Thursday, April 11, 2013

Organizing Tillandsias is Like Herding Cats....

Part of my Tilly collection, looking tidy. (MR2013)
Really? These guys look so organized, sitting politely on the floor, posing for a photograph. It's easy to tell your T. velutina from your T. harrisii, no problems here!

Full disclosure: this is what they usually look like---

A Tangle of Tillies
And it's not easy to tell a velutina from a harrisii when they're all tangled up on a table like that! Plants in regular pots are easy to label with a little white plastic stake. You can write all the info on the stake, stick the stake in the dirt, and bingo bango boom, you will always know which plant is which. You can move the pots around all you like, put then anywhere, and never be forced to wonder what the heck that voracious vine is that's taken over your bookcases.

But Tillies are different. They don't live in dirt, they can be moved around at will, and if they get watered all together in buckets, they get mixed up. I like to change the arrangements, too, from time to time, just because it's fun.  When I buy them, they have a label with a rubber band wrapped around the plant. That's useful for the short term, but rubber bands damage the leaves, and the labels aren't very decorative. So how can I keep track of what I have, and which plant is which?

The answer is in the first photo. I laid out about a dozen plants each time, with their labels, and photographed them. Now hopefully when my brain is muddled from lack of caffeine and I'm not sure which Tilly I'm looking at, (is this the bulbosa or the pseudobaileyi??) I can check the photo.  I hope this works!


  1. T. abdita is looking awesome with her lipstick on!

  2. Isn't she a beauty? It's amazing how long the abditas keep their colors after flowering. It's been months now. Eventually they go back to green, but then you get a pup, so no problem.