Tillandsia & their blooms (Tillariums) - Page 12 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #166 of 188 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 05:11 PM
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Hi wastewater! I started to get into tillandsias about 9 months ago and meanwhile I ended up with a collection of about 25 different species. I was lucky and stumbled over your thread, it was my reading for the last days Very impressive, its great to get information from 1st hand especially if its from someone with years of experience! Too bad so many pictures got deleted To be honest I'd like to see all of them, but since thats like very many pics I would be interested most in pics of your selfmade tillariums/frames/lightningconstructions/mountings that you made and that worked out for you! I use energy saving lamps in either cold 6500k or warm 2700k colors due to the fact that some of the boxes are in the living room others in my office. Did not notice much difference by now. What do u think is better? For my next box I bought some LED plant light from ikea. Here is a picture from one of my tillandsia boxes and from some plants I got from Tillandsia experts (hromadnik) Snowy greetings from austria!

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post #167 of 188 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 05:20 PM
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One more question: I noticed that your tillariums have black backgrounds. Do you think it makes much of a difference to use white or even some mirroring material because much more light gets reflected?

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post #168 of 188 (permalink) Old 01-03-2018, 03:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, appreciate your comments, your interest, and the pictures of your growing enclosure (very creative with a nice/diverse collection of Tillandsia). Wow, Austria... a beautiful country indeed! Saw the name 'Hromadnik' near the bottom of your first post. Mrs. Lieselotte Hromadnik is well repsected (especially on the subject of Tillandsia). Lucky to have her in Austria, and being able to acquire plants from Mrs. Hromadnik makes it that much better! I have never met or corresponded with her, but did have the chance to read her book: "The Tillandsia Tectorum Complex" (published by the German Bromeliad Society in 2005).


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One more question: I noticed that your tillariums have black backgrounds. Do you think it makes much of a difference to use white or even some mirroring material because much more light gets reflected?
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Black backgrounds appeal to me, basically the main reason for using them. Very good question in regards to light reflection using a white background. All of my lighting is now LED. Being that LEDs are more of a point-source type of light, I really never considered white and/or mirrored type backgrounds. Most of my growing enclosures are clear (except for the background), so I do try to use any "light spill" coming out of those enclosures to my advantage ~ by growing more plants next to the Tillariums.

*Some notes about lighting below.

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Originally Posted by Tillandsia Sturbarnii View Post
I would be interested most in pics of your selfmade tillariums/frames/lightningconstructions/mountings that you made and that worked out for you! I use energy saving lamps in either cold 6500k or warm 2700k colors due to the fact that some of the boxes are in the living room others in my office. Did not notice much difference by now. What do u think is better? For my next box I bought some LED plant light from ikea.
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As to your question about the 6700K and 2700K lights: personally, I think using both Kelvin temperatures together/in combination is wise (and probably very beneficial for plant growth).

Lost many of my pictures, so I hope the pictures posted below will help to provide a visual idea about some of my DIY projects. The majority of these Tillariums are constructed out of acrylic or glass. A few of the larger ones are constructed out of hardwood (I use birch and walnut). The inside walls of the wooden Tillariums are coated with black epoxy (https://www.smooth-on.com/products/habitat-cast-coat/ and https://www.smooth-on.com/product-line/epsilon/). The epoxy adds some water resistance (even though the inside of those enclosures stay dry). My wall mount frames are simple wooden frames made from thin walnut boards with lighting attached.

Lighting... currently, using all LED (DIY) driven soft (350-400ma). Played around with many spectrum combinations over the years, so spectrum configurations vary from set-up to set-up. I am very fond of white (6-7K), 660nm (red), 460-480nm (blue) as a combination - very favorable for the plants and pleasing to 'my eye'.
Personal opinion: lighting is an extremely complex topic, and can be difficult to explain & support. Here are my thoughts for designing a light fixture. Instead of thinking in terms of providing artificial light for our plants, trying to replicate/replace the sun would be a better option. From my understanding, sunlight contains approx. 4% ultraviolet radiation, 52% infared radiation, and 44% visible light.

