Puya alpestris sapphire_tower flowersSapphire Tower is a succulent native to the Chilean Andes and in the pineapple family. It produces a rosette of arching gray-green leaves with backward pointing spines on their margins. Each leaf is about one inch wide at its base and eighteen to twenty four inches long. In the spring of random years, a large branching stalk three to four feet tall is produced bearing flowers two inches across. The flowers are variously described as sapphire blue, teal, and tourquise blue-green in color and have bright orange anthers. Bees and hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers by the abundant amount of nectar they produce and the birds sit on the sterile branches between the flowers to feed. The color of the long lasting flowers is very unique in the plant kingdom and makes sapphire tower a focal point the garden. Its drought and heat tolerance and recommend for use in xeriscape.

Type: Succulent

Puya alpestris leavesBloom: Teal flowers with orange anthers are produced on heavy stalks in spring

Size: 2-3′ H x 3-5′ W; flowering stalk 3-4′ H

Light: Full sun; tolerates light shade

Soil: average, medium to dry; drought tolerant

Care: Low maintenance; beware of the spines on the leaves when working around the rosette of leaves.

Hardiness: Zones 8-11

Pests and Diseases: fungal diseases, mealy bugs, aphids

Propagation: Seed, division

Companion Plants: Cactus, agave, yucca.

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By Karen