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.





The following are tillandsias I have successfully grown or others have contributed information on.  The information may not be used for any purpose other than learning about tillandsia air plants.


Abdita Mexican form resembles a brachycaulos. Forming a 6 to 8in rosette of wide light green leaves that are soft and shiny, it flushes a bright red when in bloom. No scape, blue flowers. One of the most dramatic color changes in the bromeliad world. Easy grower. Likes medium light and plenty of water. Leaves allowed to stay damp tend to rot and dead lower leaves should be removed 


Looks similar to a brachycaulos, being rosette in shape. It has a soft almost succulent leaf with fuzzy hairs or scales called trichome, which allow the plant to absorb moisture from the air. It seems to like bright light and minimum amounts of water. The upper end of  the flower takes on a  papery, ridged look and is bright pink or fuchsia with  bright light green petals and a yellow stamen.


Pronounced eye-rahn'-thos  it grows in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay. The leaves are spreading to erect, densely emanating in all directions from an obvious stem, and are narrowly triangular and long , tapering to a point. The succulent leaf blades are only slightly channeled when hydrated, but the edges are deeply curled up and thinner when dehydrated. The scape is slender and exerts the bloom spike beyond the leaves. The floral bracts are ruby red and the flared petals of the flowers are indigo often so dark they appear black. It blooms annually and the entire flowering cycle lasts close to a month. It roots fast and quickly attaches to the mounting material. Argentines refer to this favored plant as clavelles del aire, in English , carnations of the sky.  It was even immortalized in song. The tango Clavel del Aire was scored and lyricized by Juan de Dios Filiberto and F. Silva Valdez in 1935. It usually produces three to six offsets after blooming and in a few years when it develops into a clump and blooms it’s a sight to behold.  


This one has more of a stemmed shape with dark green leaves that grow upward the entire length. The floral bract is darker fuchsia with more of a blue flower. Requires more moisture due to the fact that the leaves are stiff and shiny and do not absorb well. It pups all along the stem.


Pronounced all-bear-tee-ah'-na,   They are restricted to a small area of the Andean  foothills in northwestern Argentina, and like areas somewhat shaded from all day sun, moderate patio conditions provide the perfect environment. It is normally found growing on rocks in dense clumps on cliffs over looking  mountain streams. The terrain is rugged and the weather is unpredictable in this part of the country. This is truly a  jewel, the bloom is enormous in relation to the plant size and vibrant cherry in color which is rare for a tillandsia. They are so hardy you can grow them anywhere given enough moisture and they pup readily even before blooms making a good size clump in just one generation. NOTE: Do not pull the dead leaves away while this one is pupping. The stiff dead leaves offer support to the tiny pups while they are growing roots, if you take them off, the pups will loosen and fall off. To make them look nicer you can trim the dead leaf back to just above where the pup is attached. Tends to wrinkle when dehydrated. 


A Mexican species with soft , fuzzy, narrow and succulent leaves growing in a rosette. A slow grower that likes cooler conditions of shade with average watering. The inflorescence is pendulant with cherry floral bracts and an amethyst tubular flower. The leaves are very delicate so care should be taken when handling them.


From the granite domes and cliffs near Rio de Janeiro where it grows in full sun. A caulescent species that grows to over a foot long, with short very stiff leaves that may be green or even light yellow depending on the light exposure. Pups readily and forms large clumps with rose colored bracts and white flowers. Very easy to grow. Give it very bright light and water according to heat and lack of humidity. Fertilizing monthly during the growing seasons is very beneficial to growth, pups and flowering. This species will recurve to grow upward if you mount or hang it down.


Same as open form but with longer and slightly softer leaves.


Pronounced are-gen'-tay-a   Its natural habitat is in dry, woodland areas of Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba and Jamaica..It has a bulbous base and is similar to the filifolia with leaves a silver blue-green in color. The scape and floral bracts are cherry and the corollas (flowers) are grape. It grows well under moderate conditions and should receive bright light and sufficient air movement. The amount of water will depend on the humidity and temperature where it is grown. Very hardy and fast growing. Not a plant for growing in the house year round as it likes the outdoors but you can bring it in for the bloom if given good light and plenty of moisture.


Pronounced are-gen-tee`-nah, this is the country it is found growing in. It grows on trees or rocks in large clumps. It is a small leafy stemmed species that is naturally wrinkled and water will not change this fact like in albertiana, which it looks very much like even in size, but you can tell them apart by the olive green fuzzy leaves of the argentina, while the albertiana is smooth and green. The bloom is also different, where the albertiana is cherry in color the argentina has a wine red floral bract and the flower petals which first look like a flat flare, then spread out and curl under are rose pink, very unusual for a tillandsia. These are slow growers, taking several years to make good size clumps.  Once they do clump, care should be taken to allow enough air circulation to reach the inside leaves to allow them to dry quickly or the plant will suffocate and die. A very hardy species that prefers outdoor fresh air, medium to bright light, but will grow under a wide range of conditions. 


Does not require a lot of water unless temperatures are very hot, as it looks a bit like a succulent, but it does like bright light and good air circulation. It may be mounted sideways but looks best standing straight. I hang mine from wire (no copper) and grow in morning to afternoon direct sun. It  has a habit of pupping profusely all along the stem of the plant and even on the flower scape which are very easily removed, its not unusual to see 5 to 8 pups on one plant depending on the size. A very hardy species with  beautiful dark purple flowers with white centers.


Pronounced ah-tro-veer-I-di-peh'-ta-la. A small Mexican species found growing on rocks and other plants.  A graceful and exotic plant with coarsely , filiform leaves  that give the plant a fuzzy , pin-cushiony appearance. The bright rose or fuchsia colored bloom scape is very short with resembling  a roosters comb. The small flowers are an unusual fern green. It's important to mount it sideways or upside down as it grows in nature, to allow excess water to run off. Grow in bright light and good air circulation. This is a  plant that likes drier conditions. A must for collectors. 2 to 5 pups if you fertilize it well.


Pronounced ball-biss-ee-ah'-na it ranges from Florida, the West Indies and Mexico to Colombia and Venezuela. A spooky looking plant that has twisted curling leaves that hang down below the base, lettuce green in color and coriaceous (tough and hard like leather) with light gray trichomes.  It produces a very tall inflorescence of blood red which is very striking next to the pale leaves. The flowers are a deep royal purple. Give it bright light, high humidity and frequent watering when the weather is hot. Good plants to have around this one that need similar care are Caput-medusae, Pseudobaileyi and Paucifolia.


Pronounced bear'-ger-ee it is native to the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, where it grows on rocks. Flowers are violet and white and look like miniature  iris. It may need a winter cold spell to make it bloom. This one is known as the "mad pupper" as it grows into a   clump more rapidly than any other genus, and tend to expand in all directions along the stem. In just a few generations you can have a sizeable clump. It is one of the easiest tillandsias to cultivate, thrives under average  conditions and tolerates extremes well. It responds with more rapid growth to conditions of bright light, frequent    watering, and fertilization, but care should be taken to make sure all the leaf surfaces in a clump are dry.


Pronounced brah-ki-cow'-los  It grows in dry woods and deserts in Mexico  and Central America , one natural habitat is the droughty El Rancho area in Guatemala where it survives months at  a time without receiving any appreciable precipitation, an indication of a tough species. It thrives with high light conditions and does like a bit of moisture to make it blush. From the small floral head nestled in the center of the leaves, deep violet blooms emerge. Usually produces one to three or four pups  which grow rapidly. Separate when clumps get too full for more attractive foliage. Also mount at a slight angle to allow water to run off.


Pronounced mul-ti-flor'-a , meaning many flowers and is native to Guatemala. A hybrid of caput medusae as the seed parent and  brachycaulos as the pollen parent. Its about the same size as brachycaulos but differs in a darker green color and leaves have a more velvet appearance.  When in bloom the center blushes carmine rather than the cherry of brachycaulos. Care is basically the same but multiflora will not tolerate as much light. Holds water longer because of the trichomes on the leaves so if your area is humid you wont need to supply any extra. Lower leaves should be removed as they die back, they also hold moisture and could cause rot to the rest of the plant.


Basically the same as brachycaulos but the blush is more of a dark ruby or maroon color and the leaves are softer, less stiff and lighter green in color.


Same as brachycaulos select with the softer shiny leaves, though a bit thinner the leaves are very pointed on the ends, and  less of a maroon more of a soft ruby colored blush.


A cultivar of brachycaulos as the seed parent and caput medusae as the pollen parent, that takes on characteristics of both parents. It has a slightly bulbous base of the caput medusae and the rosette leaves of the brachycaulos. More like the brachycaulos, it blushes a bright rose and the scape is short with purple flowers. It looks to be able to take bright light, but keep out of direct sun at first and gradually introduce it a little at a time but watch for burn spots. Water as you would a brachycaulos, which likes moisture, but be careful of the bulbous base trapping the water like the caput medusae or rot could occure.


Pronounced bul-boe'-sa it has a wide distribution ranging from Mexico and the West Indies, through Central America, and into Ecuador and northern Brazil.  Another bulbose base plant that needs to be mounted either sideways or upside down to allow excess water to drain off. Its very attractive to hummingbirds. When blooming, the inflorescence and upper leaves become cherry red with lavender flowers and fern green, silver and amaranth sheaths, its one of the most striking species in the genus. It prefers high humidity medium light and frequent watering, especially in areas of significant air movement. It also makes a great house plant given enough humidity and is ideal as a terrarium plant. I have observed some of the leaves getting trapped by others because of the natural channeling which is very common, if this happens just remove it gently.