#1 - The initial step of photosynthesis in plants is the absorption of light by chlorophylls. There are several kinds of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll A & B are important because they harvest visible light for plant photosynthesis. The point at which chlorophyll converts light energy most efficiently is known as an absorption peak.

#2 - Chlorophyll does not absorb all the wavelengths of visible light equally. Chlorophyll A & B are considered the most important light absorbing pigments in plants. Peak absorption points occur at approx. 439nm and 667nm for chlorophyll A, 469nm and 642nm for chlorophyll B.

#3 - I try to keep this in mind when designing a light fixture. It makes sense to me: trying to provide light that is used for photosynthesis and not wasted. What is better for plants, light that is used by our plants or light that appears bright to our eyes? Light with a high PAR will oftentimes appear "not" to be very visually bright to our eyes.




#4 - Spectrum is much more important than K (kelvin temperature). You can calculate kelvin (color temperature) from spectrum, but you cannot know spectrum based on kelvin. Kelvin has little to do with spectrum. A kelvin number (6500K) means there is a strong emission line at that frequency. Different spectral emission patterns (nanometer wavelengths) can produce light of similar color. This means that different nm wavelengths can be used to reach the same color temperature (example: 6500K). I kind of think of it like this: 9+1=10, 8+2=10, 7+3=10, 6+4=10, 5+5=10 ~ all producing the same result of 10.

Heat sinks... using mostly 6061 aluminum alloy (low cost, easy to acquire, good thermal conductivity in my opinion). Depending on the design of my lighting fixture, I use aluminum bars, aluminum plate, and have recently started using rectangular aluminum tubes for heatsinks. The rectangular tubes seem to have 'good' passive cooling tendencies.


Mounts for the plants... I use 18ga. coated floral wire for plant holders mounted to various wooden bases: oak, rhododendron, pine, pine bark, cork, cholla (with the exception of cork and cholla, the other woods come from my backyard). I also hang some species upside down from fishing line (T. araujei, T. capillaris, T. intermedia, etc.).

Noticed a plant tag on the T. myosura in one of your photos. I really like this idea (along with extra information pertaining to the plant)). Plant tags really come in handy for IDs, especially when collections start becoming really large (and using tags with hybrids that can look quite similar to a species).

A few acrylic Tillariums finally glued together


Wood Tillariums



A few simple wall mounted frames


Light fixtures & configurations


Plant mounts (a few examples so you can get an idea of how the floral wire and wood bases are used - I use a lot of pine bark for attaching plants to the sides of my enclosures, and use cut sections of tree branches for bases on the bottom of my enclosures). Don't like to keep the plants permanently attached to mounts. These mounts allow me to easily move plants around and re-position if needed (and easy removal for watering my plants).


Rectangular aluminum tube heatsink (although only driving @ approx. 350ma, this shape has provided good passive cooling)


Aluminum plate heatsink (actively cooled) - small footprint using 3w ES Lumileds (driven @ 700ma) with the best BINs available at the time of this build.
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Last edited by wastewater; 02-21-2018 at 07:11 AM. Reason: *Additional photos
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post #169 of 188 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 02:24 PM
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Thx for the quick and detailed answer and the pics!! I am pretty bussy at the moment and I have to go through your post in detail with a little more time at hand but I will come back on it!
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post #170 of 188 (permalink) Old 04-30-2018, 08:53 PM
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@wastewater this is probably my favorite thread of all time!!

A little off topic but is there a difference between xerographica and xerographica curly variety? Or is it just age and environmental characteristics that produce longer curlier leaves?

Also, where do you recommend purchasing tillies online (or in mother California region) that are responsibly sourced? I suppose this is ideally grown from seed, vs harvested.


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post #171 of 188 (permalink) Old 05-01-2018, 04:24 AM Thread Starter
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@wastewater this is probably my favorite thread of all time!!

A little off topic but is there a difference between xerographica and xerographica curly variety? Or is it just age and environmental characteristics that produce longer curlier leaves?

Also, where do you recommend purchasing tillies online (or in mother California region) that are responsibly sourced? I suppose this is ideally grown from seed, vs harvested.


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I'm blown away... that is a "heck" of a compliment ibebian! Thanks for the kind words.

