Tillandsia recurvata, or Ball Moss, is an epiphytic bromeliad native to the Southern United States to Northern Argentina and Chile. It has stiff, leathery, thread-like leaves 1-7 inches (3-18 cm) long. Leaves are covered by silvery-gray or brownish scales on short tufting stems. Some roots are present. The rosettes are dense forming and sometimes create troublesome colonies on telephone lines. Plants fix nitrogen and receive all moisture and nutrients from the surrounding air. This little bromeliad is the last one in our collection of Tillandsias. They are very easy to grow and make a great addition to our collection. They are hardy in USDA zones 9-11.
Blooming: As with all bromeliads, the plants will flower when they mature. In the greenhouse, they tend to bloom in the fall months. The inflorescence is reduced to a few flowers or a single flower with pale blue flowers.
Culture: Tillandsia recurvata need full sun to partial shade. In the greenhouse, we grow these with our Spanish moss under 25% shade all year long. The plants are syringed once daily all year long. No fertilizer or extra nutrients are given the plants as they will receive what they need from the air. We never let the nighttime temperature during winter fall below 60°F (15°C).
Propagation: Tillandsia recurvata is readily propagated by division.
Tillandsia recurvata was featured as Plant of the Week November 14-20, 2008.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.