Monday, August 1, 2011

Tillandsias Versus Orchids

Sanggumay plantlets
Tillandsia capitata var.
I am writing this next blog in honor of Bom Gomez, the plantchaser, who is celebrating his birthday and a year of plant-blogging! He has requested his blogging friends to write about particular plants which he tackled in the past year. I chose to blog about Tillandsias, which is a passion we share. I know Tillandsias are not Philippine native plants, but will feature them here in context of how I keep these bromeliads with my native orchids in my garden. Again, Bom, congatulations and happy celebrations! You could see Bom's blog at
The trellised part of the garden with Tillandsias and orchids
Tillandsias and orchids
My garden of succulents
My garden is on the roof. It gets a lot of sunlight which is actually ideal for growing succulents and sun loving plants. But since the rainy season began, I have been worried that my Agaves, Euphorbias, Aloes, etc. would suffer and melt under the continuous rains, which was quite the case in the last few weeks. The sentsitive ones I have been transferring under the cover of available eaves. It is quite a tiring routine when raindrops starts to fall. But there seems to be a few plants in my collection that welcome the excess of water. These are my Tillandsias and orchids, as majority of them are showing signs of good health and growth even though they are wet, wet, wet. Some are bringing out new shoots and ultimately, flowers.
 Tillandsia caput-medusae in flower
Flowering T. xerographica
Tillandsia recurvata
I have been collecting Tillandsias for the longest, eversince I saw and fell in love with my very first specimen, a Tillandsia ionantha. I have tried to rear quite a number of species and I have propagated - and lost - some along the way. In that duration my attention was refocused on other plant genera but the Tillandsias have stayed always close to my heart and at a good position in my rooftop garden.

Flowering Trichoglottis sp.
My love for orchids, on the other hand, is quite new. Before, I have always thought of them as being corny, with all the cultivated varieties and the large-sized and loud-colored cross-breeds. My mother
Vanda luzonica with new leaves
collected orchids and after she died, it was only then that I discovered the interesting species she had. In the garden, her orchids have not stopped to flower. Factored with the emergence of my being enamoured with native flora, I eventually added native orchid species into her plants, now my collection. The drab colored flowers of the native orchids appeal to me more than the staples like Cattleya and Oncidiums.

New roots of V. merrillii
T. bergeri with new shoots
I only have a small portion of the garden that is trellised and this where I have the Tillandsias and the orchids, with the former all at left, the latter at right. And they are the ones which are enjoying the prime spot to collect the excessive rain and moisture. Both groups are now racing to exploit the wet season at two opposite ends of that trellis. In a time when I am looking for roof to cover and shelter my other plants from the rain, Tillandsia and the orchids are competing to gain dominance in that part of my garden. Tillandsias versus orchids, the old love versus the new ones, the exotics versus the natives - let us wait till after the rainy season which group would emerge as winners. I prefer that they both proliferate because come summer season, both would again give way to my succulents and native plant species, which is another, and larger, race to observe.


Plant Chaser said...

Thanks for joining, Patrick! You know that I will be rooting for all your plants, just a little bit more for the tillandsias though. :-D

There seem to be too many species of orchids to collect. I am worried that if I develop an interest in them, then I will not have any more space for other plants.

It seems we have more in common than just tillandsias. I notice you have Agaves and Dyckias, too.

metscaper said...

You could collect certain orchid genera which could bloom here in Manila. I have only a few Dyckias but lots of Agaves and Sansevierias.

Wally Suarez said...

Excellent and interesting read, Patrick. Do feature more plant personalities!

mysim said...

Do you where can I find Tillandsia nursery in Philipine?