Timely Bloom of Tillandsia capitata “Yellow” in Almost Three Years

It had been a while since the last recorded bloom of our Tillandsia capitata “Yellow” variety in our garden.

I got three varieties of Tillandsia capitata, ( one bought at the Manila Seedling Bank sale) another variety bought from Mrs. Doreen Dofitas the last type was from a seller from Davao.  This particular Tillandsia species tend to survive in almost neglected state with minimal watering during the rainy season and fertilization.


Tillandsia capitata ” Yellow”

It is only during the dry months from November to early May that we tend to water heavily at least twice a week.

A lot of the lush growth had some die back due to the infestation of squirrels few years ago, making nest out of the lush growth. It is good that the invasive Finalyson’s squirrels were killed using sling shots by the neighborhood children when they ate their ripening indian mangoes and bananas growing at their backyard.

It is good that there was still a couple of Tillandsia capitata left in our Cavite home. We reintroduced them and remounted them in our Manila Palm.


The weekly-weakly regimen of fertilization of water soluble fertilizer of 1/4 strength or 1/4 teaspoon per gallon, with 20-N20-P20-K alternately switching to 2 or 3 fertilizer brands, apply trace elements, micro nutrients such as epsom salt and calcium in small quantity. After every other week. We would also flush the entire plant with running water once a week, This is to remove excess salts and fertilizer residues.

Since it is mounted on a living palm, withered leaves from plants , palm flowers, dried palm fruits , bird dropping would accumulate at the base of the tillandsia , Hence adding natural compost . It is also a beehive of activities where black ants, millepedes and tree frogs hiding at the base of the leaves.

It is good to see that our Tillandsia capitata again showed sign of blooming and glad  to enjoy its blooms for at least a month. This is one of my favorite Tillandsia along with Tillandsia fasiculata , Tillandsia xerographica, Tillandsia ionantha,Tillandsia schiedeana, Tillandsia intermedia and Tillandsia funckiana.


Creative Ideas from Farmer’s Garden

Farmer’s Garden is a haven for plant lovers that are living within Cubao area. There are about two dozen stalls which sells different kinds of plants, cacti, succulents, water plants, tillandsia, ferns, roses, orchids and ornamental plants.


The mood is very festive as the Christmas season usher in more buyers.


cacti and succulents at Php 25.00 per pot

 Farmer’s garden is beehive for cacti and succulent wholesalers and retailers. Some stall holders would put plastic animals to and create some interesting landscape works. One can use their creativity on how to present plants, orchids or cacti in interesting containers or attractive potteries.


crotons and rhapis palm

Croton or San Francisco plant and Rhapis palm are also making a big comeback.


African violets

African violets are also called Saintpaulias, these are popular indoor flowering plants.



Ashitaba scientifically called Angelica keiskei, commonly known under the Japanese name of ashitaba, literally “tomorrow’s leaf”. This grows at slightly higher elevations like Tagaytay, Lipa, Baguio, Benguet. This is the real ashitaba.



These are hybrid roses which bears large flowers and are mostly grown in higher elevations.


Dendrobium hybrids

Dendrobium hybrids are also popular among backyard growers and as live potted flowering plants. The flowers last between 2 to 3 weeks.


Dendrobium hybrids


ornamental pineapples

These ornamental pineapples are used as center table accents, for flower arrangements or centerpiece items. The colorful fruits are attractive and can last for several weeks. However these are not edible.


different types of tillandsia and orchids for sale


groot as an accent


corn plant

 Corn plant or Dracena sanderiana variegata is another popular indoor or good luck plant.


Tillandsia ionantha variety stricta


Tillandsia ionantha variety Druid and Tillandsia andreana

Tillandsia ionantha variety Druid develops a peach color rather than the red.  Tillandsia andreana is another species that comes from Colombia and was introduce into the country some 10 years ago. It’s leaves can also have a pink tinge to them, which is actually a sign the plant is about to bloom.


using bottles as creative way of presenting air plants


Ruah’s Garden

Most of the plant stall holders are open between 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, but some cacti and succulent stalls wholesalers would open a little bit earlier, especially when their new supplies would be unloaded.

Farmer’s Garden is near Araneta Center, PUV terminal, MRT 3- Araneta Center.



Winners at Grow and Show Bazaar Featuring Tillandsia

Big winners were proclaimed at the Plant and Show bazaar held at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center. The event was organized by Philippine Horticultural Society Incorporated.



Tillandsia ionantha



Best Tillandsia ionantha – Ms. Emma Bautista


Best T. ionantha x Hybrid T. Conchita –  Del Atienza



Best Staging – Ronald Estayan


Best on-the spot Staging- Dr. Ella Gutierrez

Photo credits : Atty. Bom Gomez ( judge), Mr. Riffy Nova and Mr. Ronald Estayan

Tillandsia ionantha: An airplant blooming in our garden

Quezon City , Philippines

Hello to all my avid readers and followers,

Tillandsia ionantha ( October 18, 2015)

I have been growing Tillandsia species for over 15 years.  Just like any hobbies , There are some misfortune that happened to my Tillandsia collection over the past several years of actively growing them. I am sharing some of the growing techniques and some tips on how to grow them properly under Philippines and perhaps tropical conditions.  I have killed several species due to over-watering .

