Tillandsia on bloom

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

~Dorothy Frances Gurney, “Garden Thoughts”


Tilandsia stricta

“It’s lavender!” I exclaimed when I saw the three-petal minute flowers about 0.7 cm width of my Tillandsia stricta. It never occurred to me that the blossoms would look so dainty. I thought the tough peach things were the flowers, I realized they were just bracts.

It’s foliage has a rosette form. (See the photos. I featured the top photo in my post last June 23.) The leaves are grayish-green, needle-like, somewhat tough and leathery. What I loved about Tillandsia is that it doesn’t need soil to survive and fertilizer to flower. I attached it to a driftwood and placed it in an area where it could get sunlight and partial shade. Since it came to my garden during the wet season, I just watered it when necessary to avoid drowning

This air plant came to my garden via my friend Hermie. She found this at a garden show in Manila last June. The lady selling her this plant told her that it came from Brazil. After two months, I guess it had finally adjusted to my garden. I’m still observing its growth and habits though.



Tillandsia ionantha

I was so happy to see the blue flowers of my Tillandsia ionantha. When I featured this air plant in my driftwood composition (post last June 23), its leaves were just grayish-green (or a yummy color description would be green sprinkled with sugar-like coating). After barely two months clinging on that driftwood, some of the Tillandsia’s leaves turned red and two striking purplish-blue flowers bloomed.

This plant originally came from Mexico and some plant collectors brought this species into the Philippines.  I happened to acquire one specimen thru my friend Hermie (she found this in a garden show in Manila). Hermie told me that she winced when she saw the price tag; she couldn’t comprehend why such a tiny plant would cost that much than a Philodendron. Well, to me it was justly priced because it’s rare and I’m a collector of rare air plants.


What I’m collecting now: Tillandsias

While most of the green-thumbs here in Lanao del Norte are into Philodendrons, I’m into Tillandsias. I’ve given all of my Philodendrons to plant buddies to have room for new plants. This morning, I’ve finished my latest composition on driftwood featuring the air plants called Tillandsia.

I saw these exotic plants at a Garden Fair held here in my hometown during the Araw ng Tubod, 2000. The lady who was selling the Tillandsia cyanea and Tillandsia funckiana told me that these air plants came from Peru, Mexico and  South America. After I asked her the FYI’s of these plants, I bought cultivars of both species.

Truly, they are easy to cultivate; I simply put them on driftwood for they don’t need soil medium to survive. Also, these epiphytes have no fuss when they reproduce. Take for example my T. funckiana; the single plant produces numerous offsets called “pups”. When roots appear on the offsets, the “pups” just separate themselves from the mother plant. I’ve given some of the offsets of that species to my plant buddies as gifts.

Presently, I have five species of Tillandsia: T. funckiana, T. cyanea, T. bulbosa, T. ionantha and the hybrid T. leonamiana x T. aeranthos.  So far, I’m so intrigued with their pretty blooms that I want to collect more. Anyway, these are the details of my composition:


The Air-Dwellers

What I liked about this epiphyte, Tillandsia funckiana, is it doesn’t need soil to survive. Its essentials are the following: (1) water and nutrients which are absorbed through the leaves, (2) sunlight, and (3) a driftwood for the plant roots to cling to.

I remembered that when I first saw this plant at a garden show in the mid 1990’s; a small offset had a price tag of P150.00 that time. It’s pricey for such a small plant. nevertheless, I bought one out of curiosity. Despite of my ignorance, the single offset multiplied and yielded bright orange flowers blooming at the tip of each stem.