When the orchid bug first hit, (see post 12-20-07,Orchids), there were often bromeliads sold alongside them at the shops. Nothing was known about these strange looking plants, but a few were picked up and brought home. At first they were mounted on a tree limb held in a large pot with plaster of paris. It looked great, but was very heavy to bring inside and out as the seasons changed, plus the tree branch eventually rotted from the watering. The transfer was made to this redwood trellis. The tillandsia bromeliads were tied onto the structure with fishing line, padded with a little spanish moss, which is also another tillandsia, T. usncoides.
The collection was edited down to the epiphytic, tree dwelling, tillandsias and the terrestrial cryptanthus, shown in the pot above. These two types stay relatively small, a big criteria in my space challenged greenhouse/sunroom. The cryptanthus are spreading, low growing clusters planted in cactus mix. Also called earth stars, an endearing name, they grow in nature on the rainforest floor, also endearing.
The tillandsias are about as low maintenance as a plant can get. They require bright light, air movement and moisture. Outside rain, dew and fog provide enough wetness, although the drought conditions here this past year caused some stress. They have all perked up after the more regular spraying that occurs inside the sunroom.
The leaf shapes are varied and with interesting growth habits. Some are straight, some are twisted and some curly. They have both green and gray leaves. The green ones may be planted in pots of well draining mix, but seem to enjoy living on the trellis.
The cultivar names are not known, they came with no tags, but we call the above cutie Pineapple Princess.
The whitish glob I am attempting to show in the above shot is a seed pod. There are flowers, short lived, that go to seed on the trellis. The spanish moss provides a web that catches the released seeds. So far no babies have emerged, the method of germination in not known, but there is hope. Should there be some kind of spray emulsion that might help this along?
Under the mass of spanish moss is a gift from my better half one Christmas. Mounted on this bark, grown by a local orchid specialist, Elmore Orchids, is the subject of the book ” The Orchid Thief” by Susan Orlean, and the movie based on it, “Adaptation”. Polyrrhiza lindenii, the ghost orchid is barely visible under the moss, it looks like gray green worms. It was thought dead several times, but seems to be showing new growth now. As for ever seeing that elusive bloom spoken of in the stories, there is not even a glimmer of hope. It makes a good conversation piece though.
This entry was posted in Musings
. Bookmark the permalink