Pronounced butz'-ee-ee, It grows  from southern Mexico to Panama, and has perhaps garnered the title of "strangest looking tillandsia". The leaf blades are wavy to severely contorted creating an image that almost seems spooky. It requires a lot of  humidity and moisture, and for this reason I mount them sideways or upside down to allow water to run off and not get trapped in base as with any bulbous tillandsia. You will notice when they are thirsty, they will wrinkle at the base. A clump  can grow quickly from a single plant. I have seen them pup up to 6 at a time and even before they bloom. The  bloom spikes are carmine with a violet corolla or flower. They do not care for very bright light but prefer more shaded or motteled areas.


Pronounced kahk-ti`-coe-la, it grows in dry places in northern Peru on cactus and trees. A stemless rosette species that is very easy to grow, it is often mistaken for T. straminea and T. purpurea. It has a very tall and slender scape with many lavender spikes that spread out very nicely. The flower petals are cream to pale yellow with violet tips that curl under. Many say this is also a fragrant flower but I am not sure yet, it could just be a very light fragrance. It does best in bright light and moist air conditions. Fertilizing during the warm summer months will help it flower and grow faster, but this is a very slow grower and only produces 1 or 2 pups. It does root well and should be given a permanent setting that it will hold on to for many generations.


A fragrant flowered epiphyte growing on small trees in Ecuador. It has an obvious stem with slender leaves growing out and up from all around. Older leaves turn down while new growth is straight up. A succulent type requiring less moisture and water but bright indirect sunlight. The spike is tall and thin with light lavender flowers that have a very delicate fragrance. It pups all along the stem and these pups reach at an angle away from the parent. Keeping them attached helps them grow faster


The name capitata is from the word capitat (forms a head) and refers to the way the center leaves grow from a rosette shape and then growing upward to form a tall head just before blooming, Closely related to brachycaulos, its leaves are soft gray-green to pinkish, and flushing deep peachy-pink when in bloom with blue flowers. An epiphyte (grows on another plant but does not feed on it) on shrubby trees in the scorching valleys of central Honduras. Easy to grow. Definitely something different. The leaves tend to curl gracefully toward the ends making it a very pretty plant even when not in bloom. Give it medium to bright light, good air circulation and water according to the heat factor. I like to mount these a bit sideways to allow any remaining water to drain off the plant as they do not like holding water. Excellent pupper, 3 to 6 per parent.


I have not yet seen the bloom on this one and I have been growing it for 2 years. It seems to like growing in soil and has already produced 3 pups which have grown even larger than the parent. It has grown well in bright light, even some afternoon sun with no problems but be careful not to let soil stay constantly wet or dry.


The leaves seem a bit more coriaceous (leatherlike) than other capitata I have grown. This one is soiless and grows quite a bit taller with a reddish tint to the leaves. It pups at the base of the plant and these are very tender, easily knocked off by a careless hand


Pronounced kah’-put  meh-doo’-sigh. Caput means “head” and medusae means “of Medusa”. In Greek mythology, Medusa was the Roman Gorgon whose coiffure consisted of wriggling snakes, an imaginative metaphor for the leaf blades of this very hardy species. Its native habitat is Mexico and Central America where it thrives in dry gullies that are virtually cloudless and rainless except for the July-August rainy season. The intense heat and lack of available water keep the plants from attaining a larger size. The sheaths often have a colorful beet purple margin. The inflorescence is simple but normally it has 2 to 6 spikes that are cherry red to blood red in color and the amount of light it receives plays a big part in the difference of these two colors. The flowers are mauve. Although it can take much abuse, given high light , water and good air circulation, it will grow much larger, bloom faster and produce many more offsets. It’s a fast rooter so will mount easily. This very interesting plant is quite beautiful even when not in bloom. It is a bulbous type so I mount these at an angle.


A Mexican species that grows quite large, with soft velvety gray green leaves that have a fine covering of trichomes to attract moisture from the air. The leaves are wide at the base and thin to a fine point that can be very sharp. The beautiful rosette opens up for the multiple spikes of the inflorescence in the center. Spectacular dark rose floral bracts if given bright light conditions and good fertilization. Tubular flowers are royal purple to indigo. A bit expensive but well worth the cost.


This is a stiff leaved , rosette species that is very hardy in  bright light but no direct sun. I have found growing in too much sun caused sun burn spots on it and if I did not water it frequently it would get brown tips, give this one lots of moisture with extra misting besides the waterings.  It tends to recurve forming interesting shapes. The floral bracts are a dark pink or fuchsia and the flowers are a bluish lilac.   Pups profusely and grows very fast, mature plants from a pup in one season.


This plant from Peru is very highly prized among collectors for its beautiful bloom of pure white flower and bright red bract. It can be quite expensive. The leaves are stiff and grow upwards and out from an obvious  stem. It can handle some sun but be careful of burn marks, and likes frequent watering. Mount this one straight up as its leaves are sparse enough so that water does not get trapped. This is such a beautiful plant and the bloom stage is quite long from spike to spent bloom. It pups profusely, 3 to 7 each, all along the stem and they grow fast. I have found the brighter the light the redder the inflorescens. Lower leaves and stem die as the plant ages and these can be removed if they come off easily by themselves, but do not cut away what may be part of a living stem.


From Peru a cliff dwelling species with a caulescent stem and wide curling silver gray leaves. Many reach 24 inches or more. Grows best mounted pendant in bright airy conditions. Water according to heat. 


chaet-referring to a hair or bristle and phy referring to the leaves (chaetophylla=bristle like leaves) this species plant is very similar to the juncea. The floral bract is a dark pink with a tubular dark lavender color flower. It stays in color for months from beginning of scape to spent blooms, then the scape continues to show its colors. The leaves are tall and thin growing from a central point. It prefers very bright light and will tolerate morning till about noontime direct sun, dry conditions and good air circulation, but do water the average 3 to 5 times a week.


This is a new one for me. I have it mounted at an angle attached to wood. It receives full morning sunlight from about 8 to noon and seems to be doing fine. I have noticed that the leaves channel if I don't water it at least every other day. The leaf is slightly brownish in color and scaly. The floral spike has been out from day one and as of 3 months the flowers have not emerged. The spike is short and fat and a medium pink in color. The whole plant looks like it is blushing a little pink. This is a very pretty plant.


Pronounced sir -sin -nah' -toy -des A beautiful and very unusual species that has a recurved almost bulbose shaped rosette with very scaly stiff gray green leaves that end in a point and have a hint of blood red blush near bloom time. The single fat paddle floral bract is rose colored with a bit of moss green and the tubular flowers are amethyst to mauve. Likes dry conditions but will appreciate average watering 3 to 5 times a week, very bright light with a little morning till noon direct sun for color and very good air circulation. I recommend you mount or hang at an angle to allow excess water to flow out.


An interesting (?lithophytic?) species from Bolivia. A compact, stiff leaved, open rosette, with a short, many branched pink inflorescence and light blue flowers. Grow in very bright light with early morning mottled sun only. Give it plenty of water and fertilize it monthly.


From the Dominican Republic, this species has very stiff gray green leaves and grows in a rosette with an inflorescence of bright red that fades into vibrant green near the top and flowers of dark indigo, very colorful. The ones I have now have had the flower spike up since early summer and as of April they just started to open so this will be a long lasting bloom. The flowers emerge one at a time. If the plant is grown at an angle the spike will grow upward toward the sun. A very large species with leaf spans of 18 to 24". 


Pronounced cone’-co-lor, its a hardy stiff or brittle leaved species growing in exposed habitats in Mexico and El Salvador. Its highly adapted to and tolerant of different care situations and is a rapid grower. The slightly inflated floral bracts vary from green to cherry and the flowers are ruby red . With numerous large spikes it blooms for over a period of several weeks. It also produces many pups and clumps very quickly.  Bright light and water consistent to heat. It can also be grown in shade but if you want the leaves to blush a pretty shade of rose place it in morning direct sun and mottled afternoon to evening. Fertilizing during the warm months will make for larger blooms, faster growth and more pups.  I think it looks best growing by itself rather than in clumps, pups tend to crowd and distort the leaves


A cultivar hybrid of concolor and ionantha called 'curra', it takes on a bit of both parents characteristics. Its a rosette form like the concolor with stiff leaves and like the ionantha it blushes. To hazard a guess at the bloom, I would say it would more closely resemble the tall paddle shape of the concolor with purple tubular flowers that both species have. Bright light and lots of water and air circulation. 


A cultivar of concolor and paucifolia that also takes on a bit of both parents. This one seems to take more after paucifolia in the shape of the leaf form in that it grows tall rather than the rosette of the concolor with a slightly bulbous base. The upper center leaves blush red and the floral bracts appear more bright fuchsia than either parent.  I grow in early morning sun till about noon and they do well. Water frequently and fertilize during growing seasons. The florescence will grow toward the light so if you mount this one at an angle the bract will curl. Likes to be watered frequently, average 3 to 5 times a week. A very easy plant to grow, many are put off by the fact that it is a hybrid. A hybrid is just a cross breed plant that looks a bit different but no harder to care for.


