The great love affair…
Tillandsia funckiana is an absolute must have in anyone’s collection. It originates from Central America, namely Venezuala, but I could not find any further detailed information on their actual habitat. Funckiana is a smallish plant, with silvery grey pine needle-like leaves growing along a stem. Individual plants look very delicate and graceful, but if you manage to grow this into a clump it looks absolutely spectacular (do a google search if you don’t believe me)!
Well my plant is far from being a clump, but I am working on it. Indeed my first funckiana is what I think of as a rescue job. I bought it from a nursery where it was looking pretty miserable, sat in a dark and stuffy corner with little direct light. Indeed it was looking so miserable the lady agreed to sell it to me for RM20 from an original price of RM80 – or so she claimed anyway.
Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the plant when I got it, and only took pics after I had removed all the dead and dried leaves and remounted it on a piece of wood. I managed to get two good sized plants with a pup each, out of what was originally a single very long stemmed plant. In the pic below, you can see part of the dried stem of the original plant as an indication of just how long the original plant must have been. It is such a shame that the nurseries bring these plants in without knowing how to care for them properly, as this must have been a real beauty when it first arrived.
After about a month in sunny outdoor conditions it started to look ever so slightly better.
And after three months there was definite improvements, with the new growth looking more robust and the smaller lower plant even sending out a new pup.
But the real breakthrough came when I did some research on the internet and realised that these guys like water. I upped their watering frequency and could immediately see the results, with four little pups appearing on the top plant!
Well it has been a good six months since I bought these plants and I am happy to report that they seem to be thriving.
Funckianas love the sun and mine get direct morning sun up until 1pm. The other aspect of course is water, and if you have them in such sunny and airy conditions, be sure to keep them suitably hydrated if you want to prevent the ends of the plant from drying out. My place is sufficiently dry and breezy that I have even watered them twice a day, particularly during the mini heatwaves that occasionally occur here. I find that once they have adapted to the growing conditions, they are actually pretty fast growing.
Finally, I have found that funckianas are not especially common in the local nurseries here so be sure to snap them up if you do happen to come across them, so you can start working towards growing your own spectacular blooming clump!
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