Rare and strange flower in bloom at the San Diego Botanical Garden


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

“The electric teal color of the flowers is truly something that needs to be experienced in person to be fully appreciated,” said Ashley Grable, SDBG communications and outreach manager. “Each sapphire tower has dozens of flowers in a beautiful jewel tone that are rare to see in nature. It’s a treat to enjoy this plant’s first bloom in three years.

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

If you want to have one of these brilliant plants in your garden, SDBG will sell a limited number of sapphire seedlings in their gift shop, but you’ll need to be patient as it could take 15 years for the plant to mature and produce flowers.

SDBG is open Wednesday to Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit their website at sdbgarden.org for more details.


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