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Puya alpestris (Sapphire Tower)

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Scientific Name

Puya alpestris Gay

Common Names

Sapphire Tower

Synonyms

Puya alpestris subsp. alpestris, Pitcairnia alpestris, Pourretia alpestris

Scientific Classification

Family: Bromeliaceae
Subfamily: Pitcairnioideae
Genus: Puya

Description

Puya alpestris is an amazing plant that forms a up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall clump to rosettes of recurving, spiny-margined, light green leaves that are silver-gray beneath. The leaves are up to 2 feet (60 cm) long and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. In spring, but usually not every year, appear turquoise blue-green flowers with vivid orange stamens that are held on a branching, up to 4 feet (1.2 m) tall stalks in the spring. Each branch of the inflorescence terminates in a long sterile branch with pink bracts.

Photo via d852.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

You can get Blue Puya seed and start the plants yourself in a greenhouse. Puya are slow to germinate and require temperatures of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). Use a well-drained potting soil in a seed flat. Keep the seeds moderately moist until they sprout. Once you see seedlings, move the flat to a brightly lit area with protection from the harsh light of midday.

Transplant the seedlings when they have formed a rosette. Plants can tolerate a crowded pot. In USDA zones 8 to 11, you can transplant rosettes to the garden but in other zones they will have to be moved indoors in winter. Up until the cold temperatures appear, Blue Puya makes a great patio specimen.

Water Puya plants in the ground once per week in summer. Potted plants should be watered when the top couple of inches of soil have dried out. Water the plant only once per month in winter when the plant is dormant. Fertilize with a diluted succulent food or indoor plant food in spring. Remove spent foliage from the rosettes for best appearance… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Blue Puya

Origin

It is native to Chilean Andes.

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