This species of tillandsia was the first to wind up in my husband E’s “favourites” list. I am not entirely sure what draws him to it; it’s probably the odd tension between its clean, simple shape (like a basic crescent) and its horn-or-tentacle-like leaves.
I like T. paucifolia myself. It’s just not a flat-out favourite. I am very fond of its simplicity and its toughness: One of the two I currently have went through a harrowing period where its survival hung in the balance while I attempted to keep it in the office. Despite everything I tried (misting more, soaking, even putting it outside on a palm to get sunlight and rain), its condition just kept deteriorating to the point where I felt so bad about torturing it that I brought it home and put it with the rest of my plants outside the kitchen window.
It’s clear to me that the office environment (in my company, at least?) is not at all friendly to plants. Every tillandsia I’ve tried to keep there has either done poorly or flat-out died, except for that first T. paucifolia (it’s rallied admirably since it came home) and a bunch of T. ionanthas.
I don’t foresee growing clumps of T. paucifolia eventually, though. I’ve seen clumps at my friends’ nursery plots and they just don’t seem to look very nice once they are all in a bunch. Their graceful curves all but vanish; they straighten out and stretch out and look for all the world like any other long-leaved T. stricta-type tilly. Nothing special there! Singly, they stand out better.
I’m looking forward to seeing them flower and pup, though.