Dasylirion longissimum -The Mexican Grass Tree
Dasylirion longissimum is a striking plant which slowly grows like a large clump of very stiff wiry grass, and after many years eventually forms a trunk which can reach 10-15 feet tall. This plant has a hemispherical form and unique long sculptural leaves making it perfect for focal point specimen plantings and large containers. Large multi-branched specimens have leaves tht move in the wind and provide a sense of movement different than regular tree leaves.
The leaves of Dasylirion longissimum are thin (1/4″) and long (4-6′), quadrangular in cross section, and arranged in a rosette. They are flexible, unspined .
The plant’s flowers are born on tall stalks about 10 to 15 feet above the plant, with the top one quarter to one third of the stalks holding the tan to cream flowers. Dasylirion longissimum are dioecious, and require both male and female plants to set seed. Flowering occurs in winter. This can be difficult because the do not always flower at the same time. Also bees may be reluctant to visit if there are not a lot of other flowers of the same species available. Once dead and dried out the flower shaft can be removed. You can expect a short period of asymmetry as the head divides into two. The leaves tend to get deformed as it divides. After about 1 year you have two symmetrical heads.
It is also great in xeriscapes and large succulent and cactus gardens. Flowers are attractive to wildlife—making the plant a nice choice for desert wildlife gardens as well. It is very pretty when lighted from below. The leaves are suprizingly pliant and not very sharp. They are not as dangerous as might appear in photo.
Dasylirion longissimum is fire-resistant and unloved by deer and rodents. We have many of these boxed specimens available for projects. View our Boxed Plant Gallery.
Names and Synonyms: Dasylirion quadrangulatum, Dasylirion longissimum
Common Names: Mexican Grass Tree, Longleaf Sotol
Origin: Mexico and southern Arizona
Cold Tolerance: 15 to 20°F, -9.4 to -6.7°C
Heat Tolerance: Extremely heat tolerant
Light Requirement: Full sun to very light shade
Water needs: Very drought tolerant, but the plant grows faster with some irrigation. Avoid watering the crown which can cause fungal rots.
Maintenance: Trim older dead leaves to reveal trunk if desired.
Uses: Best as large focal plant in pot or Landscape.
Propagation: Seeds can be collected and sown.
Problems: Root and fungal rots in poor draining, wet soils.
There is a minimum purchase of any 4 plants for online orders. All plants shipped bare root. Other sizes may be available for pick up from our growing grounds in Fallbrook, CA. For more information, give us a call at 760-990-4762.
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