After the devastating Typhoon Koppu ( Bagyong Lando ) which struck several days ago .  While walking around our small garden , i saw one of my Tillandsia oinantha clump started to turn reddish.

I bought a single Tillandisa ionantha in 2012 during the Flora Filipina expo , This was just to add to the different varieties that i started collecting way back in 2003. The price had been quite stable for the past several years since there are a lot of active garden growers , enthusiasts and even commercial farms which propagate them in massive quantities.

I got up to more than half a dozen varieties of Tillandsia ionantha which i have bought at the garden shows and plant stalls when the Manila Seedling Bank Foundation was still in operation .

Try to separate large clump whenever it is possible , It allows better air circulation and it prevents rots. If you lived in a place with high air circulation , watering should be copious.

They are also commonly called air plant, sky plant, wreath plant , blushing bride among others.

Tillandsia ionantha ( October 22, 2015 ) inflorescence turning red

Ethno-Botanical Importance:  They are normally used as a decoration mainly for holiday season and on festive occasions in much of their range , they are fashion into wreath and good luck charm

Origin: Southern United States , Central , Carribean and South America

Cultivar Varieties : There are between 50 to 60 cultivar varieties depending on plant authorities

Height: 6-12 in (15-30 cm) depending on the variety

Here are some of my Growing Tips :

Light: Bright, indirect light. Tillandsia ionantha also thrive under fluorescent lights, making them good office plants, indoor plants. Good for balcony, patio growing .

Under outdoor growing area , I usually moved them indoor ( temporary )   if there is a continuous rain ( monsoon rains  ) which last for over 1 hour or so .

Water: Spray plants twice a week, until they are thoroughly wet. Or you can take them to the sink and run water over them. DO NOT soak them. Turn plants upside down to allow excess water to run off. Standing water at the base of the leaves will cause them to rot.

Humidity: Moderate to high humidity. Brown leaf tips are caused by dry air.

Fertilization: I water first the entire plant before feeding them with very diluted water soluble fertilizer twice a month 1/4 of the recommended dosage , Alternating 20N-20-P-20K with 30N-10P-10K every other week .

Propagation: Growing sky plant from offshoots or “pups” is the best way to create new plants. Pups grow at the base of the mother plant.

Note: Try to fasten them with plastic coated wires on driftwood or small logs , sometimes they can be hung with ordinary plastic wires.  Some disliked being fasten using ordinary aluminum wires.

* Photos are taken by the author

Website links: Kew Garden



Mr. Ramon Calado Farm Revisited

Antipolo City, Rizal Province-Philippines

Aerial plants like Tillandsia ionantha , orchids, hoyas and dischidias greet every visitor to his farm

Happy Easter to all avid readers! During my pilgrimage to Antipolo City on Maundy Thursday – April 17, 2014. We happened to know a common friend and decided to make an appointment with Mr. Ramon Calado.

Ascocentrum miniatum from Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia

Mr. Ramon Calado is a breeder of orchids ( for at least 40 years !) and ornamental plants. He is also into ornamental fish keeping and i saw two 20 gallon of red cherry shrimps .  I know that there are some serious orchid collectors which resides near or within Antipolo City . Personalities like Tita Betty Duterte, Mr. Arsenio Sy, Dr. Glen Bulmer ( just passed away ) Ms. Girlie , Mr. Nonito Dolera , Mrs. Adelia R. Angeles ( decease )  among others.

Asplenium musifolium ( Cobra )

I have met him several years ago when he was the guest speaker in one of the orchid and garden shows that i have attended. I did not know anything about Mr. Calado until my father who use to work at Federal Agricultural Company in San Miguel , Bulacan  told me that he use to be one of the prime movers and technical consultant at the orchid farm. The farm   was established in the early 1990’s within the agricultural estate of the Typocos .


We used to visit the orchid farm in the early days of the operation and bought some Dendrobium University of Hawaii white variety . It was the fad among orchid collector and backyard grower in our place several years ago. The flowers are long lasting and had a sampaguita ( faint smell) which the housewives and backyard growers adore.

medinilla seedlings

orchid seedlings in community pots

There are some regular buyers of orchid seedling from different parts of the Philippines and  foreign buyers. His orchid hybrids can withstand the intense rainfall and have acclimatize under Philippine condition – that is ‘why’ some farm owners would buy his stock of orchid seedling on a regular basis. They are more hardy compared to the imported Dendrobium hybrid seedlings from Thailand.

Vanda Manila

Euanthe sanderiana

I am really amazed with such a small space and area, The combined lot area is is barely 600 square meters- ( 2 lots) can accommodate all those orchid seedlings and ornamental plants plus all those hanging tillandsias, hoyas and dischidias!


Phalaenopsis equestris

Link of previous article 2009: https://renz15.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/mr-ramon-calado-orchid-and-ornamental-farm-in-antipolo/

For appointments  :

Mr. Ramon Calado

Email: orchids_bymoncalado@yahoo.com

(0917) 336 4124 GLOBE

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