While I had my terrarium open for the Cryptocoryne pictures the other day I decided to shoot my small Tillandsia collection at the same time.
Tillandsia ionantha ‘Selecta’ – when I bought this one the mother plant still had the just finished but already dry and brown flowers on her. And a little pup on the side. Thought it would be fun to grow it out and have been happy to see the mother hold on for something like 2 years now. No new growth but still there. From my reading about Tillandsia seed pods it can take well over a year for the pod to ripen so this is likely why the mother plant holds on for so long (it seems like it takes a long time for these plants to do anything!).
Tillandsia NOID – had been ID’d as T. albida… but no. It had a slight resemblance when it was younger but it doesn’t grow like an albida and has a smoother leaf. When I bought this the leaves had a purple cast to them but I guess my lower light has left them green.
Tillandsia NOID – I got this as a “small” pup off a larger plant but did not get an ID. There are many Tillandsias with this sort of look and I doubt I’ll be able to figure out which it is until it flowers.
I really want to try and get a lot of these mounted but I don’t have any suitable wood and I’m worried that once mounted I won’t have anywhere bright enough to mount them. Currently they hang in wire loops off eggcrate in my terrarium. This has caused the first of my NOIDs to take on a strongly one sided growth habit.
I’ll likely mount the second NOID anyway simply because it’s getting too big for my tank anyway and I saw the mother plant… It’s going to get bigger. Depending on what wood I find I might mount T. ionantha ‘Guatemala’ too so I won’t keep breaking leaves off it when I soak them.
I’d also like to pick up a T. stricta and a
T. cyanea (got one) at least. I’ve seen a few shots today as well of T. funckiana which looks fantastic as a clump (though I’m really not a fan of most other Tillansias that develop stems. T. ionantha ‘Druid’ or ‘Peach’ – both have very nice colour when flowering. ‘Druid’ has white flowers and a slightly less intense (this is probably very similar to the wood I’ll be looking to pick up) colour while ‘Peach’ has the more usual blue flowers. I think I’ll have to look for both.
Other than those four I’ll just have to see what’s available and go from there.
For care I keep mine under less light than they probably want. No water except when I soak my Aerangis biloba, at which point these get thrown in the bucket while the orchid hangs on the side. I drain them before re-hanging them so no water sits in the crown. They would probably benefit from a misting between soakings but it’s a bit of a pain. I’ll probably be soaking them more often this year though and already since I started actually looking after them I’m seeing much better growth and no dry tips recently. T. ionantha ‘Mexico’ is even sending out new roots (only one that ever has grown roots and it keeps doing it…). Since they get soaked with my Aerangis they get fertilized with it too. Will be interesting to see the effect my goal of “fertilize more” will have on these guys.
For me there’s no obsession here, no strong drive to collect more, just an interest and appreciation for an unusual but fairly easy and generally small plant.