The great love affair…
I bought this till, Tillandsia brachycaulos, almost as a consolation prize during a very disappointing till hunting trip. Tills are still pretty hard to come by here, but that is material for another post! Anyway brachys were never really a favourite with me, leafy green tills somehow just never really catch my eye and I very much prefer the silvery-grey or bulbous tills. But because I didn’t have one at the time, I had to get one.
Brachys are native to Central America, from Mexico to Honduras, and it is a sub-mesic species, which indicates a preference for moisture. It has an open rosette, about 6-inches in diameter with nice lime green leaves.
Having said I am not a fan, they are most definitely growing on me. Particularly since this little guy started to blush a nice shade of red about a month after I bought it. I dismissed the thought that it was about to flower, thinking it was just blushing owing to a change in growing conditions. The nursery I bought it from had it tucked away on a counter right next to the cash register, which meant it wasn’t getting a lot of direct sun. Whereas I chucked it straight out into direct morning sun for a good 4 – 5 hours everyday.
Well after another month the plant was a nice bright red! At which time there was no longer any doubt about the plant blooming.
Another pic 2 days later with my labrador providing the background in one of them, where the deep purple flowers are now clearly visible.
And finally in bloom. Unfortunately as with most till flowers, the blooms are very short lived, lasting about a day at most before it starts to wilt. I can’t recall if I tried to self pollinate the plant, but it is now about 6 months since it bloomed and there is no sign of any seed pods, so I either did not try or had no success.
Less than a month later, I was very happy to spot two little pups near the base of the plant. They have been growing steadily ever since.
It’s been about six months since the plant bloomed, and the two pups are now a pretty decent size. I have been thinking of removing them from the parent plant, but just haven’t gotten around to doing it as yet. Personally I think brachys probably do best either as single plants or in pairs, as any more than that and they just start crowding each other out.
Brachys are able to tolerate a wide range of conditions, and despite it having soft green leaves which would suggest a preference for shade, it seems to be happy where I have it at the moment which is direct morning sun up until 12pm-1pm. It does like water, so a good drenching everyday or every other day keeps it happy. They are good rooters too, and send out loads of roots so will attach itself to its mounting very quickly.
Overall a plant which is easy to grow and better yet easy to bloom, at which point its fiery redness will make it standout in your collection, and rightly so too!
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