Pronounced crow-kah'-ta, it grows in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. The brilliant color and surprisingly strong, sweet fragrance of the flowers are unsurpassed in a small species and warrant its great desirability among collectors. The leaves are covered with coarse scales, which help it in the drying process by facilitating greater air movement. The flower is canary to buttercup yellow. Easy to cultivate and drought tolerant, it prefers bright light. Because of its small size it cannot survive lack of water or humidity for as long as more succulent and larger leaved species so water it frequently. Also make sure it dries between watering as it could suffocate and die if left wet for too long, especially in a full clump. It multiplies fast and will clump nicely in just a few generations. May be mounted any way you like as the pups come out in all angles.


This Mexican species looks so similar to brachycaulos select that you will have trouble telling them apart unless tagged.  A rosette of soft shiny moss green leaves that can easily be damaged by wind or falling debris. A new one for me and I have no idea what the flower looks like. Grows upright against gravity. More later.


Pronounced sigh-ah'-nay-ah and also called 'pink quill'. It grows in the forests of western Ecuador. In bloom it is one of the most spectacular species, and has been produced commercially for generations in Europe because of this bloom. This is one of the few species that grows more robustly as a terrestrial (in soil) I compare the scent of this bloom to cloves or cinnamon and lavender. The many fern green leaves form a spreading rosette that is more pronounced when grown in soil. The glabrous inflorecense is relatively large for a tillandsia and looks like a flat paddle or feather. In medium to bright light it becomes bright pink and the flowers that emerge from the sides of this paddle are a beautiful violet. It is these flowers that have the fragrance. Cyanea normally produces from three to a dozen offsets all during the growing cycle and even before it blooms. It is easy to grow and prefers more shaded and protected areas. If growing in soil, it should be potted in fast draining mix and watered frequently and makes a fine house plant. For those who desire to mount without soil, a swath of sphagnum wrapped around the root base helps keep the roots from drying, and should not be  kept dripping wet nor should it be kept completely dry. I would grow this one outdoors and enjoy the bloom indoors. Its one of my very favorite.


Same as cyanea only the spike is 3 sided instead of the 2 sided paddle and the fragrance is the same heavenly scent. A fine clone of an Ecuadorean species. Red-striated green leaves and a lovely
deep lavender, arrowhead shaped spike with large purple, cinnamon scented flowers. Grows well potted and can be mounted if moss is used to cover roots to hold moisture longer.


Same as the Anita Triflor with a 3 sided paddle but more compact, like a mini cyanea. It doesnt grow as tall or spread out as much as either Cyanea or Anita Triflor being about 2/3 their size. This one has ruffled flowers that are a bit fuller than the others.


Cyanea 'creation' is a stunning hybrid of T. cyanea T. platyrhachis. It grows much larger than cyanea, about 24" across, with narrow greenish red slightly striated or lined leaves and a very large beautiful inflorescence of multiple paddle shaped branches, deep lavender with lovely purple fragrant flowers. Grow in soil same as cyanea. Tends to hold water in the base of the stiff leaves so keep it flushed by watering often rather than let it stagnate causing rot.


Pronounced dee-a-gwee-ten'-sis it is native to Argentina and Paraguay where it grows saxicole (on rocks) and epiphytically (on other plants) It is caulescent (an obvious stem) with a long rigid stem. Mount any way you like as it will eventually reach for the sun. The leaves are sparsely set around the stem and pups emerge continually  all around them sometimes growing so fast they look like an extension of the original plant. The floral bracts are olive green or moss to beige that produce large sweetly pungent white ruffled flowers. The floral bracts may wither and die and not produce flowers if it is too dry, for this reason provide it with substantial humidity when it starts to shoot the spike. Grows well with high light and high humidity, but will flourish with less than ideal conditions.


From Bolivia and adjacent Argentina and Paraguay, is one of the most sought Tillandsias for collections. A lovely medium sized plant to about 12"', with a bloom spike of lovely pink to almost coral branches and white flowers. Stays in color for many months. Easy to grow, prefers bright light and on the dry side.


A beautiful hybrid I bought from Jim Irvin, the breeder. Here is what he has to say about care ect. "It has gotten generic Tillandsia care: moderate to frequent watering followed by quick drying, bright light, and regular feedings. The maternal parent (pod parent) was Til. didisticha and the paternal parent (pollen parent) was Til. tenuifolia.  I made the cross 4-13-92 and only three clones resulted.  This is the first year blooming. " I am very excited to have acquired this one. I will post more on pups, flowering time and my own observations soon.


Pronounced diss`-ti-ka, it grows on rocks and trees in dry woodland areas of Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia and has about half a dozen subspecies such as disticha 'Major' and disticha v. disticha. These two differ in that disticha v. has a shorter scape than the leaves and the offsets or pups do not grow at the end of the runner (stolons). The scape of disticha 'Major' is longer than the leaves and produces offsets at the end of a runner. While another subspecies disticha 'Minor' has greener leaves with hairy, fringed purple margins and a slight wrinkle to the leaves. All have a bulbose base with an erect, slender scape with a bloom scape that is finger like and lettuce to moss green. The flower petals are canary and sometimes have a slight sweet fragrance. Only the smaller disticha 'minor' has maroon tinged margins on the floral bract and grow under lower light levels and moister conditions but is hardy enough to tolerate dryness and higher light. The others thrive in outdoor bright light conditions, requiring frequent waterings in hot temperatures or heavy air flows. This is not one for indoors except in winter and then you will need to give it lots of moisture. It clumps nicely without crowding, each plant going off in a different direction.


This Brazilian species is caulescent (having an obvious leafy stem), with dark, greenish gray recurring leaves on a 2 to 4in stem. The inflorescence, a simple red  and many spiked  , can stay in color for months. I have this hanging on a south facing wall in medium light no direct sun. It seems to need extra waterings as the older leaves have turned brown. Also likes humidity


Pronounced dur-ah-tee-ee.  Duratii grows primarily in the drier areas of  western Bolivia, eastern Paraguay, and northern Argentina, known as the Great Chaco. It is also abundant in the Andean foothills of Argentina and southern Brazil. In terms of sheer numbers and habitat range, duratii is one of the most successful tillandsia species. Giant specimens grow to 40 cm. across and a meter high, not including the impressive inflorescence that is often another 80 cm. The most interesting aspect of this species, besides the  magnificent bloom spike, is the remarkable way in which the leaves tightly re-curve which is how it depends on growing support. As the older leaves die back they shrink into tight ringlets around a convenient twig or branch. It grows upward along with the tree in which it lives, maintaining its position of exposure to the sun. The inflorescence develops for several months, after which it produces heavily fragrant blooms for another month or so  longer than any other species. Each flower has three large lilac petals with white throats. For plant size, shape, and durability in combination with the bloom size and fragrance and longevity of its blooming cycle, its in a class by  itself. Few tillandsia species are easier to cultivate than duratii as it thrives under a wide range of light, water and  temperature conditions, and when given in high doses often grows very large.


Pronounced e’-dith-eye it grows on rocks and cliffs near Sorata, Bolivia. Very popular among collectors for the brilliant colored flower. Its caulescent, having an obvious stem, and the triangular shaped , scaley leaves grow in a circular formation around this stem. A quick rooter under good growing conditions.  The cherry flowers form around crimson colored floral bract. The pups form along the base of the inflorescence as well as along the stem. The stem pups are what is called hair pups or adventitious, meaning –plant organs produced in an unusual or irregular position or at an unusual time of development. These grow more slowly and often detach from the parent because they are weak. Grows best with bright light, water and a regular feeding program and good air circulation. I mount them hanging at an angle. One has 6 pups.


A Mexican species with a bulbous base whose soft, succulent leaves are covered heavily with trichomes to attract moisture. The leaves extend up, out and finally down as they age,  and are wavy and contorted, almost spooky in appearance. The inflorescence has multiple rose pink floral bracts with amethyst tubular flowers. The whole affect is pastel shaded and very pretty. Looks wonderful sitting straight up but be careful that water does not get trapped in the base, mount at an angle to be safe. Very good air circulation and not as much water as the average tillandsia but dont let it get too dry or the tips will turn brown and ugly. Quick rooter and excellent pupper.


A cultivar hybrid of ehlersiana and streptophylla that takes on characteristics of both parents. Ehlersiana is seed parent and streptophylla is pollen parent.  I see a  lot of streptophylla in this plant as far as the color and texture of the leaves, except they do not form ringlets. Also unlike the streptophylla, this is not a bulbous base plant but more of a rosette and seems to be a bit more succulent. As for the inflorescence, it is single with many floral bracts  in a shade of bright pink that produce purple flowers. I would grow this one in mottled bright light and protect it from heavy rains. Water according to heat.


A Mexican species with soft fuzzy or velvety leaves that are very delicate. A rosette with slightly distorted, twisted leaves. The tall inflorescence is a soft scarlet shade with lettuce green tubular flowers. Easily damaged by heavy wind and rain or fallen debris. Bright indirect light and don't neglect water but no extra moisture is needed here.


I cant find a lot of information on this plant, but it likes dry warm areas,  early morning to mid afternoon direct sun and average waters about 2 to 3 times a week depending on heat and air circulation. The leaves will curl inwards when its thirsty. The flower  scape blushes pink to dark rose when it gets enough light, and the flowers are grape violet. The leaves have a curling habit that is very graceful and sometimes they will curl around a limb when mounted, anchoring it without having to use anything else. Very pretty sitting in an empty clay pot. It does best when mounted straight up, because of its name, meaning exerted, rising above, projecting beyond or protruding, its habit is for a tall scape  (mine measures 11 inches). A very pretty plant even without the bloom.


