Dasylirion wheeleri, commonly known as Desert Spoon, is a striking and low-maintenance plant well-suited for beginners. Native to the deserts of Mexico and parts of the United States, this plant is adapted to thrive in hot, dry environments and is very drought-tolerant.
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of growing and caring for Desert Spoons and provide some tips on how to keep this plant thriving.
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About Dasylirion wheeleri
Desert Spoon is an evergreen shrub that grows from a thick, woody base. It has long, spiky leaves that radiate out from the center of the succulent and can grow up to six feet tall. These leaves are blue-gray in color and bear small white flowers in the summertime.
One of the key features of Dasylirion wheeleri is its architectural form, with tall, slender, spiky leaves that radiate out from the base of the plant. These leaves can grow up to six feet tall and are a blue-gray color that provides a striking contrast against the plant’s brown stems. In the summer, Desert Spoon produces small, fragrant flowers that bear seeds as they grow.
Desert Spoon Care
Despite its desert origins, Desert Spoon is surprisingly easy to care for. It prefers well-draining potting mix and full sun and only needs to be watered occasionally. It is also relatively resistant to pests and diseases, making it a low-maintenance choice for those new to gardening.
As a native of hot, dry regions, this plant is adapted to thrive in full sun. In fact, it is likely to become leggy and produce fewer flowers if it does not receive enough sun. Therefore, it is important to plant Desert Spoon in an area that gets plenty of direct sunlight, such as a south-facing or west-facing location.
Desert Spoon plants prefer well-draining soil and do not tolerate standing water. You can choose to amend the soil with sand or grit to improve drainage.
The watering frequency will depend on your plant’s specific growing conditions, including the type of soil, the amount of light it receives, and the humidity level. In general, Desert Spoon plants will only need to be watered once every week during the summer and even less frequently during the winter.
Desert Spoon plants are adapted to thrive in hot, dry conditions and can handle a wide range of temperatures. In their native habitat, they are exposed to extreme heat and cold and can tolerate temperatures as low as 40°F and as high as 90°F.
Unlike many of their cousins, the Dasylirion wheeleri plants can handle a bit of moisture in the air. They can handle humidity levels as high as 75%, but they will do best with around 50% humidity.
Desert Spoon plants do not require frequent fertilization to thrive and are likely to suffer from over-fertilization. These plants are adapted to grow in poor, sandy soils and do not need rich soil or frequent fertilization to grow well.
If you do choose to fertilize your Desert Spoon plant, use a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of approximately 10-10-10 (NPK).
Desert Spoon plants do not require frequent pruning but can benefit from occasional maintenance pruning to remove damaged or dead leaves and to encourage new growth. Be sure to cut the leaves as close to the base of the succulent as possible to minimize the appearance of stubs.
Potting and Repotting Desert Spoon
Desert Spoon plants do not require frequent repotting and can typically go several years before needing a larger pot. To determine if your plant needs to be repotted, check the root system. If the roots are tightly packed, and there is no room for growth, it is time to repot the succulent into a larger container.
How to Repot (Step-by-Step)
- Remove the plant from its container.
- Place the plant in its new container.
- Fill it with soil, leaving about an inch of space at the top for water to drain.
- Water thoroughly and let it sit for a few hours before placing back in the sun.
Propagating Dasylirion wheeleri by seeds (Step-by-Step)
Propagating Desert Spoon plants from seeds is a relatively simple process that can allow you to grow new plants for your garden or for sharing with friends.
- Collect seeds from ripe fruit on the plant or purchase seeds from a reputable seed supplier.
- Fill a seed tray or pots with a well-draining potting mix specifically formulated for cactus and succulent plants.
- Sow the seeds on the soil’s surface, spacing them out evenly. Cover the seeds lightly with a layer of soil or sand.
- Water the soil gently, using a watering can or a fine mist sprayer. Be sure not to wash the seeds away or disturb them.
- Place the tray in a location that gets plenty of indirect sunlight, and keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
- Once the seedlings have germinated and are large enough to handle, carefully transplant them into individual pots or into the ground. Be sure to use well-draining potting mix and provide plenty of sunlight.
Desert Spoon plants produce small, fragrant white or pink flowers in the summer, followed by red or purple fruit. The flowers are borne on tall, slender stalks that rise above the foliage, adding an element of interest to the plant.
Dasylirion wheeleri are not toxic to humans or pets and can be safely grown in gardens with children and pets. However, it is important to handle the plant carefully, as the leaves are sharp and can cause injury.
NOTE: This page is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. The toxicity of an ingested substance varies depending on the amount ingested, the animal’s weight, and its sensitivity to specific allergens. Contact your veterinarian or local animal poison control center immediately if you think your pet may have ingested a toxic substance.
These tiny pests live on the underside of leaves and cause them to appear yellow or brown, which can lead to plant death if left untreated. Spider mites are easily controlled with a strong spray of water from your garden hose.
Mealybugs are small, white insects that can infest Desert Spoon plants and cause damage to the leaves and stems. To control mealybugs, you can try wiping them off the succulent with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or treating the plant with a commercial insecticide specifically formulated for mealybugs.
Aphids are small, pear-shaped insects that can infest Desert Spoon plants and suck the sap from the leaves, causing them to yellow and wilt. To control aphids, you can try spraying the plant with a strong blast of water to knock them off or treating the plant with a commercial insecticide specifically formulated for aphids.
- Placing under harsh sunlight
- Using poorly drained potting mediums
- Fertilizing during dormancy