Plant of the Month: Tillandsias by Bruce Dunstan.
Bruce brought a whole table of flowering Tillandsias to share.
T multicaulus grows above 1,500m, is native to Central America,
and produces many spikes through the axils of the leaves:
T complanata also grows at high elevation.
Bruce has a clone acclimatized to low elevation:
It has multiple axillary spikes. It’s an unusual bromeliad in that it flowers yearly and does not die after blooming. It needs another unrelated clone to effect pollination, and offsets are rare.
So most specimens are grown from seed. (see plant in the competition).
There are several subgroups within the genus Tillandsia, and one group includes
the green flowering Mexicans. These include T ionantha.
T ionantha 'Fuego' forms a tight clump, which turns red as blooming approaches:
T chiapensis is a popular beautiful plant that is costly, and not easy to obtain.
Bruce grows them in 50mm orchid bark, shoves the pup into that,
and tops up with smaller bark, and fertilizer.
T edithae exists in two forms, one with more scurf and has a whiter appearance,
and a green form with much less scurf:
T tectorums grow well in full sun, and might rot with all this recent rain. Bruce pointed to varieties within the species. The Peruvian filiform form has blue flowers, different from the Ecuador form:
T lotteae has a beautiful lanceolate yellow spike, and is endemic to Bolivia:
T ramellae on show had three spikes, and comes from Paraguay.
T duratii var. saxitilis has a lovely scent, and grows upward staying above the canopy, seeking the sun. They attach to the canopy with their very curly leaves. Bruce has difficulty harvesting pups- they tend to die!
One group of similar Tillandsias include cacticola, straminea, and purpureae. They are similar and can be confused. All thrive in the dry climate of coastal Peru and Ecuador, have tall spikes, rich in trichomes, purpurea is fragrant.
Thanks Bruce for sharing some interesting blooming Tillandsias.