Quezon City -Philippines
Tillandsia capitata ” yellow” variety mounted on Manila Palm ( Adonidia merrillii)
Rainy season had begun early May this year , Unlike in the previous years. Watering these air plants will not be a problem for us . We did some pruning of small shrubs and trees around the garden to increase air circulation in the surrounding area.
Tillandsia capitata “yellow” variety were pups or offsets that were removed from the clump during the last blooming season of 2014. Our Tillandsia capitata also bloomed last year but there were few pups or offsets that were produced . Most are given away as gifts to close friends .
flowers are violet ( lasting only for 1 day )
The early rainy season and occasional application of water soluble fertilizer had led to the dramatic change in the color of its inflorescence or bracts turning yellow at the center also called “blushing” . In a matter of few weeks, almost all of the pups mounted at the Manila palm started blooming ! This will also mark the end of the plant life cycle. I think that the Tillandsia are also mature enough to bear flowers – It had been almost 3 years .
gecko or butiki hiding at the leaves of Tillandsia capitata
This particular plant also host a variety of insects , ( ants in particular ) millipede and even a gecko ( butiki) lives , creating a small micro-climate within the host palm.
Most species absorb moisture and nutrients through the leaves from rain, dew, dust, decaying leaves and insect matter, aided by structures called trichomes.
There is a growing interest during the past several decade among backyard hobbyists , lazy gardeners and plant enthusiasts in the Philippines as these air plants are less demanding , requires limited space , minimal watering and fertilization.
bracts or inflorescence
There are some cheap tillandsia plants for sale during plant bazaars, sunday markets and plant swap-meets from barely Php 100 to few thousand of pesos for rare kinds and hard to find imported hybrids.
There are backyard growers which specializes in growing them – A short list includes, Atty. Bom Gomez of Plant Chaser, Prof. Andrew Patrick Gozon of Pinoy Trees , Mr. Botchie Canicula of NVC Garden FB, Architect Bimbo Vergara , Mr. Ramon Calado of Antipolo , Ms. Ging Caperal , Mr. Joseph Salacup of Laguna , Ms. Aireen Bernal, Mr.Baunch Tumale , Ms. Emma Bautista , Ms. Baby Alarcon, Mr. Frandel Recto, Mr. Jun Golamco , Mr. Bing and Joan Onari of Davao among others .
There are other commercial growers and sellers like EnR Farm, Puentespina , Purificacion Orchid, Insular Garden of Quezon province , Ms. Vicky Jimenez of Davao , Ms. Doreen and Mr. Rene Dofitas , Ms. Vangie Go , Mr. Boyet Ganigan , Dr. Jay Silvestre , Dr. Olivia Sanchez, Ms. Linda Lim of Laguna.
Since there is no formal tillandsia society established in the country, One can join the Cactus and Succulent Society of the Philippines, Philippine Horticultural Society , Philippine Orchid Society , Fern and Nature Society of the Philippines which provides some information thru their public lectures and monthly meeting among their general membership. There is also a chance to meet fellow local collectors in different FB pages . They are the ones who normally share their cultural requirements and growing techniques .
The closest affiliate society which hold exhibit on tillandsias was the defunct Bromeliad Connoisseur Society of the Philippines .
There will be some plant traders selling tillandsias in the upcoming 70th Mid-Year Orchid and Garden Show at the Hardin ng mga Bulaklak ( HB/ Flower Garden ) from August 25 to September 5, 2016 within the Quezon Memorial Circle.
Note : I may have forgotten to mention some hobbyists and farms which specialized in growing tillandsia plant. The purpose of this blog is just to give some leverage on the growing niche market for air plants in the country.