Unearthly-looking Sapphire Tower now in bloom at San Diego Botanic Garden

Characterized by unearthly, metallic-looking, deep turquoise blooms, that are punctuated by bright orange anthers, the Puya alpestris, commonly known as the Sapphire Tower, looks like nothing else in the plant world.

This striking flower that often causes visitors to say ‘Is this REAL?’ is now in bloom at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas.

sapphiretower A native plant of South America, this Chilean species is a member of the pineapple family, with flowers measuring two-inches across with a number of them blooming up an 18” spike (or tower) over a two to three week time frame.

The botanical garden anticipates a ‘Sapphire Tower Superbloom,’ as at least a dozen other inflorescences (clusters of flower buds arranged on a spike) have been spotted by the Horticulture Team around the Garden.

The Sapphire Tower that is currently in bloom is located in the South American Garden. According to Dave Ehrlinger, former horticulture director at the Garden, the Sapphire Towers at the Garden were most likely planted by Ruth Larabee, former owner of the property, that now houses more than 5,000 species of plants in 29 uniquely-themed gardens over 37 acres.

About San Diego Botanic Garden

Named as one of the “Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Traveling For” by the American Gardens Association, San Diego Botanic Garden is a beautiful urban retreat nestled on 37-acres in the midst of Encinitas. Visitors enjoy restful vistas, flowering trees, majestic palms and the nation’s largest bamboo collection.

Thanks to the mild Southern California climate, 5,000 plant species from all over the world thrive here. The diverse topography provides a wide variety of microclimates, giving visitors the sensation of strolling through a tropical rainforest to hiking in the high desert. Four miles of trails wind through 29 uniquely themed gardens including the acclaimed Hamilton Children’s Garden, with fun areas to play in for kids of all ages including Toni’s Tree House.

San Diego Botanic Garden is located at:

230 Quail Gardens Drive

Encinitas, CA 92024


(760) 436-3036

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