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DASYLIRION wheeleri

Image of Dasylirion wheeleri

Maureen Gilmer

Family

Agavaceae

Botanical Name

DASYLIRION wheeleri

Plant Common Name

Wheeler's Sotol

General Description

The beautiful long, flattened, icy blue leaves of Wheeler's sotol form a magnificent rosette. This desert plant is native to Arizona and New Mexico, extending south into parts of arid northern Mexico. Its pointed, ribbon like leaves are edged with small curved teeth, creating a formidable deterrent to browsing wildlife. As it matures, the rosette develops a dense trunk-like base.

This annual bloomer sends up very tall flower spikes from its center topped with loads of small flowers that cover up half of its length. The bloom looks almost like a giant torch or poker. The 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, green sotal needs full sun and very well drained soil; fertility is secondary. Consider this a 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 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m

  • Width

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring

  • Native To

    Southwestern United States, Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • 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)

    Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Blue 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

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No