San Marcos Growers LogoSan Marcos Growers
New User
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
Nursery Closure
Search Utilities
Plant Database
Search Plant Name
Detail Search Avanced Search Go Button
Search by size, origins,
details, cultural needs
Website Search Search Website GO button
Search for any word
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


  for MARCH

Natives at San Marcos Growers
Succulents at San Marcos Growers
 Weather Station

Products > Puya alpestris
Puya alpestris - Sapphire Tower
Image of Puya alpestris
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
Summer Dry: 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 often not every year, appear turquoise blue-green flowers (sometimes called metallic or "unearthly") with vivid orange stamen anthers held on branched 3 to 4 foot tall stalks. Each branch of the inflorescence terminates in a long sterile branch that acts as a perch for nectar feeding birds - flowers are also very attractive to bees as the nectar is sweet. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil where it is drought tolerant but it 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. 

Information about Puya alpestris displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.