From Finish to Start

"Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start . . . "  - Maria Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music".

Is it alright then to start at the end, to go from the finish to the start?

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These are my Tillandsia fasciculatas.  If you look closely you will see that the one in the middle has already flowered. 

In fact, if you look even closer, there is still at least one flower in one of its tips. That little purple thing is the flower.


Usually, when a Tillandsia flowers, it means the plant will soon die.  So the plant above is not expected to live much longer.  However, before it crosses to the final finish, it helps us begin the start.  Confused?  Read on.

After the plant flowers, and if the flower was pollinated, you will notice seed pods develop. In the case of my T. fascicultas, they were pollinated naturally. I still don't know what pollinated the flowers but ants are my number one suspect. I noticed a lot of black ants crawling on the inflorescence.

When the seed pods open, you will see hairy seeds within. 

Collect these fine "hairs" if you plan to grow tillandsia from seed and sow them immediately.

When you see the little green nub at the end of the seed, the germination process has begun.

Be warned though that it takes about 5 years for a plant to mature.  That's right.  FIVE YEARS.  At least.

Not to worry.  Tillandsia fasciculata is a very generous plant.  Aside from seeds, it also produces pups.

Below, are pictures of the T. fasciculata with pups, or "baby" offsets, growing out of the mother plant.  I've numbered them for you to see how generous the mother plant is in giving offsets.

Here is another T. fasciculata of mine, also bearing pups.

Only four pups per plant?  No, those are only those that are attached to the mother plant and that can fit in a single view. So how many pups did I get in total?  Check these out:

I have 9 pups along one driveway wall.  These are 4 of them.  The other 5 are further along the wall.

I also have 7 other pups in pots on top of my perimeter wall. All of these pups came from just 2 mother plants! Prolific is the word.

So many new T. fasciculata plants to look forward to.  Sometimes, when life is near the finish, it can also be a very good place for life to start.

 

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