Image of Dasylirion longissimum

James H. Schutte

Family

Agavaceae

Botanical Name

DASYLIRION longissimum

Plant Common Name

Smooth Desert Spoon, Smooth Sotol

General Description

The fine wiry leaves of this incredible desert plant create such a sculptural look they are coveted by modern landscape designers. Smooth sotal is native to the dry brushy hillsides and arroyos of northeastern Mexico. Its dense rosette of foliage is stemless but very mature specimens develop a stout trunk-like base, though this is rarely seen in cultivated landscapes.

This is an annual bloomer that sends up a very tall spike of flowers from its center topped with loads of small flowers that cover up to a third of its length. The bloom looks a lot like a giant torch or poker. The flower stem becomes woody with age and the flowers are replaced by dry brown fruits. These can be left to add architectural beauty to the landscape or cut and used in dry arrangements.

Like most arid species, smooth sotal needs full sun and very well drained soil; fertility is secondary. This is a top notch specimen plant for the low desert garden, because it readily stands up to intense heat and little cold. It is best suited to large, open, arid gardens where it can achieve its full, magnificent stature.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    12 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m

  • Width

    6'-8' / 1.8m - 2.4m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring

  • Native To

    Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No