Pronounced fah-sih-coo-lah’-ta are found in many areas from Florida,  the Caribbean and Central America, and in northern South America growing on other plants. Also called 'wild pineapple'.  Narrow  stiff leaves form from a stem-less rosette. The tall, long lasting  floral bract is fern green to blood red with flowers in shades of mauve to indigo. Very easy to grow, it likes bright light and fresh air. It can tolerate drought but grows faster given plenty of water and fertilizer. It often produces 6 pups and should be separated when they start to crowd to allow for better growth and shape. May also be grown is soil or with sphagnum  moss wrapping the roots. The inflorescence will grow upward so mount it correctly upright with just a bit of angle.


This is a real beauty. Unlike the common fasciculata that grows in a tall, straight leaved rosette, this one is more of a fountain shape and the leaves are less stiff. Its most captivating feature is the colorful fuchsia to orange multiple spikes of the inflorescence. Grow in very bright light, plenty of water and fertilize during growing seasons monthly. Im not sure if it grows in soil like the other fasciculatas can but im going to experiment and will post the results.


Another variety of fasciculata, only much larger, some as tall as 42” and the bloom spike can be as tall as 50”,  the tubular flowers are a royal purpleand the inflorescence bract is bright orange and yellow to green. The one I originally had multiplied so fast that within a couple of years I had 60 plants. I grow mine in soil and in full sun and they seem to love it. Very drought tolerant and will crowd a pot fast, when I separated mine they looked 100% better. Keep sitting water in leaves fresh by flushing with regular watering, do not allow it to stagnate. I had forgotton a plant on my very hot and sunny west facing porch for over two months, never watering it, and it flowered and did very well which just goes to show how much abuse these can take.


A Polystachia from Mexico or a Juncea from Bolivia, no one seems to be sure. I think it looks a bit like both, the shiny leaves of polystachia and the shape of juncea but without the scaly leaves,they grow long and thin in a graceful sweep up then fountain out as they get taller. It likes bright indirect light and lots of water. Humidity is a must also. They tend to clump quickly, the pups growing as fast as the parent can produce them. I have seen clumps of as many as 30 plants but myself like to separate them into smaller to allow air to circulate in the leaves. The whole plant blushes bright red as well as the floral bract and the flowers are a purple tubular shape. A great indoor plant if given enough moisture.


Pronounced fi-li-fo'-lee-a it extends from Central Mexico to Costa Rica where it grows epiphytically in areas that receive medium to low light and plenty moisture. Similar in looks to argentea but the blooms are quite different, filifolia has many slender spreading spikes. The floral bracts are green and maroon and the petals are aster violet. I produces numerous offsets that are easily removed  by hand when 1/2 to 2/3 adult size. Water frequently in dry climates and moderately in humid. It prefers cool conditions and substantial air movement. Popular with collectors because of its unusual color combination and graceful shape.


It seems to be happy in medium to bright light with frequent watering and plenty of humidity. The bloom spikes have been multiple, 8 or more and are bright red with purple tubular flowers. Some of the different species blush and some stay green. The leaves are soft and pliable. I grow in soil and also mounted on wood with moss covering the roots, the soil growing seem to do much better with a more uniform shape. they love moisture so should be watered often.



A Mexican species about the size and shape of a golf ball, having short stiff silvery leaves and a nice 6” scape of orange with purple flowers. Often mistaken for argentea but is a whole different species in itself.  Found in mountainous habitats in Oaxaca where it grows singly and in clusters in breezy open forests. Grows best mounted in an airy location and its a bright light lover. A tiny plant with a long bract, it looks great mounted with bushier and taller tillandsias. Mount it any way you like but make sure water does not sit in the many close formed leaves. Water frequently in hot summer months and give it plenty of fresh air and sunshine.


From Guatemala. A living pincushion. Marble-sized plant with 3” long needle-fine leaves and a 6” tall inflorescence of orange with  dark blue or purple  flowers. Likes very bright light and semi dry conditions, it does not care for humidity but do water it several times a week and give it plenty of air circulation. Does best hanging on string where air can get around the entire plant. This is not an argentea which is what most people think, but a species all its own that looks very similar until it blooms.


Funkiana comes from the Andies  in Venezuela where it forms long cascades on the cliffs of the coastal Andes. A clump forming species that sports a single crimson flower and red blushing upper leaves.  I call this one 'vampire tears because before the blood red flower fully opens it reminds me of a tear drop and the legendary vampire Lestat of Ann Rice fame was said to cry tears of blood. It can be mounted sideways or upside down, the way it grows in nature and the stem will eventually grow toward the sun. Fertilize it once a month with HEAVILY diluted liquid feed. It can take very bright light and even morning sunlight, A very hardy species that likes a bit of moisture and frequent waterings. This plant tends to die off at the lower end but wont hurt the growth or blooming.


Pronounced gard' ner-ii A tuft of soft wide silvery leaves in a rosette shape and a semi pendulant inflorescence of pink with pink flowers. A forest dweller native to Brazil . Give it bright indirect light, water according to heat and dryness of area and fertilize it monthly. I mount these at an angle. So pretty when they bloom the medium pink flower.


 From Bolivia provinces of Camargo to San P, It likes moderate light and moisture and lives in an altitude of 2500 feet. This is a beautiful species with a fuchsia bract that puts out dark pink flowers and the flower bract is very large for a tillandsia. The name geminiflora means twins and im not sure what this refers to. I would mount this one sideways as the leaves are soft and standing water may rot it, also the bloom tends to want to dangle. Make sure you do not have this plant in bright sunlight. Would make a nice house plant with good  moisture levels and light  


A Mexican species that looks very similar to juncea with long thin leaves and a faint covering of trichomes. The tall, multispiked inflorescence is crimson with rose pink floral bracts and royal purple tubular flowers. Likes dry conditions and will tolerate a bit of morning sunlight, shade or mottled sun the rest of the day.


A Guatemalan species to about 17"wide with lovely thick silvery leaves that blush a slight rose shade when it gets sufficient sunlight, a bright red tall fat floral bract and purple tubular flowers. Nice shape for mounting. This plant is currantly on the CITES list (convention on international trade in endangered species) It pups readily after it blooms.  A bit succulent and does nicely in very early morning sun that is mottled by trees. Water is minimal unless you see the leaves start to channel, then water more frequently. 


From the windswept desert valley of the Puccha river in northern Peru, these plants look superficially like miniature Til. tectorum. Their 8in caulescent stems covered with fuzzy silver leaves. A rarity in cultivation. Easy to grow, bright light and on the dry side, these tend to grow long and thin with too little light.  Average watering of 3 to 5 times a week with really good air flow to help them dry fast. The inflorescence is a short rose colored scape with pale blue flowers.


A cliff dwelling species from the high badlands of Honduras. It grows in a somewhat caulescent rosette with wide silvery leaves that blush soft rose when in bloom. The inflorescence is capitate on a short scape, peach colored with blue flowers. Nice and very uncommon. The range of this rarity from central Honduras is restricted to a few isolated limestone cliffs. The natural population has been decimated by forest fires but fortunately it is easily propagated . 4 or more pups per plant and they grow quickly. Will tolerate morning till noon direct sun but likes plenty of water.


A hybrid tillandsia of stricta and meridionalis or recurvifolia as it is now known. A plant that grows much larger than either of the parents and produces one of the most beautiful and incredible blooms in the entire genus, huge and brilliant pink. The plant itself can grow to be almost a foot in diameter. I grow this one in bright morning sunlight till about 1 pm then its shaded the rest of the day. It likes moisture and water often. I have found that each pup grows about twice as large as the preceding parent plant and the bloom lasts much longer than either meridionalis/recurvifolia and stricta. 


Pronounced in-car-nah'-ta it grows terrestrially, epiphytically, and saxicolously (in soil, on trees and on rocks)  in Colombia and Ecuador, one of the few species that grow in all three environments. There is a small, ephiphytic form that clumps, forming a round ball. This would look great suspended from wire or string. The other more common form is caulescent (stemmed) and grows saxicolously near Quito, Ecuador where it is found hanging in large clumps on cliff faces. The bloom scape goes from red to pale rose as it forms trichomes, little hairs, and the small flowers are rose.  It grows rapidly with bright light, water and feeding, prefering outdoor strong air movement. Loves moisture and will dehydrate quickly if not available in dry areas. 


This is a cultivated ionantha and grows the same as the others but much larger and in a vase shape, more care with air circulation because the plants are much larger and leaves are tightly fitted allowing water to get trapped. They blush on the upper leaves and the flowers are same tubular purple.


Pronounced ee-oh-nahn'-tha, they grow from Mexico to Nicaragua. One of the most popular species and is often the first tillandsia one acquires because it is attractive, small, inexpensive and very easy to grow, also known as 'blushing bride'.  Often exposed to full intensity of the elements in its native habitat, this is a very tough species. It is a stemless, succulent species with dense leaves that form a graceful rosette often found in groupings of three to five plants. It produces abundant roots when grown well and attaches to the mounting material rather quickly.  When grown in very bright light, the entire plant changes in a short time to a fiery crimson that is very beautiful. Grape violet flowers emerge from the center of the rosette. Known as 'the mad pupper' it is a very good pup producer so you can have a very attractive clump in a year or so. This is a great plant for a kitchen window where it gets plenty of bright light and you can enjoy it every day.


