Desert Spoon, Sotol
Native to deserts and mountains of the Southwest and Mexico. Clumps of narrow, grassy leaves spring from a woody base that can, with age, grow into a treelike trunk. Tiny flowers are tightly clustered on a tall, narrow spike. Provide good drainage. Very drought-tolerant, but some irrigation will speed growth. Definitely needs summer water in low desert Zone 13.
Forms a near-spherical clump 3–5 ft. high, 4–5 ft. wide. Stiff, spiky, bluish gray leaves to 3 ft. long have teeth along the edges. Leaves slowly form a trunk to 3 ft. tall, covered with dried, drooping shag of old leaves. Base of each leaf broadens where it joins the trunk to form a long-handled “spoon” prized in dried arrangements. Eventually produces white flowers on a 9–15-ft.-tall spike in early summer.
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Annual in colder climates. Native to South America; naturalized in California. Border plant to 3&ndash...