Rare and Strange Flower In Bloom At San Diego Botanic Garden

A sapphire tower plant with electric-teal colored flowers has bloomed for the first time in three years at the San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG). The buds of a second tower are expected to open in late April.

“The electric-teal color of the flowers is really something that has to be experienced in person to fully appreciate,” said SDBG Communications and External Relations Manager Ashley Grable. “Each sapphire tower has dozens of blooms in a gorgeous jewel tone that is rare to see in nature. It’s quite a treat to enjoy this plant’s first bloom in three years.”

The sapphire tower is native to the mountains of Chile, the Puya alpestris is a terrestrial bromeliad that has low water needs, grows well in dry conditions, and tolerates wind and light frost, making it well suited to San Diego’s coastal climate. The flowers produce abundant nectar, which attracts hummingbirds.

If you'd like to have one of these brilliant plants in your garden, SDBG will be selling a limited number of young sapphire plants in their gift shop, but you'll need to be patient since it could take 15 years for the plant to mature and produce flowers.

SDBG is open Wednesdays through Mondays from 9am - 5pm. Visit their website at sdbgarden.org for more details.

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