In regards to your question about T. xerographica ~ not off topic at all. I really don't know what the difference is, as this is the first time I've heard of a curly variety. I personally think you hit it on the nail head (age and environmental conditions). What I do know about T. xerographica (from my experience): leaves will tighten up and become curlier the longer they go without water.

Also, T. xerographica grown from seed have a different appearance (IMO) than offsets. Seed grown 'xeros' seem to have less curl and the leaves seem to be narrower. Took a few photos to show you some examples of a young seedling and a young offset (notice the underside *base* of each plant). Both have recently been watered.

A seed grown T. xerographica (about 4 years old) - leaves are straight and narrower.



An offset of T. xerographica (about 2 years old) - leaves are broader and have more curl.



Tillandsia streptophylla is a very curly plant (young & old). These guys will get extremely curly & tight the longer they go without water. The one below has been watered recently.


If you want the "xerographica" offset in the above photo, send me a pm and I'll mail it to you (no cost, and I'll take care of the postage). It is "smallish" & will take several years to mature. It has not seen sunlight for 2 years (grown under artificial light). I need to free up some space indoors, so I was going to put it outdoors where it would be neglected and probably forgotten.

As to your question about online purchases in Cali... I don't like to make recommendations because that's just me. I can name some good knowledgeable growers (responsibly sourced) in Southern Cali - Paul (Rainforest Flora), Andrew (CTS), Pam (Bird Rock Tropicals), Chris (Davis Farms Wholesale Tillandsia) to name a few.
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post #172 of 188 (permalink) Old 05-01-2018, 06:10 AM
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I'm blown away... that is a "heck" of a compliment ibebian! Thanks for the kind words.

In regards to your question about T. xerographica ~ not off topic at all. I really don't know what the difference is, as this is the first time I've heard of a curly variety. I personally think you hit it on the nail head (age and environmental conditions). What I do know about T. xerographica (from my experience): leaves will tighten up and become curlier the longer they go without water.

Also, T. xerographica grown from seed have a different appearance (IMO) than offsets. Seed grown 'xeros' seem to have less curl and the leaves seem to be narrower. Took a few photos to show you some examples of a young seedling and a young offset (notice the underside *base* of each plant). Both have recently been watered.

A seed grown T. xerographica (about 4 years old) - leaves are straight and narrower.



An offset of T. xerographica (about 2 years old) - leaves are broader and have more curl.



Tillandsia streptophylla is a very curly plant (young & old). These guys will get extremely curly & tight the longer they go without water. The one below has been watered recently.


If you want the "xerographica" offset in the above photo, send me a pm and I'll mail it to you (no cost, and I'll take care of the postage). It is "smallish" & will take several years to mature. It has not seen sunlight for 2 years (grown under artificial light). I need to free up some space indoors, so I was going to put it outdoors where it would be neglected and probably forgotten.

As to your question about online purchases in Cali... I don't like to make recommendations because that's just me. I can name some good knowledgeable growers (responsibly sourced) in Southern Cali - Paul (Rainforest Flora), Andrew (CTS), Pam (Bird Rock Tropicals), Chris (Davis Farms Wholesale Tillandsia) to name a few.


Wow that’s a very generous offer and one I can’t refuse, PM sent! Thank you!!!

Thanks for the list too, yes I have purchased from CTS and rainforest flora looks really good and I love their about page, apparently all inventory is grown in house and not harvested?


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post #173 of 188 (permalink) Old 05-08-2018, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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T. xerographica x rothii

T. xerographica x rothii update. Was quite surprised when I noticed this plant going into flower mode (I was unsure how it would grow and/or flower under artificial lighting). No noticeable flush in the leaves. The relativity short flower stalk starting to form seems to have more of a "rothii" look. It will be interesting to see how this one progresses, and to see how the paddles transform on the branched inflorescence (T. rothii seems to have a more inflated/beefy appearance).







A few more in bloom

T. paucifolia


T. araujei


T. ionantha (Ecuador)
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post #174 of 188 (permalink) Old 05-18-2018, 10:46 PM
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Wow I need to try and get some ionantha to get that shade of pink, beautiful.
@wastewater, I recently acquired these two plants, would you happen to be able to identify them?



