More Flowers, A Murder, and Tillandsia

Hello folks! This morning I noticed there were two flowers on the Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. So, I went inside to get the camera so I could take a shot. To my surprise, there is a third one peeking out…

 

The bulb of the Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ is getting HUGE

 

So is the one on the largest Colocasia esculenta. If it keeps growing, it will be as big as they were in Mississippi!

 

I went back out in the afternoon and took another photo. What is really weird is that all three flowers are growing from the same petiole… An older petiole to boot! Right out of the sheath where a petiole grew from before!

Colocasia slow down their leaf production as the day length decreases to focus their energy on flowers and seeds. The bulbs swell more and their roots start dying off as they start to prepare for a rest period. While the Colocasia esculenta have not flowered since I have been back to Missouri (that’s 5 summers!), they produced A LOT when I was living at the mansion in Mississippi. The Alocasia do flower and have seeds, though, all summer long, especially the Alocasia ‘Calidora’. Then, I carry them to the basement for the winter, pots and all. The Colocasia bulbs will be lifted after they get a “F”.

When Kate commented on the last post, or the one before, she mentioned that her Alocasia macrorrhizos slows down during the dry season. I found out online even though they don’t completely go dormant in tropical climates, they do this “pseudo-dormancy” thing where they do rest during the dry season. What tropical plants do in nature depends on the type of plant it is, too. Some, plants, such as Pitcher Plants, can even be out in the refrigerator for a while. If you don’t allow some of the tropicals to go dormant, they will wear out and die. I am glad we don’t have to do that with Alocasia!

 

Well, I don’t know what to say. The evidence speaks for itself… Although she is very small, the Argiope aurantia, umm…. Well, it looks to me like she had a visitor. She either didn’t like him from the first or their courtship was deadly. Either way, she murdered him… She is the smallest of the two, her body only measuring around 1-1 1/4″. The big one that went MIA as at least twice the size. I haven’t seen any evidence of the other one having a caller yet…

 

When I went to buy potting soil from Lowe’s in August they had quite a few Tillandsia. You know, the “air plants”. They had several individual plants in bags or you could buy them in their little pots. They also had some in magnetic pots you could stick on the side of the refrigerator. I thought that was pretty neat, but I thought surely I could find something better.

I bought two of the individual plants and the potting soil then headed out the door… Dad came with me and was waiting in the car and I am sure he was wondering what was taking me so long. But, he needs to realize that even though I go to Lowe’s for a specific reason, my subconscious mind always has it’s own hidden agenda. Actually, maybe it is my conscious mind, or maybe they are both in agreement. Anyway, when I get into Lowe’s, I get what I need then I get sidetracked. OK, I will be honest. I didn’t get sidetracked. I purposely looked at the plants and they just happened to have these poor little epiphytes. SO, I had to do my duty and rescue a couple.

When I got back to the car, I put the potting soil in the trunk and put the other bag into the back seat while dad wasn’t noticing. I knew if he saw what I bought he would have pity on them and tell me to go back and buy the rest. Ok, that wasn’t the reason…

These are the first Tillandsia I have ever had for companions. Being epiphytes, they grow in tropical climates in trees without soil. They live on the moisture from the air. You don’t have to provide soil, just ample bright indirect light and mist them 1-2 times per week.

I brought them home, having no idea what I was going to do with them. I gave them a good misting and put them in a saucer on a dresser in my bedroom. I walk past them several times a day and assure them I haven’t forgotten about them. By now, I figured they would have learned some sort of sign language, but they just tell me they are doing just fine like they are. I told them I would find something special just for them and they just smile and tell me not to worry… Honestly, most plants left in a saucer in the house would be screaming.

SO, this afternoon I decided I would see what I could come up with. I found an old bag of sphagnum moss in the basement some time ago, so I figured I could use it… Then I went to the barn… Never know what you can find in an old barn, right?

I looked around a little and found this neat old wire basket that had an old plastic pot in it. God only nows where it came from and how long it has been there. It is about 4 1/4″ tall x 4 1/2″ diameter. SO, I thought that looked pretty neat and would work well with the taller plant.

 

Then I went and looked around the yard for something for the smaller one. I found rocks with holes in them but nothing clicked. Then I found this neat old hollow piece of a hedge post. The light came on! I had to sand off the end a little so it would stand up then stuff a little sphagnum moss in it. Looks fine to me!

I haven’t figured out the species names of them yet because there are a lot that look so similar. In time, as they grow and flower, I will be able to figure it out. Ummm… I have heard collecting Tillandsia is very addictive.

Well, that’s it for this post. I hope you are all doing well, staying positive, and GETTING DIRTY!

11 comments on “More Flowers, A Murder, and Tillandsia

  1. This is a new plant for me.. 🙂 and I was so interested in reading more about it.. And spiders just love getting everywhere.. 🙂 Brilliant 🙂 what you came up with to plant that amazing plant in..
    🙂 🙂

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  2. hairytoegardener says:

    Your Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ is gorgeous. I’m completely unfamiliar with this plant. You also did good with the planters for the Tillandsias. They look great!

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    • Thanks, Laura. The Colocasia do very well on the north side of the house for sure. I would like to do some work on the east side of the house from the side porch to the back porch steps. I would need to do A LOT of digging to remove the fill dirt and replace it with “THE GOOD STUFF”. Then I think I will get more different Colocasia cultivars. They should do good there with the morning sun. The Tillandsias are neat little weird plants that don’t need soil to grow in so just any ‘ol pot wouldn’t do. Thanks for the comment!

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  3. Air plants are looking good. My mother used to have some (she had all sorts of stuff!) but I don’t remember them ever flowering – maybe too cold in the UK. Even the foliage is good though, particularly the way you have planted them.

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