TILLANDSIA

FAMILY: Bromeliaceae

TYPE
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Varies by Species
WATER
  • Varies by Species

Plant Details

This large family of bromeliads is commonly found throughout Texas, Mexico, and Central and South America. Most are epiphytes (tree dwellers) that depend on rain, dew, and fog for moisture. A few grow in soil. Plants vary greatly in size and appearance. Leaves may be wide, narrow (even hairlike), or sword shaped; they may be twisted or curled. Those with green leaves generally need regular water and filtered light; types with gray- green to bluish foliage need less water and tolerate more sun. Often seen mounted on plaques of wood that are hung on walls, indoors or out; also look good in containers filled with loose, fast-draining potting mix. Let the mix go dry between waterings.

tillandsia caput-medusae

  • From Mexico and Central America.
  • Mass of curling, channeled, gray-green leaves to 1 feet long resembles the head of Medusa.
  • Blooms in late spring, producing a foot-long spike with red bracts and blue flowers.
  • Prefers bright filtered light.

tillandsia cyanea

  • From Ecuador.
  • Rosette of bright green, arching, 1 feet leaves produces a showy flower cluster in spring or autumn: a flattened plume of deep red or pink bracts, from which violet-blue flowers emerge one or two at a time over a long season.

tillandsia ionantha

  • From Mexico and Nicaragua.
  • Rosettes of 2 inches-long leaves covered with silvery gray fuzz.
  • Small, tubular spring flowers are violet; at bloom time, center of rosette turns red.
  • Tough and undemanding plant.

tillandsia juncea

  • Native from southern Florida to northern South America.
  • Forms a rosette of upright, very narrow, 12- to 16 inches-long leaves in olive-green tinged with copper.
  • Short, erect inflorescence appears in summer, consists of bright red bracts and bluish purple petals.

tillandsia latifolia

  • From Ecuador and Peru.
  • Bayonet-shaped gray-green leaves to 8 inches long.
  • Blossom spike reaches 15 inches tall, with yellow-orange bracts and flowers ranging in color from fuchsia to blue.
  • Spring bloom.

ball moss

tillandsia recurvata

  • Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11.
  • From southern U.S. and South America.
  • Ball-like clusters of gray-green leaves to 6 inches across grow on the branches; blue-violet flowers bloom in summer.

spanish moss

tillandsia usneoides

  • Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11.
  • Native from Florida and Texas south to Argentina.
  • Drapes itself on live oaks (Quercus virginiana), cypresses (Taxodium), and telephone lines, hanging as long as 15 feet.; a live oak draped with Spanish moss is a classic image of the South.
  • Greenish gray stems and leaves are wiry, threadlike.
  • Has no roots.
  • Inconspicuous green flowers in late spring or fall.
  • Thrives in shade and high humidity; very sensitive to air pollution.

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