Tillandsia secunda at Andy's Air Plants
Time for a plant profile blog post.
Here is the wonderful Tillandsia secunda. This species is popular among bromeliad growers because it is easy to grow and makes a very large plant that has a really nice flower spike that also produces pups on the spent stem. This is a phenomenom called vivipary (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivipary).
Tillandsia secunda comes from Ecuador where it grows at elavation on rocks and cliff faces and even terrestrialy. It has much larger and greener leaves than most Tillandsia species, the trichomes and hairs needed for the xerophytic high life environments of the silver leaved species are redundant or sparse and adpressed. The leaf bases hold some water unlike the true atmospheric species.
The flower spike on this T. secunda is awesome! Tall, branched, elegant, colorful and long lasting. The bracts are a pinkish red and the petals are thick, waxy and dark purple. The branches of the flower spike continue to grow and produce many of these flowers over a period of several months. These flowers are hetrostylous https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heterostyly which basicaly promote out crossing which insures genetic diversity withing the species. Much like 'pin and thrum' flowers in Primulas which i remember from early days of studying plants. This phenomenom is quite uncommon in Bromeliacea. The flower spike then goes on to produce pups/vegatative offsets which of course are geneticaly identicle to the parent. In the wild these 'propagules or pups weigh down the old flowered stem and would fall off and hopefuly take root elsewhere. As a third method this species also produces pups around the base on the plant, these are unlike most other pups from Bromeliads, they are called 'grass pups' and need to be removed from the parent plant and grown on as one would with seedlings.
Pictures show me holding a large mounted specimen of T. secunda 10/11/2019, showing the pups that have formed along the stem and also a grass pup at the base, these will be removed and grown on. There is a close up of these pups. And a picture of the plant earlier in the year in spike at one of my flower shows.
I have some nice grass pups available for sale on the website. These are perfect for growing on into your very own 'giant' Tillandsia secunda.