If you are the type of gardener who is constantly looking for something new in your garden, you might want to investigate Ptilotus Joey, which is fairly new to North America. On a recent walk around my neighborhood, I saw this eye-catching plant and had to find out more about it. When asked how do you pronounce it, I was told just ask for “Joey”.  It also goes by the name Mulla Mulla. This annual plant hails from Central Australia. The plant has spikes of feathery silver flowers with dark neon pink on the tips of the blooms atop silver-green foliage.                                                                                                                                             

Ptilotus Joey is an annual plant and would be an outstanding choice for any annual flower bed or mixed container.  This novelty shaped flowers grow about 4 inches long and bloom spring through fall. The plant grows 12 – 16 inches high and 12 inches wide.  This low-maintenance plant is a great selection for any sunny location. Once the plant is established it will become drought-tolerant. It prefers consistent moisture and light.

For best results grow Ptilotus in full sun for at least 6 hours a day. As previously mentioned the plant is drought-tolerant and rarely needs to be watered excluding severe drought conditions. Grow this plant in well-drained soil. It will even grow well in sandy soil. Deadheading is not required but once the flowers have faded, you can prune them to keep the plant looking well. This will also foster new growth of these beautiful plumes.  Fertilization is not required if the plant is grown in average to good soil. If you do decide to fertilize it will again foster faster and more flower growth.  Any general-purpose fertilizer will work on the plant.

While this plant is an annual flower (hardiness zones 2 – 11) if you live in gardening zones 9 – 10, you might be able to winter it over but for the most part, you will only have it for the season.  Bees and butterflies are also attracted to the flowers. This plant can also be used as a cut or dried flower for arrangements. These flower spikes will last up to three weeks in a vase.

If you are looking for plants to grow with Ptilotus Joey try the following:

Angelonia – the spikes of this will go well with the silver-pink Ptilotus Joey plant plumes.

Scaevola – this is another sun-loving, drought-tolerant native Australian plant that enjoys the same growing conditions as Ptilotus Joey.  This plant would make a great underplant to Ptilotus Joey.   

Eucalyptus – a drought-tolerant and low maintenance plant with fragrant silver-blue leaves that mature to green, look splendid with the Ptilotus Joey plant.  Both will look great in a container, garden bed or as a dried floral arrangement.

Pentas – another sun-loving plant, Pentas are also a great underplant.  Try a lavender shade with the Ptilotus. 



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