A cultivar of ionantha, Fuego meaning fire, these small tillandsias blush almost all of their life a dark red color, and turn brighter when getting ready to bloom. Probably the brightest of the ionantha species These are very pretty alone, but gorgeous grouped together with several other tillandsias on a piece of wood or wire to form a ball. Its native land is from Mexico to Nicaragua so it can get a bit more sun than the softer tillandsias and is a very hardy one that takes a lot of abuse. But please don't, treated with very bright light and good air circulation and watering as well as fertilization, they will reward you with lots of small pups that grow rapidly into adults to bloom also. It only takes a few generations to have a nice size clump.


A natural hybrid from Veracruz Mexico, hybridizer D. Schultz. These have a slightly different shape than the others and tend to be shorter, they are rosette shaped with leaves reaching out like a fountain and the lower leaves fold down closer to the base. The blush is more of a peach color with white tubular flowers. 


Guatemala is a very large form of ionantha. It looks very similar to the tall velvet in shape and size. It differs from its Mexican neighbor in that the leaves are a bit fuzzier but the blush and bloom colors are the same. An excellent pupper, often having as many as 6.


Rosita is a beautiful uncommon cultivated Mexican hybrid that blushes deep maroon throughout its life at the upper and center leaves.  Much larger than rubra but with a similar fountain form to the leaves, the blade tips are sometimes more erect. These are very pretty alone, but gorgeous grouped together with several other tillandsias on a piece of wood. Its native land is from Mexico to Nicaragua so it can get a bit more sun than the softer tillandsias and is a very hardy one that takes a lot of abuse.  Its known as ionantha v. stricta. Second generation plants are usually much larger.


Rubra has a more consistant shape of a pincushion with very thin leaves, the blush is more ruby than fuschia or red seen in other ionanthas. 



From the coasts of Oaxaca Mexico, a very large cultivar of ionantha. The leaves are much wider and the form is more uniform with a rare caulescent habit.  A beautiful giant form of 4 to 6in rock-dwelling ionanthas from southern Mexico. Differs from other forms by growing in an open rosette. Somewhat peach blushing when blooming. My first time growing this species has shown it to be a great indoor plant if given enough moisture and grown in a bright light window. The first bloomer had no color/blush to the leaves because I only had it in an east facing window with florescence lighting or it may have been because it was 'Floreled' by the seller as it also is not showing signs of pupping. This was bought at a reputable nursery and not my usual supplier and I am very disappointed. 


A tiny Mexican form of ionantha with similar needs except the leaves are more tightly formed and care should be taken when watering to prevent rot. It is a cultivar of ionantha v. stricta and now known as ionantha v. stricta f. fastigata
 They seem to be more in need of water when good air circulation is present. They also blush but not as bright a red or fuchsia, these tend to have a bit more yellow to the blush causing them to be orange red. Not as succulent as most ionantha, they lack the full covering of trichomes, it's more concentrated at the base. I call these 'baby tears' because they remind me of fat little tear drops. Very pretty.


A cultivar hybrid of ionantha X schiedeana. This is a fairly new one for me but I grow it like ionantha since it resembles it's features more than the schiedeana. I have not seen it bloom yet so I am not sure the colors, but it does blush nicely like the ionantha.  It is much larger being about 7 or 8" tall with leaf spans of about 6" or more. The leaves are broader and have more noticeable trichomes or hairs that absorb moisture from the air. Tips tend to turn brown with too much heat which is the case with ionantha. Since it is a semi succulent, do not allow water to remain in the many leaves of the rosette. Water average 3 to 5 times a week, and only morning direct sun, give it shade or mottled sunlight the rest of the day.


A very large and fuller form of ionantha with longer leaves. Again care should be taken when watering to prevent rot. Make sure it has lots of air circulation. A full covering of trichomes insure them the moisture available in the air. These love to be watered but need good air flow. Morning direct sun only, mottled or shade the rest of the day.


Abit different than the others, this one grows taller and has much  wider, more succulent leaves.  It grows on cliffs in Chiapis MexicoThe blush is more of a peach color than the normal red or fuchsia. Still has the very dark purple, almost indigo tubular flowers. I love this one for its different characteristics, a must for collectors. This is NOT a rare species only a bit more expensive.


Pronounced ix-ee-oh-ee'-des, this species was once known as meridionalis Baker. It grows mostly in dry, woods  locals in Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. sometimes develops into clumps that can be over a meter in diameter. It is rosette in shape with silvery gray-green leaves that have a bluish tent and are very brittle and stiff, easily damaged. The flowers are an uncommon bright yellow for a tillandsia and tend to hang down. It grows more rapidly with bright light, water according to heat and dryness in your area, average 3 to 5 times a week. 


A caulescent (obvious stem) growing species that blooms annually, one of the very few to do so, making this a very desirable  plant among collectors. The inflorescence is a very unusual color combination of rosy bract with pale yellow flowers made up of several petals. The leaves are semi-stiff with tiny trichomes and one of the few to channel the leaves as well as wrinkle when slightly dehydrated. Bright indirect light with frequent watering. Might also require extra misting if the area is very dry and hot.


Pronounced june'-say-a it is widely distributed, growi. ng from Mexico and the greater Antilles to Bolivia where it grows in trees of cloudy areas that get substantial rainfall for part of the year. Most available plants are from Mexico and Guatemala. A mainstay in everyone's collection because it is so hardy if placed outdoors. It also makes a wonderful contrast with other tillandsias on wood arrangements. The species flourishes when mounted in any position, even upside down. Future pups will grow lightward until the plants crowd each other and begin to surround the mounting material. Floral bracts vary from carmine to fern green and the flowers are a royal purple. Can also be grown in soil. The slender tall spike forms for almost a year before flowering and the blooms last a very long time.


A Mexican cliff-dwelling species with scurfy, almost fuzzy silver leaves. Grows in a somewhat recurved shape in a six to ten inch upright rosette, with a simple fuchsia colored primary bract, bright green floral bract, cream colored fat tubular flowers with yellow corolla. Nice small plants that pup profusely. Likes bright light low humidity and less frequent waterings. Large clumps form way before the plant blooms and tends to crowd easily. Give it good air circulation because of the closeness of the pups in clumping. I have two year old clumps the size of baseballs with so many pups you can not count them.


A species from Honduras Mexico that is on the CITES list


One of the most desirable and sought after species of tillandsia. This rare deep-red clone from the hinterlands of the Darien in Panama is a rather small plant, growing about 6 to 8 inches across in a somewhat bulbous, greenish-gray open rosette. The inflorescence is short, inflated, arrowhead-shaped and deep red with red flowers.  Can be grown suspended on string or mounted on a small protruding twig with a small amount of liquid nail or hot glue (cooled to touch) as to allow air circulation around the closely formed leaves. Likes bright light and very good air circulation. Water according to the heat factor and give it moisture.


A Guatemalan tillandsia that strongly resembles an ionantha but has a definite scape at the center of the rosette. It was previously identified as an ionantha v. scaposa and is today called kolbii. Blushes pinkish red with purple flowers. Grow shaded or dappled morning sun only. This is a bit of a succulent and rots easily it not given enough air circulation or mounted at an angle to allow excess water to drain. If it does not blush near flowering, move to a bit more light.


Pronounced lah-ti-fo'-lee-a , it is a species that grows terrestrially (in soil) saxicolously (on rocks) and epiphytically (on other plants) in Peru and Ecuador. It grows most abundantly with the roots anchored in sand in coastal Peru. The floral bracts of the inflorescence vary from copper to dark cherry and the corollas are rose to purple. Bright light lovers but a bit succulent, they still like to be watered but not to extremes. Good air circulation is essential. There are many different forms and sizes of latifolia and some nurseries don't make the distinction when selling them. Some are very small and scaly and some are smooth and taller. They like to grow upright so if you hang it, it will recurve in a very interesting shape. I will get into more detail about this plant variation as I learn more.


Very sensitive to sunlight, these leaves bleach easily.


A super proliferating plant from Belize. This is a medium sized plant to about 18 inches tall, with a 5 foot inflorescence that produces dozens of offsets all along the floral bract. An amazing sight! A very rare plant. Nice large offsets at the base but offsets from the bract are slow growing.  The flowers eventually turn into a pup and can be removed when they get too heavy for the stem. I have one blooming plant that so far has 20 pups. When taken indoors in winter you must water or mist daily to help it sustain life with an active inflorescence, I unfortunately lost mine but saved the offsets and they have so far taken 6 months to show much growth.


It grows in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. This is a fuzzy thin leaf species with close fitting leaves that look almost like a powder puff. Center leaves blush soft pink with tubular violet flowers shooting out. Grow in very bright light with maybe morning direct sun only, mottled sunlight the rest of the day, water according to heat and lack of humidity but make sure it has plenty of air circulation because of the tight fitted leaves or it could rot. I suggest you mount perpendicular to gravity or horizontal  so excess water runs off. These are hard to mount except to glue the base onto the wood using liquid nail or hot glue (cooled to touch but still tacky), or wrapped loosely with thin string or thread. These look great mounted with T. juncea which also has thin leaves but is much taller. 


