Friday, March 11, 2011

New Plant Variety of 2011

It seems that with each new year in the garden, a group of plants I have never tried before captures my attention.  For 2011, it appears that the group will be the Tillandsias.  This genera exhibits incredible diversity in size, shape and form.  I'm not confident that they would be able to withstand our winters, so they'll be outdoors for most of the year, but spend time inside during the cold.  Information on their care can be found both at Plant Oddities and at Air Plants.

Sounds like most varieties should avoid direct sunlight - I can certainly provide shade.  They prefer humid conditions with frequent watering - hmm, pretty humid here most of the time, but may require me to spray the hose in their direction more often than is my norm (will have to watch that).  Seems like they like good air circulation - this might be the hardest to provide; once summer arrives, the few breezes that make it through the trees and the fence tend to lessen.  Will have to position them as best I can to provide some air movement.

Since they are epiphytes, they can be attached to pretty much anything (as long as it doesn't hold water; though they like moisture, they don't like sitting in it).  I actually used Liquid Nails to affix mine to a couple pieces of old wood (Liquid Nails dries to a white color; would have preferred clear - though plant should hide).

I started with five plants of four varieties.  Not sure if I'll be getting any more, but once a plant group has my attention, they become hard to resist (and there is space on that larger piece of wood...and I have already snagged another gnarly piece of wood - and there are so many more tempting cultivars...).

Tillandsia ionantha 'Ron': This is the only variety for which I purchased two
(how could I refuse a cultivar named 'Ron'!). 

Tillandsia ionantha 'Fuego': This is the only one showing some color; online research
indicates that Tillandsias change leaf color as they begin to bloom.

Tillandsia ionantha 'Rosita': Many of the Tillandsias also form clumps, so though it may look lonely
in its mounted location, it will hopefully pup and form a small colony.

Tillandsia jucunda: This was the largest specimen and the only one already in bloom.
From what I can gather, pupping usually follows blooming.

Will have to find the right spot in the garden so the plants can be appreciated.  They are small but, combined with interesting pieces of wood, they still capture ones attention.


  1. Your last picture brings it all together for me and I can really catch a glimpse of your vision. It looks good. Very creative idea. Keep us posted on how they do.

  2. I've been wanting to try tillandsias myself, ever since I saw a really cool display in the Albuquerque botanical garden. They're so... Dr. Seussian. Thanks for the links to online sources!

  3. That last picture brought up the idea of what I can do to "dress up" one of my flower beds that really is in shade for most time of the day. What regards air circulation, well... I guess I can only hope for a little breeze to come through once in a while at least. LOL
    I love the idea of planting some Tillandsias on some old drift wood. Thanks also for the idea of using liquid nails.
    Take Care
    Paula Jo

  4. Elgin: You're quit welcome re: links; another for diagnosing problems is Anwyl Bromeliads - here's hoping neither of us ever need it!

    PJ: Got the idea of glue from the mentioned sites; still seems weird using glue on a plant though.