Monday, May 26, 2014

Tillandsia of the Month: Tillandsia crocata

I might as well start with the photo....
What a mass of curls! But Tillandsia crocata has even more charms. The small, yellow blooms are intensely fragrant. Not many Tillies have scented blooms, and very few have yellow ones, so this makes T. crocata a special part of a collection.

"Crocatus" means "with saffron yellow", and this Tillandsia hails from Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. Crocatas live at fairly high elevations of 900-2700m. The trichomes are large and winged, and this is to maximize water collection during the few times of the year when it rains frequently.

T. crocata is easy to grow and very drought-tolerant, though it needs more light than the average Tillie. The clumps can grow very dense, and if you have such a clump, it's important to give it good air circulation after watering so that rot doesn't begin at the center.