Tillandsia Chiapensis, One has bloomed over 3 months ago and has 3 pups growing nicely. The other has yet to bloom the purple flowers. Both still sport the pretty pink scape.
WELCOME Tillandsia Lovers
It is my intention to create a site where information as well as photos are available together in one place, for the average enthusiast, using simple understandable words.
29 years ago, when I first fell in love with Tillandsias, there was no information to be found. I learned by trial and error what worked and what didn't. Since then books have been written that gave both information and/or photos of blooming plants. My favorite is Tillandsia by Paul T. Isley III. It has beautiful photos as well as information on where each plant lives in nature. It also has a phonic spelling of each plant name. I was very surprised at how many of the names I was mispronouncing. The book contains the most commonly available and in-expensive species and satisfied the collector in me. It is out of print now and very hard to find. Most of the information here is from this book, everything else I tried to express as best I could by comparing what I learned with what I found by growing new species and hybrids. Not all information is 'written in stone', some may be off a little and should be taken only as a guideline. Also, depending on the area and weather conditions where you live, some information may not fit because I am living in a very humid, subtropical area.
As my knowledge grew, so did my desire to try growing the more exotic ones. They were starting to become popular and were being discovered in remote areas of Latin America, which is where they all come from. The only other place they are found is in certain parts of the Southern United States. Again I had to experience by trial and error.
On my first visit to Puerto Rico to visit my new in-laws, I was amazed to find them growing wild everywhere. These very friendly people quickly offered me a tour of the island, 110 miles long by 40 wide.
My most memorable trip was to El Yunque, a large mountain rainforest were growth was very lush and beautiful. You could see Tillandsias and orchids everywhere. As my eyes grew large and my mouth hung open, my in-laws laughed, good naturedly, as this was a common place to them.
Since El Yunque is a protected rainforest I was not allowed to get souvenirs, but they brought me to the winding mountain country roads where I could collect till my heart was content. Of course it never was. As I craned my neck in the front seat of the car I spied a most beautiful blooming, and largest I've ever seen Tillandsia perched on a branch growing perpendicular from a cliff with about a 200 foot drop. I begged my husband to please get it for me and he bravely scooted along the branch to retrieve my prize. This plant was about 3 feet in diameter with a 2 foot bloom spike. Luckily we were traveling in a station wagon and it fit in the back. We returned home after a whole day of sightseeing and collecting a few more Tillandsias as well as some wild growing orchids. When my husband washed the plant off to allow for inspection on our return flight home, the biggest, ugliest black hairy spider crawled out making my decision to never go treasure hunting again. Imagine if that critter had decided to come out inside the car.
My plant made the trip home and lived long enough to finish blooming and produce a tiny baby before it died. My mistake was not making its new home condition similar to its old, as much as possible. Humidity was not the problem, as Louisiana is as humid as Puerto Rico, but in its natural home growing in lush mountainous forests where it got very little sun light. I had it sitting in too much sun even though I had trees around for part time shade.
My "addiction" still not satisfied with what was available locally, I searched large nurseries from other states. Deciding that I could not afford all the different and beautiful plants now available I decided to order wholesale, keeping one or two of each for myself and mounting the others to sell in the yearly Craft Show my husband put on for Special Olympics and Charity fund raising events. This worked out well, I even wrote up a pamphlet on how to care for Tillandsias, but it was only general information on water, light and air circulation. I soon got calls from people wanting more generalized information on each plant. I of course had my wonderful book and was happy to help when I could but some of the plants were not listed in the back and I could find no information about them. That is, until I discovered the internet. The first place I found when I did a search on Tillandsias was the Florida Council of Bromeliad Society. There I found pictures of some I have never seen in bloom. I recommend that you visit this site for hundreds of pictures of both Tillandsias and Bromeliads.
That did it for me. I had to have some of these beautiful flowering plants and risk losing some to learn from. I had already learned that the stiffer, grayer leaf plants like more light and less water, while the softer, greener leaf plants prefer more water and less light, and most were very adaptable, tolerating conditions other than ideal. They adjust to most new environments and survive for a long time without attention.
I found that I didn't need to be afraid of trying some new ones. But they were everywhere, I had them hanging on by fish line on walls, under the eaves of the house, on fallen tree limbs and stuck in clay pots, hanging from planters, under the trees and in nursery trays sitting up on bricks all over my deck. I loved them all but this was just too many. Some of them were getting very large from generations of growing and overflowing the mounting material. That's when I decided to sell some online but there were so few people that knew anything about tillandsia, nobody would buy them.
I learned there are a lot of people like myself out there, who love Tillandsias, but didn't know much about caring for them. I was able to help them with available information but had to use suggested care on a lot of others. I started searching the internet and found a little more information but the terms used were very hard to understand and most information was spread out in so many different areas that it would take hours of searching and I just didn't have the time. I realized that a place was needed where a person could get information on care all in one place, so I decided to take what I had available and start my own web page to share information as I find it and hope other more knowledgeable persons would contribute a bit of their information. What a success it has been.
I welcome any suggestions and or pictures from anyone who has information on the Tillandsias not shown. Even if you are a novice but have had success with a certain species, or a craft or mounted plant photo, please feel free to share it. I realize this will take a long time and it may never get completed because there are so many different ones. I have received hints from people more knowledgeable than myself and I know the information is out there just waiting to be collected. I want so bad to learn all about new ones and I'm sure there are others wanting the same thing. And please feel free to contact me any time with questions or if you just want to chat, this is my favorite subject.
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