This species from Mexico has a beautiful multi spiked inflorescence that is a dark rose to fuschia in color with unusual white tubular flowers. The leaves of the rosette shaped plant are covered in fine trichomes (hairs) that give it a snow white appearance. Long thin leaves are very delicate and easily damaged by strong wind or falling debris. Give it very bright indirect light, water average 3 to 5 times a week or less as the tiny hairs absorb moisture from the air, water more frequently in dry areas. Give it very good air circulation to dry within 4 hours, the trichomes will suffocate the plant if it stays wet for an extended period. This plant requires brighter light when flowering to get the beautiful rose color in the inflorescence.


A rosette form with very scaly leaves similar in shape to the atroviridipetala only not as tightly formed. It has a short scape with a salmon to pink floral bract and dark purple flowers that emerge one at a time. A very pretty species but a bit hard to keep. I have it sitting in morning sun where it is dappled by trees and it gets watered every other day. I was very intimidated by this one at first, and one of the two I had is just about dead but still has some green on the leaves, the other seems to be doing fine so I am thinking the fault was not mine but in shipping. This plant is currant on the CITES list (convention on international trade in endangered species)


A natural hybrid (xerographica x capitata) from Guatemala with widely spreading, curling  leaves reminiscent of xerographica, but softer and unlike xerographica, somewhat caulescent (having an obvious stem). The inflorescence is a cylindrical, tightly branched spike of dark rose with amethyst tubular flowers and an accompanying slight rosy blush in the leaves. These are great pup producers, after separating my original 5, each one had about 6 pups and more as I removed them. From the original 5 plant clump I ended up with over 40 plants and believe it or not the originals are still alive after 4 years and still reproducing. The original  clumping of  5 plants  measured 47" across and each plant was about 24" to 30" tall with leaf spans of 25" to 35" and got so crowded and heavy it actually broke apart from the weight. This is truly a collectors dream if you like large plants and lots of them. Morning to noon direct sun is what they love, shaded or mottled the rest of the day. Plenty of water, average 3 to 5 times a week will keep them happy but more on thirsty hot days. Since they get so large and heavy I recommend they be suspended from fishing line, growing at an angle to allow excess water to run off. They will curve slightly upward away from gravity. Work pups loose by gently wiggling them over a period of time when they reach 1/4 to 1/3 the parent size, they seem to grow faster on their own.


Now known as Recurvifolia. A very hardy air plant from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay where it grows well under a myriad of conditions. Leaves are a bit stiffer than most other meridionalis species so it requires less water and can handle a bit more sun than most. A quick rooter that will attach to the mounting material fast. It is also a profuse pupper. It is a rosette type plant with leaves growing from a central area and spreading up and out like a fountain, very pretty form, but if grown upside down will curve toward sun. There are two types of inflorescense, the common pink and the rarer salmon which is very beautiful


 Pronounced Mit-lay-en-sis, A  fuzzy species with recurved stiff silver leaves resembling a claw . A cliff dweller from Mexico with thick succulent leaves. It develops a simple rose inflorescence and bright violet blooms. It is hardy and is best grown in the horizontal position due to water being trapped. Similar to T. Pueblensis. It likes bright light and is an easy species to cultivate. Forms a very attractive clump. Handle it as little as possible to keep the trichomes (fuzzy hairs) intact. Watering is average but give really good air circulation to allow it to dry completely. Never allow it to stay wet for long periods.


 A stiff leaf species from South Brazil, it likes bright indirect light, sunburn on leaves are caused by too much direct sun. Water and moisture are friends to this plant, water frequently 3 to 5 times a week depending on heat and dryness of growing conditions, less in winter.  The flowers last 2 to 3 weeks from bud to spent bloom, and are bright pink bracts with white flowers. The plant itself is a rosette that is very hardy when treated with good conditions. Fertilization helps with better growth and reproduction.


A very popular species from Brazil. It likes bright light but no direct sun, they burn easily, frequent waterings and some moisture. It is a rosette  that curves depending on the way it is mounted. If mounted upside down, it tends to reach upward making the whole plant curve sometimes into a complete O. The floral bracts are dark pink and the flower is a bright purple. I grow these on string for good air circulation and water daily on dry days when the weather is warm. They pup from 2 to 5 per plant and usually before blooming. Pups are easily removed by moving them gently back and forth.


A very hard species to find information on. Hiroyuki Takizawa claims that it is a rare plant, but that may just be in Japan and not in the U.S. They look very similar to magnusiana but the leaves are wider. I have noticed that the leaves channel near the bottom but im not sure if this is from lack of water or just age. They also have the tiny hairs that catch and hold moisture for the plant.


Pronounced pah-lay-ah'-say-a. It is found growing from southwestern Colombia to Bolivia and in northern Chile growing on rocks and cliffs and on sand in the coastal desert of Peru. This stemmed species has leaves that are widely separated from each other. Lower leaves turn brown as they die off. The scape can be long or short with a very pretty aster violet flower that has delicate scent. It evolves to cope with its environment and lack of nutrients and can be a slow grower because of this. Given bright light, good waterings and fertilization, it will respond with faster growth Because the leaves are thin, it needs moisture or more frequent waterings. It does not root well so it should be attached using string or wire wrapped loosely to mounting material. Pups occur all along the stem of the plant.


A newly described subspecies from the deserts of southern Peru. Unlike the more typical form in that the leaves are wide and strap-like, recurving downward. A lovely silver color with a greenish spike and very large purple flowers. This is a rare plant and unlike paleacea it does not have a fragrant scent. I grow in partial morning sun and shaded from noon till. Water every other day lightly not soaking the plant. It gets fertilized once a month. I have it mounted standing straight on a piece of wood and it seems very happy.


Pronounced pow-si-fo'-lee-ah its natural habitat is the Caribbean, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela. It’s a bulbous plant with sheaths that are often beet purple, but is normally lettuce green. When in bloom, the upper portion of the plant becomes rosy which enhances the carmine color of the inflorescence.  The flowers are mauve. It’s a slow grower, often needing two growing seasons to reach maturity. It produces a substantial root system and will grab onto its growing material before you know it. Besides producing offset on the base of the plant, it has been known to also develop them along the inflorescences. Most often, it is hung by a piece of wire and allowed to “do its thing” but be careful when watering that water does not get trapped in the bulbous  base of the plant for too long. It should have good air circulation and  the waterings should be consistent with the heat factor, the hotter it is the more it likes water, and it loves good air moisture. Grow it in bright light but no direct sun.


A beautiful  Guatemalan species, greenish grey rosette shape plant with beautiful scapeless white tubular flowers. This plant is semi succulent with soft leaves. Very similar to the brachycaulos select in shape, leaf texture and color without the blush. It almost looks like an albino brachycaulos. A rare treat for the collector.


Pronounced  ploo-moe'-sa, it grows on trees and rocks in central Mexico. A very attractive species because of its symmetry, shape and many hairy leaves. It looks sort of like a sea urchin. It grows with high levels of sunlight and the trichome wings (hairs) that are almost perpendicular to the leaf surface indicates that this plant receives moisture frequently at certain times of the year and coarse scales allow the leaves to dry more quickly, keeping it from suffocating if it receives too much water. The bloom spike is carmine and the flower is a fern green, unusual for a tillandsia. It produces 2 to 3 pups that gradually replace the parent. This one should be mounted perpendicular to gravity so that water is not allowed to sit in the base causing rot. The bloom scapes are very long lasting, about 4 months in spike before it blooms, then the blooms open one at a time for several months after and the scape continues to show color many months after blooming.


Pronounced pru-i-no' sah A bulbous-based little plant with silvery-frosted green , twisty leaves. Very unusual and cute, reminds me of a tarantula spider with the hairy legs *shiver*. Plants blush pink when in bloom and  has a fat dark pink floral bract and purple tubular flowers. From Costa Rica, near Buenos Aires.  I have it growing in early morning sun dappled by a willow tree and it is doing wonderful. I water lightly every other day on hot days by just splashing over the plant and not soaking like I would the moisture lovers because of the semi succulent leaves which are full of very noticeable trichomes (tiny hairs). This has to be one of the hairiest plants out there. I also have it hanging upside down and at angles so that water does not get trapped in the bulbous base, this causes it to have the very desirable recurved shape. These have become very hard to find in any market, wholesale or retail and the cost usually turns people away.


Pronounced sue-doe-bay'-lee-ee. it is native to Mexico and Nicaragua. This strange looking species is pollinated by ants and the base is similar in appearance to an onion. Green being the basic color it also has a bit of amaranth and the leaves are covered with fine trichomes giving it a silvery appearance.  The leaves have an upward curved and contorted shape which is a bit spooky looking, but some say it has a modern abstract art look to it, I agree. The scape is tall and the flower bracts are many and amaranth in color with the flowers being indigo. It pups profusely and roots well, however it is a slow grower, pups taking as long as 2 years to mature. It flourishes in brightly lit outdoor patio or porch areas out of direct sunlight and likes moisture, but in dry areas it needs frequent waterings. Fertilization monthly or biweekly is very beneficial to growth and flowering as well as pup production. This is a ageotropic, meaning it grows well horizontally or even upside down. 


