Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Big Blue Bromeliad

This particular house/garden plant has always been reluctant to flower. While most of the tropicals flower annually, and reliably, this particular bromeliad (Tillandsia cyanea) often goes a couple of years between flowering events, but then the display is long lasting and quite attractive. Like many tropical plants the long lasting display is produced by colorful bracts composing a large inflorescence. One or two short-lived flowers emerge daily. This is typical of pollination by hermit hummingbirds who travel a path from plant to plant across the rainforest and the inflorescence serves as a beacon for that particular stop on their daily travels. This species has large flowers for this genus. The plant itself is easy enough to grow in a hanging basket of orchid mix and soil. The grassy leaves are tempting to the felines, so growing it aloft keeps them apart.

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