One of the most beautiful and coveted Tillandsia is the T. duratii. Named after an Italian named Durat who was the first person who is known to cultivate the plant in Europe. It is a very hardy species that is most often found in the wild in Bolivia, Paraguay, and northern Argentina. They often grow in elevations of 200-3500 meters.
The T. duratii grows as an epiphyte on trees, shrubs, and cacti. Its leaves are silvery grey-green and thick. You might notice that the leaves are very stiff too, and can break easily. They wrap their curly leaves around tree branches in pursuit of sunlight. The T.duratii is able to withstand lengthy times of drought, and is a great air plant for our friends in drier regions such as Arizona.
One of only a few air plants that have fragrant flowers, when in its bloom cycle, the T. duratii puts all of its energy for several months into creating an inflorescence, which is a long stalk that the flowers bloom out of, and can reach 60-80 cm tall. The flowers are said to smell like grape soda and are normally lilac in color. The blooms last longer than any other xeric Tillandsia species, and are said to last up to a month.
The T. duratii thrives under a range of light, water, and temperature conditions. When water and light are in abundance, the duratii can grow very large with less curl to its leaves. If you like the look of the more curly duratii plant, you can cut back on how much you water the plant. You can also mount the duratii by hanging with wire, and it will create a stunning display of cascading leaves. There are also different cultivars of duratii like the thick leaved variety.