Hailing from southern United States and Mexico, there are eighteen species belonging to this genus of somewhat thin-leaved, yucca-like evergreen shrubs, trees, and perennial succulents, indigenous to arid deserts and mountainous areas in their native habitats.
Only in recent years have these amazing hedgehog-like plants been available in the British Isles. They are very distinctive in shape and form, working well in arid Mediterranean-style gardens, where they provide architectural form year-round. There are some good specimens in the Tresco Abbey Garden in southwest England that have taken temperatures down to a chilly –8°C. Fairly large-trunked specimens can now be bought in some specialist nurseries.
Dasylirion’s seem quite accommodating in their soil requirements, being less fussy than agaves and probably on a par with most yuccas. As long as the soil drains, they should be okay. Once planted they never need additional water, though the odd deep watering during summer would encourage more rapid growth.
It is excellent as a coastal plant that is tolerant of salt winds. It also works well in containers and pots as it requires minimal attention.
Latin name: Dasylirion serratifolium
Common Name: Desert Spoon, Sotol
Ease of growing: Easy
Position: Full sun – very dry and hot, though they do like a good flash-flood summer rain!
Soil conditions: Well drained soil