Common Name Ptilotus, Pink Mulla Mulla
Genus  Ptilotus 
Species P. exaltatus 
Family Amaranthaceae
Life Cycle  Perennial in zones 10-11, grown as an annual 
Tray Size  125
Plug Care Harden off and plant out or bump up into larger pots soon after receiving plugs. It is important that Ptilotus is not left too long in their plug trays as rootbound plugs will flower prematurely and will not perform well later in the season. Being a desert plant, they must grow deep roots to achieve their full potential, so it is better to transplant at an early stage. When planting into the ground or a larger pot, be sure to not plant plugs too deeply - the surface of the growing substrate should be level with the soil surface. Ptilotus Matilda are very sensitive to neck burial. 
Netting / Staking Two layers of netting is recommended as the cut flower variety gets quite tall and can become top heavy if not properly supported. 
Temperature Range These are heat loving plants that should not be exposed to any cold weather. Plant plugs in late spring when the soil has warmed - around the same time you would plant Zinnia and Celosias (above 55F). These are a great candidate to grow in a hoop house or greenhouse over the summer as the lack of wind will encourage longer stems and the high heat will be welcomed by this Australian native. 
Spacing 6-8"
Soil Preference Ptilotus are robust, low-maintenance plants that can grow in most soil types as long as they are well draining. Sandy soils with low to moderate levels of nutrients and organic matter are preferred. Newly planted plugs should be irrigated regularly until they are well established, allowing the top inch of substrate to dry out before watering again. Plants approaching maturity are very drought tolerant as their roots will have reached a good depth into the soil. 
Day Length Ptilotus Matilda is a long-day plant that will initiate flower production at a very early stage. Plant in a location that receives full sun. 
Pinching It is not recommended to pinch the central growth point when the plants are young - this main stem will provide the best cut. It is recommended to also keep the 4-5 most vigorous side shoots that form at the base of the main stem where there is the rosette of leaves. Depending on the strategy used, there are three styles of cut stems that can be achieved at the time of harvest - 'Premium Spray', 'DeluXXe Spray', and 'Extra Spray'. Please see the detailed culture guide from Benary (the breeder) for specific instruction on how to achieve these spray types. 
When to Plant Plant well after last frost - these plants do not handle cold well and will flower on shorter stems if the temperature drops too low. Ideal temperature when transplanting is 75F and no lower than 60F at night. 
Harvesting Expect flowers 12 to 20 weeks after planting the plugs, depending on temperature and weather conditions. 4-6 stems per harvest is not uncommon. Harvest when the main plume is 1/2 to 3/4 opened - plumes will continue to open in the vase. Be careful to avoid damaging flowers when pulling them through the support netting. 
Post Harvest Care Cut stems should immediately be plunged into cool water and can be kept in a cooler at 41-50F until needed (approximately a week). Expect a vase life of 1-2 weeks especially with use of a floral preservative. 
Diseases / Insects There is no specific insect pest or disease susceptibility to report, but they are prone to root rot if planted in an area with poor drainage. 
Bailey's Notes Ptilotus flowers are one of a kind and a real standout in straight bunches or mixed bouquets. The flowers are durable and long lasting but have a movement to them that is unparalleled - they dance in the slightest breeze adding an element of whimsy to any floral creation. See the technical growing guide written by the breeder, linked below, for more detailed information on this crop. 
Resources Technical Growing Guide