Plants are mostly up to 15 to 20 cm high and wide with some up to 30 cm.
They produce offsets or pups leading to clumps of plants.
The up to 30 to 40 erect or curved leaves are spirally arranged along a short stem.
The leaf sheath is short and the narrow triangular blades are up to 20 cm long.
Leaves have a long narrow tapering tip.
They are green but look white or grey due to the scales or trichomes.
The scales are on both sides and most dense near the base.
When the plant is flowering the leaves are pink or red.
The single terminal inflorescence is slightly longer than the leaves.
It is a spike on an erect or curved leafless scape.
The up to 15 flowers on the spike are spirally arranged.
There are ovate to elliptic bracts on the scape and 1 floral bract under each flower.
They are 1.5 to 2 cm long and 1.5 cm wide with the tip tapering to a long narrow point.
There are some scales mainly towards the tip.
The bracts are a pale pink.
Only the tips of the petals are visible behind the bracts.
The 3 ovate sepals are free or fused for a few mms at the base.
They are around 10 mms long and 3 mms wide with the tip tapering to a point.
The 3 free petals are around 2 to 2.5 cm long.
The narrow linear bases form a tubular corolla with the slightly wider lobes curved back.
Petals are pale to dark blue or bluish-purple.
There are 6 stamens with ribbon-like filaments around 1 cm long and bright yellow anthers.
The superior ovary and the single style are both a few mms long.
The 3 small stigma lobes are well below the anthers.
Tillandsia stricta hybridises easily and there are numerous cultivars and varieties.
These can vary by being larger plants, having longer leaves, white or yellow floral bracts,
pink or white sepals and white, yellow or purplish petals.