Pronounced punk-too-lah`-ta, it comes from the forests of Mexico and Central America. A very popular and beautiful rosette that pups at the base of the plant. The leaves grow tall up from the center then gracefully fall outward in a fountain shape The inflorescence is very impressive with an inflated body that is very much like that of bromeliads and very unusual for a tillandsia. The primary bract is scarlet while the floral bracts are green with indigo and white flowers. It grows deep in the forest where it often is host to 'critters' living in the leaves who in turn give it nutrients, very similar to most bromeliads. Make sure the water that stays in this species is fresh by frequent watering to flush it, avoiding rot from the stagnant water that accumulates. It does not require bright light but will do well in it, the brighter the light, the more moisture it needs. Prefers cooler temperatures and give it plenty of moisture to simulate its natural conditions of frequent rainfall.  No arid conditions, it will dry out quickly. You may want to use sphagnum moss around the roots to help with moisture, the roots of this species as well as the cyanea have root systems that absorb  nutrients and moisture. A bit more expensive but well worth the price.


Pronounced poor-poor'-ay-a, Purpureus means "purple," that is a "dull red with a slight dash of blue". The name is in reference to the color of the bloom spikes and floral bracts. It grows as a ground cover in Peru's coastal desert, where the fog sufficiently saturates the leaves with water in the wet months of July to October. The weather in November, Mar, and June is variable. From December to April, the plants rarely receive water. An exquisite plant with heavily fragrant blooms and it grows rapidly. The leaves are soft and velvety though quite rigid and unforgiving if bent. It produces a tall erect scape which is straw colored to maroon, the floral bracts are rose pink and mauve and the flower petals are cream centered with aster violet margins. The bloom lasts as long as a month and is heavily fragrant. It produces as many as a dozen pups around the base of the inflorescence.


It is from Quero in central Ecuador. It thrives in bright indirect light, likes moisture and should be watered according to heat and dryness of the area its grown in. The long floral spike and bract is bright red with some yellow and the flowers lilac. It pups along the stem of the plant profusely. If hung upside down, this plant will grow upward. In experimenting with one plant, I hung upside down and when the new growth grew upward making a U shape I again flipped it to hang the top down, causing a un figure, very cool.


Pronounced ree-cur-vah' tah It is a very tiny species plant that forms  many in a clump, also called 'ball moss'. The tiny flowers are lilac in color. Diaphoranthema. Likes dry conditions but requires frequent watering and very good air circulation. Very pretty violet flowers that are quite large for the size of the plant.


A very beautiful species from Brazil with a pink scape and white flowers. The blooms tend to last a good two to three weeks once they open and the scape is colorful long before that. Rosette shape with silver grey stiff leaves, very pretty form to the plants. It was previously recognized as meridionalis and there is a salmon (rare) and pink (more common) inflorescence version.


Pronounced rye-den-bach'-ee-ee it grows in woods in southern Bolivia and northern Argentina. The leaves grow in a circle around the stem  and spread out, it could almost stand on its own with out support . The older leaves curl similar to T. duratii. The spike is long and has many floral bracts that produce pale violet flowers so heavenly fragrant they bring to mind a hyacinth scent and lots of them. A hardy species that grows well under conditions of bright light, frequent watering and consistent fertilization during the growing season


This plant from Columbia is large with tall multiple red scapes.


From Brazil, this beautiful plant has dark pink bracts and fuchsia flowers. The grey green leaves are soft and rosette shaped. 


Pronounced roth`-ee-ee, it grows along the west coast of Mexico from Puerto Vallarta south, in woods where its hot in summer and doesnt get much rain. Give this one lots of water and it will grow much faster. A slow grower that may take 2 to 3 years for a pup to mature, but the bloom is very long, up to a year from bud to full bloom. Very similar in appearance to xerographica with its curling leaves but more shiny and smooth. The brighter the light, the more colorful the inflorescence, often becoming a dark cherry.  The inflated spikes which are numerous, vary from cherry, butter cup yellow and moss green with pale seafoam green flowers. Not a very heavy pupper, usually one or two. This plant also blushes when grown in bright light but will do equally well in shade retaining its darker green colors and growing more slowly. These are not often available from nurserys and can be quite expensive.



Pronounced seh-coon'-da grows in soil and on rocks in Ecuador. It forms a rosette of soft leaves that would make an excellent pond plant if attached to the rocks surrounding the pond. It roots quickly when mounted on rough wood or rock. A tall scape with amaranth bracts and grape violet flowers, this scape can reach 5 feet in height or more in nature. A most interesting species because after blooming numerous offsets develop on the spikes of the inflorescence, often as many as 15-60, which can be removed easily when they start to crowd. Grows best in bright light, high humidity and enough water to keep the leaves turgid. Any water kept in the cup should be kept fresh to avoid rot. When grown in soil it often grows much larger. Because of the soft leaves it should be protected from high winds.


Pronounced shee-day-ah'-na, its a common species found in areas from Mexico and the West Indies to Colombia and Venezuela growing on rocks and trees. The leaves are stiff and gray green, and when grown in clumps they intertwine, and when in bloom look like many cherry torches. The flower that emerges from this cherry colored bract is a vivid yellow which is uncommon in a tillandsia. Does best in high levels of bright light, water and fresh air. Tiny trichomes will absorb moisture from the air.


A subspecies of schiedeana previously known as


A stiff leaf rosette with long slender leaves that grow straight up. It loves moisture and tends to dry out fast if not watered frequently. No direct sunlight but very bright light. The floral bracts are ruby to dark fuchsia and the petaled flowers are a rich violet blue or indigo. It pups from 2 to 5 at a time. It does well indoors as long as it gets the required moisture.  Very colorful and exotic. Not a very good rooter, it should be permanently tied to mounting material. Daily water and good moisture will be greatly appreciated by this plant.


Pronounced sfy-row-she'-pa-la it grows on rocks and trees in Bolivia and Argentina. The leaves form a rosette and the blades taper to a point. The scape is short and the rose colored flower head just reaches above the center leaves from which small amaranth flowers appears. Roots well under good growing conditions of bright light, but the plant does equally well under a broad range of conditions. I have it in full sun from noon till about 4pm., seems to like moisture and it gets watered frequently because it sits close to other plants that need watering every other day. It makes a good house plant if given enough light and water.


Pronounced strah-mi'-nay-a it grows in trees in Peru and Ecuador, the most common habitat being mountainous and dry. Also found growing on cactus. A stemless species (except in the case of straminea stem type) with leaves growing in a circular direction. As the leaves mature they gradually spread and begin to decurve. Old leaves hang down They are long, soft and finely covered with spreading trichomes making them feel like soft velvet. The spike is tall and produces many rose to mauve floral bracts. The very fragrant,  flared flower petals are cream with grape violet margins that are slightly ruffled It grows rapidly in well lit outdoor areas given plenty of moisture. Pups profusely among the older hanging leaves of the plant.


Pronounced strep-toe-car'-pa it grows in trees in open woods or on rocks in direct sunlight in Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil. A stemmed species that appears similar to T. duratii with its curling leaves. New leaves are erect, mature leaves are spreading and recurve at the tip and older leaves dry into ringlets in order to coil around a twig or tree branch. They are densely covered with trichomes giving the plant a fuzzy white appearance. The bloom scape is tall and slender and the broad, flared , fragrant petals of the flower are pale lavender and white. It prefers strong light and will grow faster if watered frequently in hot dry climates. It will usually produce 1 to 2 pups. I hang them from wire because of the curling leaves but make sure you tie loosely to allow for expansion.


Pronounced strep-toe-fih'-la it is found from southern Mexico to Honduras. It's nickname is "Shirley Temple" because of its leaf habit of twisting and curling like the childs locks. You can control the amount of curl using water, the more water it gets the less it curls. A neglected plant can be soaked over night where it will absorb water till it cant absorb anymore. The inflorescence is large and colorful. The scape and bracts are carmine when given bright light. The flowers are mauve and add color for weeks. The whole blooming process lasts from spike to spent bloom about 5 months. This species will grow under a range of conditions, the care it is given will affect its appearance. Because of the loose  bulbous base, water tends to get trapped inside and could cause rot so mount it to allow excess to run out. Its a bit difficult to mount because of its bulbous shape, I tied mine loosely at a horizontal angle on a piece of wood and some I hang with string upside down. Give it bright light and water according to heat and dryness of area where it is to be grown.


A natural hybrid from Mexico, it takes on the characteristics of both parents. The shape and texture of the leaves tend to be more like the streptophylla in that they curve downward and even curl a bit at the ends. It looks to be both bulbous and rosette at the same time. The floral spike and the blush of the leaves tend toward brachycaulos with blushing upper leaves and a short spike with purple flowers. But also like the streptophylla, it has a capitat (tall densely formed head) center. I would grow it like the streptophylla, in bright light with a minimal amout of water unless its very hot. Its not much on moisture either. And be careful of trapped water in the base, mount or hang at an angle.


The name says it, a hybrid cross between Streptophylla and Bulbosa. It takes on most of the bulbosa characteristics with the bulbous base and long shiny twisted leaves. It requires brighter light than the bulbosa though. I had it growing in an east window that received only morning sun with a florescent light for the afternoons, it bloomed real nice but didnt show much color. The blooms are more like the streptophylla with multiple spikes but are brighter red in color. Also likes humidity and lots of water like the bulbosa. All in all this is a very beautiful hybrid.


