“Look at this!” I told my niece. N took one look at my Tillandsia Cyanea and laughed.
“You stuck the purple flowers there, right? I’ve seen them before in the garden.” She probably thought I was trying to pull a fast one; a lame April Fool trick.
“No, I didn’t. Look again.” N’s eyes widened. “You mean they are real? Wow!”
The T. Cyanea’s inflorescence is really quite amazing. I too was captivated by its impressive pink bract and vivid violet flowers when I first saw it. I still am.
Recently, I found out that the T. Cyanea is also called Pink Quill. How apt.
My first T. Cyanea was stuck onto a piece of driftwood and had looked more like a sculpted art piece. It was a thing of beauty, that unfortunately did not last forever.
It died prematurely due to a fatal combination of moi’s ignorance and over-enthusiasm. I had overwatered it. That dealt a painful blow – both to my wallet and my ego.
And so there was a long hiatus between my first T Cyanea and my second … and third. And these plants came to be only because a friend gave them to me; a double portion of blessings.
His T. Cyanea had grown into a huge clump of some thirty over plants. And when they all bloomed in sync, the pot of Cyanea looked like a big exotic bouquet. The clump had grown too big and had to be divided.
I wasn’t about to blow my second chance with the Cyanea. This time, I did my research and used media and pots that ensured better air-circulation. Thankfully, the plants grew and are thriving.
Like other tillandias and bromeliads, the Cyanea can only bloom once, after which it produces pups and fades away. Fortunately, each Cyanea inflorescence lasts more than four months.
The quill which first made an appearance before December 2012 is still pink and purple flowers are still taking turns to emerge from between the bracts.
an emerging T. Cyanea pup
It’s been making a huge impression on the family with its exotic beauty and long lasting blooms.
The T. Cyanea may be years from forming the huge clump my friend once had, but they will get there; one pup at a time.
Care and propagation: Dappled light, pine bark, wood chips or charcoal bits; water moderately and ensure good air circulation. Propagation is by division or by using seeds.