A small plant (to 6 inches) with a bulbous base and leaves which have endless twists, wrinkles and curls. Green with darker markings, sometimes almost appearing black, with a delicate yellow inflorescence. Native to the cool mountain forests from Panama to Peru, ours originated in the Sierra Occidental of Colombia’s Nariño Province, it thrives in moist conditions. Over the years, has been much sought after by collectors. In the days before this plant was grown in cultivation, only the rare individual plant was seen, mostly the result of someone’s very recent collecting trip.
Success rates for cultivating these wild plants was dismal, and then about twenty years ago the plant was finally produced from seed in cultivation and a transition occurred.
Though still not a carefree grower, it can be cultivated successfully with a little attention to detail. A cool, moist environment is best, as is sometimes found in terrariums. In Florida we set the plants deep in fresh moist sphagnum moss so the moisture that evaporates cools the plant and we have a very good rate of success. Pure water is a must.
A prolific pupper once established. A great plant for any serious collector, but still not for growers used to ‘benign neglect’ for their bromeliads.
I seem to have received a truly elegant form (mature leaves tending violet with new growth in a bright green in a clean spray) considering the myriad shapes and colors that this species seems to present. Happy to see Tropiflora's continuing service after all these years!