Pronounced stric'-ta, it grows in trees in eastern South America from Venezuela to northern Argentina under varying conditions of plenty of rainfall or very dry. It forms a rosette shape along a short stem with narrow green to gray leaves. One of the most popular species because of its colorful bloom which is a bit short lived, no more than 3 weeks from bud to spent bloom. As if to compensate for this, it pups profusely after bloom, growing rapidly they in turn will bloom in 8 to 12 months. The bloom scape extends from the center of the leaves with a rose to cherry floral bracts, so pretty itself but then emerge the dark blue flowers. If left attached to the parent, the many pups form a beautiful clump when they bloom but they stay smaller than if they are removed and left to grow on their own. Also first generation plants are not as large as succeeding generations, nor are the leaves as full and the blooms as large. Give it bright light, sufficient water and consistent fertilization.


Another form of the stricta with an outstanding floral bract and flower. A very hardy species from eastern South America growing from Venezuela to northern Argetina. Some plants grow in regions that receive frequent rainfall while others grow in areas that endure dry periods. A very popular species because of the beautiful bloom and the amount of pups it produces which grow rapidly and bloom the following year. Nice clumps form in a matter on a generation if pups are left attached. This is a bit more stiffer leaved species than the stricta and much more hardy. It likes bright light, frequent waterings and some humidity. 


A beautiful hybrid cross of stricta and gardneri with the soft leaves and fullness of gardneri while the inflorescence is more like the stricta  with a blush pink bract and amethyst flower petals. It is much longer lasting than the stricta bloom, about 2 weeks but the bract takes several weeks to reach the bloom stage and is pink the entire time. The leaves are not as wide as the gardneri but are more numerous making it a bit fuller. The tiny flowers resemble the gardneri in shape and size. Average care of water 3 to 5 times a week soaking the entire plant, bright indirect light and good air circulation.


Looks a lot like the tenuifolia but the leaves grow closer to the center rather than spread out. Flowers are dark purple with fuchsia colored scapes, very pretty. Also likes bright indirect light and more than average watering.


Pronounced teh-noo-i-fo'-lee-a, it grows from the West Indies to Bolivia and Argentina epiphytically (grows in trees but does not feed on them) in forests often in huge clumps. Its a caulescent (obvious stem) with many thin leaves like pine needles. They are green which indicates a forest woodland habitat instead of a more exposed area, so it likes bright light but no direct sun. Because the leaves are so thin they will dehydrate more quickly and require more moisture and frequent waterings especially in dry areas. The floral bracts are ruby red and the flowers are white or plum purple depending on the variety, which there are many such as tenuifolia blue, open form, amethyst, etc. This species blooms in California regularly between December and February for a month or so. Once it produces pups, the parent fades and is overgrown by the pups, which can be removed by splitting at the base where they are attached or you can leave them together to form a clump. It can be mounted in any direction. Fertilization and frequent water during the warm months is very beneficial.


Another form of tenuifolia with a rosette shape and thin stiff leaves. The floral bracts are dark pink and the bloom is a  light blue color. The leaves of this species are a bit longer than tenuifolia and they require more water and moisture. Bright light but no direct sun. 


Open form is different from the others in that it has a more obvious stem and the leaves are stiffer. The floral bract is fuchsia and the flowers are a darker purple. Same care as the others, and can even take a bit more bright light but be careful and watch for sun burn marks.


A Brazilian species with a beautiful dark blush to the leaves. Caulescent growing, the slightly fuzzy leaves emerge all along the stem and die off near the bottom as it gets older. A beautiful rose color inflorescence with snow white flowers. Give it bright indirect light with frequent watering and good air circulation.


This form of tenuifolia tends to be a bit smaller, a soft thin leaf with tiny white flowers that some say are blue. It may have a slight blue tint but its hard to tell. Same care as all tenuifolias, no sun, frequent water and moisture. A good indoor plant if you mist it heavy daily.


Pronounced tree'-cull-or its name is from the three colors of the inflorescence, cherry, canary and indigo. It usually grows on trees in woods from Mexico to Central America. It forms a dense rosette of many stiff ,long ,thin leaves that range in color from yellow-green to red. It does best in bright light and high humidity. The scape and primary bracts are cherry in color, the floral bracts are canary yellow to lettuce green and the flowers are indigo. It is a profuse pupper, as many as a dozen from a single plant. A very hardy plant. As with any tillandsia, fertilize it often for faster growth and bloom. The bloom is very long lasting. Do water often but make sure you mount or hang it at an angle to allow excess to flow out, these easily hold water and rot.



This species from Guatemala is so similar to magnusiana that you can hardly tell them apart. That is until they flower. What a beauty this one is, a dark rose multi-spike inflorescence with mauve tubular flowers. Grow in very bright indirect light to get that good dark color on the floral bract. Likes it more on the dry side but do water it average 3 to 5 times a week and supply very good air circulation. No extra moisture is needed because of the tiny trichomes which capture it from the surrounding air. 


Almost identical to brachycaulos with the soft velvety leaves and rosette shape, the blush is carmine with a definite scape that is cherry in color and tubular aster violet flowers and amethyst sepals. The scape is the only way I know to tell them two apart.  Both are very soft and have fine trichomes. Medium to low moisture since it tends to grab its own from the air. Mount at an angle to allow excess water to flow.


A stiff leaved rosette from Bolivia. It has a striking red scape and floral bract with a contrasting pure white flower. It is a profuse pupper, as many as 6 to a parent and they form all around the different leaves of the rosette. Very bright light but no direct sun , some humidity, watch for channeling of the lower leaves to determine the amount of water it needs. I water every other day in summer. This is a very hardy species and can be mounted any way you like. 


Pronounced vih-sen-tee'-na, it  is native to southern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Very graceful once established in and on its  growing environment. The tall flower scape is pastel green, the floral bracts are carmine and the flowers are grape  violet. It usually produces one to three offsets. This is one that prefers bright light, watered thoroughly but  flushed to remove excess or mount where excess can run off, and plenty of air movement. With enough of these conditions  given, it can be grown indoors, but take it out once in a while. It will adapt to most any given condition, but  treated well will be very rewarding. 


I was informed by a very nice man in Boca Raton Florida, who knows this stuff, that "This is actually not a natural hybrid but is ionantha x brachycaulos cultivated by M.B. Foster and named for Victoria Padilla - should properly be written Tillandsia 'Victoria'. It was so beautiful I had to have it for my collection. It is a rosette shape almost identical to brachycaulos in size and  in that it blushes a beautiful vibrant fuchsia and has purple tubular flowers that emerge from a short scape, but it grows against the gravity and when mounted or hung upside down will completely curve upward. The blush only lasts from just before the bloom to just afterward, the blooms last about 1 week. A bit succulent, it will absorb water easily and should not be left holding water but should be mounted at an angle to allow excess to run off. I grow in morning till about noon mottled sunlight, water every other day in summer, daily if temps reach 90+.


Pronounced Vree'-say-a ess-pi-no'-sigh, it is found growing on dry shrubs and woods in Peru and coastal Ecuador, where they grow in large groups completely encasing tree branches. Not actually a tillandsia but a cupless bromeliad that grows without soil. What makes it a genus Vriesea and not a tillandsia has to do with a tiny flap on the inside of the flowers. A rosette whose leaves grow to a point and have flat trichomes that give it a silver gray color. These stiff leaves can easily be damaged by falling debris. The inflorescence is a simple and smooth crimson colored floral bract with grape violet flowers. What makes this species so desirable is its habit of reproducing. After blooming, it develops several long stems that form new plants at the tips of each. These stems die but stay connected for several generations. In it's native land it tolerates strong light, heat and drought. In cultivation it grows more robust if given these same conditions but with extra watering and a schedual of fertilization. 


Pronounced zehr-oh-grah'-fi-ca, it grows from southern Mexico to Guatemala and El Salvador the most common environment being desert where cool nights produce morning dew that wets the plant. The rest of the day is extremely dry. These plants must survive nine months of the year with no rainfall. One of the most popular species, it is stemless, large and showy. The leaves taper from wide at the base to thin at the tips where they decurv and contort in every direction, very unusual and beautiful. Its a slow growing species but the advantage to this is the very long lasting bloom, many months from bud to spent bloom. The inflorescence is tall and colorful. The scape bracts vary from salmon to pink, very striking against the whitish leaves. The floral bracts are buttercup yellow and from these emerge mauve flowers. After blooming the inflorescence retains bright color for weeks. The leaves are densely covered with trichomes that reflect excess light and insulate from heat and sunburn. The trichomes also retain moisture. Its hard to over water this plant if its receiving bright light but it can be underwatered, going unnoticed till it then receives a heavy dose of water and soon falls apart. You would think this happening would indicate overwatering when in fact the opposite is true. This plant is currant on the CITES list (convention on international trade in endangered species)


A beautiful natural hybrid, T.fasciculata x T. bartramii from Florida , it has become a hybrid swarm and is a vigorous grower in the wet  forests of the central and northern parts of the state. Narrow silvery leaves grow strictly  upright in a tight rosette to about 20 inches tall. The inflorescence is a branched bright pink spike and has purple flowers. The leaves are pretty stiff and look to be able to take quite a bit of sun light but watch for sunburn. Likes moisture and plenty of water. I would grow this one in dappled sun till you know how it will do in your own area. I have had success growing it under trees where it gets mottled sunlight from the moving leaves and Louisiana has a lot of moisture in the air so I haven't had to water it as often as the other drier species. 


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Last modified:  Jan 1, 2022