The first one has a more silky, soft pliable leaf and has started to grow lighter green with a hint of blush in its new leaves now being placed outside in bright somewhat direct mid-afternoon light.



This one has very hard almost brittle leaves. There is a touch of blush on the tips of some of the older leaves but I can't tell of its been "enhanced" or not (which I hate when retailers sell that). It seems to have started a flower stalk after being placed outside. I should also say that this area can get sorta windy in the afternoons too.


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post #175 of 188 (permalink) Old 05-19-2018, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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Those old adages "trust your gut instinct" & "go with your first thought" often ring true at times, but Mark Twain's famous quote rings truer: "It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt".

So on that note... if your plants are hybrids, they can be really tough to identify (with or without flowers). I'm going to lean toward "species" and take a guess. Your first picture (based on the structure, size, along with your description of soft and silky leaves) looks like a Tillandsia capitata. Foliage can be green or grey colored with long tapered leaves (and some varieties will have a velvety foliage). In strong light and/or when in flowering mode, they will blush (yellow, maroon, red, peach - depending on the strain) with short-scaped floral bracts and violet flowers. T. capitata v. peach seems to be a popular plant in the trade. According to Pamala Koide Hyatt (Bird Rock Tropicals) the true name of T. capitata peach is Tillandsia riohondensis.

As to the second picture ("my first thought" & "gut") based on plant structure, size, and your description of hard almost brittle leaves, was T. fasciculata. But on second thought, after noticing some of the leaf tips having a red color and with the flowers forming (often coined as being in low bud), I was thinking hybrid - maybe T. concolor x fasciculata. But on third thought (Mark Twain?), the plant may possibly be a T. acostae.

I do not think this plant is enhanced, and agree with you about enhanced plants (don't understand why people do this other than for more $$$/sales to those who do not know better). A Tillandsia that blushes true, especially when flowering, vibrantly out-enhances the man made artificial enhancers anyways!

To show you how "hairy" ID's can be, check out this link: TILLANDSIA BRACHYCAULOS/ CAPITATA COMPLEX Even the taxonomists have a tough time with ID's!

Nice plants by the way! Being in San Francisco near the coast, the wind and sunshine seem to be very favorable for your Tillies. You should start seeing some nice color blushes, and strong flowering, with your growing conditions.

Late note: Progression of T. xerographica x rothii flower spike (about 13" and still gaining height).

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Last edited by wastewater; 05-20-2018 at 04:23 PM. Reason: Late note
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post #176 of 188 (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 05:52 PM
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Thanks Robb this is super helpful! The concolor hybrid could make sense too if the plant isn't enhanced and develops more coloring in the future.

Will post updates as they seem fit!


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post #177 of 188 (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 05:54 PM
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The xero x rothii looks awesome btw. 13"! I wouldn't have guessed it was that tall!


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post #178 of 188 (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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The xero x rothii looks awesome btw. 13"! I wouldn't have guessed it was that tall! Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

It's a hefty sized plant



A T. ionantha that will never disappoint in regards to blushing ('fuego')



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Thanks Robb this is super helpful! The concolor hybrid could make sense too if the plant isn't enhanced and develops more coloring in the future. Will post updates as they seem fit! Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Please do!
When your plants are in full -blown flower mode, it might help to pinpoint a more accurate ID.
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post #179 of 188 (permalink) Old 05-25-2018, 01:11 AM
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Beautiful. What are other xerographica x varieties? Are they all tending to be on the larger side?

Here is a quick update:



^ Some color on the flower stalk starting.




^ This one is decently taller than when I first got it. It seems to have stretched and bent towards the sun because when I first placed it outside, it was actually on its side (facing me), and that happened on the order of maybe 3 weeks. I was surprised at how fast it grew/changed. Now it's back right side up, and continued developing more pinkish blush.




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post #180 of 188 (permalink) Old 05-25-2018, 01:15 AM
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I'm actually struck by how these two, placed into the same outdoor area at the same time, reacted so differently.

One doesn't change its leaves change much, but starts what looks to be a rather large flower stalk.

The other lightens all leaves in color and starts growing/turning rapidly.
@wastewater, any thoughts on what might be happening?


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