How To Grow Desert Spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri) In Your Garden

Dasylirion wheeleri, commonly known as the Desert Spoon or Wheeler's Sotol, is a sculptural, evergreen perennial.

It is characterized by a dense rosette of slender, blue-green leaves. Desert Spoon typically reaches 3 to 6 feet (0.9 to 1.8 meters) in height, and has a similar spread.

Dasylirion wheeleri, the Wheelers Sotol
Dasylirion wheeleri photograph by James St. John; CC.

The unique foliage and robust nature of this plant make it a favored choice for xeriscape gardens and desert-themed landscapes.

It thrives in USDA hardiness zones 7/8 to 11, and is not invasive in the USA.

How to Grow Dasylirion wheeleri in the Garden

Dasylirion wheeleri performs best when grown in full sun exposure, as this allows it to maintain a compact growth habit.

It is exceptionally drought-tolerant and well-suited to dry, rocky, well-drained soils. While it can withstand a wide range of pH levels, it prefers slightly acidic to neutral soils.

Spring is the optimal planting time for the Desert Spoon plant. Prepare a hole twice as wide and the same depth as the root ball, position the plant, backfill with soil, and water thoroughly.

Desert Spoon
Desert Spoon image by Homer Edward Price; CC.

Once established, it requires minimal watering. This makes it an excellent choice for areas requiring water-efficient gardens. During its first year of growth, water moderately to ensure proper root establishment.

Fertilization is generally not required, but a balanced fertilizer can be used in spring if desired.

Pruning is unnecessary, except to remove old flower stalks and damaged or spent leaves.

Watch out for scale and diseases such as root rot, which can be prevented with proper watering practices.

By incorporating Dasylirion wheeleri into your garden, you're not only adding a plant of unique visual interest, but also one that is highly adaptable and low maintenance. It is excellent choice for a sustainable and water-efficient landscape gardening.

How to Grow Dasylirion wheeleri as a Houseplant

Dasylirion wheeleri is well-suited for indoor cultivation. Ideally create a desert-like environment in your home. Place the plant in a sunny location, and maintain temperatures from 70-85°F (21-29°C).

Plant it in a well-draining soil, such as a cactus mix. Allow soil to dry between waterings, ensuring it doesn't become overly saturated (to prevent root rot).

Fertilize with a balanced liquid fertilizer once every two months during the growing season. Avoid overwatering and provide ample space for the plant's spiky foliage to grow.

Quick Dasylirion wheeleri Growing and Care Guide

Scientific Name: Dasylirion wheeleri.

Common Name(s): Desert Spoon, Spoon Yucca.

Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 8-11.

Best Used For / Garden Location: Xeriscaping, desert gardens, as a focal point.

Plant Details

Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial.

Plant Height: 3-6 ft (0.9-1.8 m).

Plant Spread: 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 m).

Blooms: Late spring to early summer.

Flower Details: Tall flower stalks with small, white flowers.

Leaf Foliage: Blue-green, long, slender leaves with spiky edges.

Fruit: Small, hard fruit on flower stalks.

Growing Conditions and Location

Best Light Conditions: Full sun.

Suitable Soil Types: Well-drained soils; prefers sandy or rocky soil.

Sowing / planting: Not applicable. Plant young plants in spring.

Germination time: Not applicable for this plant.

Propagation: Seed or division in spring.

Plant Care: Very low maintenance; water sparingly and avoid overwatering.

Growing in pots and containers: Can be grown in large pots with good drainage.

Growing as a Houseplant: Not recommended due to size and sunlight requirements.

Further Information

Miscellaneous: Drought-tolerant. Attractive to birds. Not known to be invasive.

Pests and diseases: Generally pest-free. Possible issues include agave snout weevil.

Common Cultivars / Varieties: No known cultivars.

Family: Asparagaceae, the Asparagus family.

Native: Native to southwestern U.S. and Mexico.

References and Further Reading: eFloras; USDA Fire effects of Dasylirion wheeleri; UofA Campus Arboretum.

Common Questions

Does Dasylirion wheeleri make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Absolutely, Dasylirion wheeleri is a dramatic, hardy choice for xeriscape gardens and use in desert landscaping. This is due to its drought tolerance and unique appearance.

Is Dasylirion wheeleri a fragrant plant?

Dasylirion wheeleri is not generally recognized for its fragrance. The appeal of this plant is its sculptural form, and its adaptation to arid environments.

What is the perfect location to grow Desert Spoon?

Desert Spoon does best in full sun and requires a well-drained soil. It is highly drought-tolerant, making it perfect for dry, sandy, or rocky conditions.

Is Dasylirion wheeleri invasive in the USA?

No, not considered invasive, indeed it is native to the Southwest of the USA.

How do I remove Dasylirion wheeleri from my garden?

Removing Dasylirion wheeleri can be challenging due to its size and spiky leaves. It's best to cut back the plant before attempting to dig out the root ball. For larger plants, consider hiring a professional gardener or landscaping expert to help remove it.


Dasylirion wheeleri is a desert plant that needs a well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. Highly drought-tolerant, it's suitable for xeriscaping or rock gardens, adding unique texture with its symmetrical rosette of slender leaves.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Dasylirion wheeleri. You may also enjoy the following xeriscaping plant growing guides: How to grow California Fuchsia, Yucca Filamentosa Bright Edge, Germander, and Yucca plant in the garden.

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