Plant of the Month
Photos: Rachel Cobb
(the old scientific name is Dasylirion longissimum by which it is often labeled in nurseries)
Common Name: Mexican Grass Tree
Origin: Northeastern Mexico
Features/Uses: Long (3-4’), narrow, evergreen leaves that extend rigidly from the trunk in all directions form a spherical-shaped, living sculpture. The fiber optic-like leaves are stiff without spines and four-angled in cross section. This grass tree is a spectacular fine-textured, specimen plant, unlike any other plant except the Australian grass tree, particularly Xanthorrhoea quadrangulatum. Mexican grass trees are easily grown as striking container plants.
Older plants develop short trunks and produce towering bloom spikes up to 10-12 feet tall. The individual flowers are not showy, but the skyrocket form of the bloom spike is dramatic.
Note: although this is an uncommon plant, nurseries are beginning to stock small plants in 1-2 gallon containers. They are relatively slow growing, yet will grow faster with supplemental water.
Bloom Time: Late Winter to Summer
Cultural Requirements: Well drained soils, very drought tolerant. Although full sun is best, part shade and light shade is fine.
Where in the Garden: East of the Admissions booth at the edge of the Australian garden