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Products > Puya alpestris
 
Puya alpestris - Sapphire Tower
  

 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Bromeliaceae (Bromeliads)
Origin: Chile (South America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Turquoise
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [Puya whytea]
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 3-5 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Drought Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Puya alpestris (Sapphire Tower) - This plant forms a 2-3 foot tall clump to rosettes of recurving, spiny-margined, light green leaves that are silver-gray beneath. The leaves about 1 inch wide at their base and narrowing along the 18-24 inches in length. In spring, but usually not every year, appear turquoise blue-green flowers (sometimes called metallic or "unearthly") with vivid orange stamens that are held on a branching 3 to 4 foot tall stalks in the spring. Each branch of the inflorescence terminates in a long sterile branch with pink bracts that acts as a perch for nectar feeding birds - flowers are also very attractive to bees. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil where it is drought tolerant but can also be irrigated more regularly. Hardy to temperatures as low as 18 F for short durations - our garden plant undamaged at the temperature in our historic December 1990 freeze and also weathered the cold spell in 2007 with 3 nights to 25 F. It is native to high barren slopes in the Andes of southern Chile and Argentina. The name for the genus come from the Chilean name used for the species Puya chilensis and the specific name 'alpestris' is the Latin word for alpine, in reference to where this plant is native to in the Chilean Andes. It is sometimes confused with the larger Puya berteroniana which has much longer (to 4-5 feet) and wider (to 2-3 inches) leaves and flowers that are a kelly green color.  This description is based on our research and our observations of this plant growing in containers at our nursery, in our own garden and in other gardens. We always appreciate receiving feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or have additional cultural tips that would aid others growing Puya alpestris .
 
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