|Tillandsia usneoides that spent much (but not all) of the winter of 2015-16 outdoors in Mansfield, Connecticut.|
However, one of the worst cold snaps in recent years started just a few days later, with five days around the weekend of February 13 not seeing temperatures above freezing at all, and the arctic outbreak reaching a nadir with a day with high temperatures only reaching 10°F (-12°C), lows of -10°F (-23°C), and howling winds. Although this was only a brief interlude in a record warm season, it was enough to kill all the T. usneoides material that was left outdoors.
Periods of more than a week without above-freezing temperatures, or absolute low temperatures below 0°F (-18°C) seem to cause severe or fatal damage to unprotected Spanish Moss. This winter in Connecticut we've already experienced enough cold weather to cause almost total dieback, but I wonder if some year soon we'll have conditions where T. usneoides survives an entire southern New England winter, and resumes normal growth in the spring?