81010The common name sounds funny, but it is easier to pronounce then than the Latin name. Mulla mulla, Ptilotus exaltus, is an Australian species that has been locally available longer than its limited popularity suggests. It may seem to be more peculiar than it is because it is grown primarily by specialty growers, who happen to grow many cool plants that should be more popular than they are.

Like many species that are grown as annuals, the mulla mulla is really a short term perennial that can perform for a few years, but is unfortunately more often grown as a warm season annual. It will finish blooming soon, but if left in the garden through winter dormancy, young plants should resume in about April or May. It can succumb to frost if the weather gets cold enough through winter.

Although it can survive with less, mulla mulla prefers somewhat regular watering, and good sun exposure. New spring growth develops rather vigorously without getting much more than half a foot high and wide. Fuzzy cylindrical blooms that stand above the foliage are about three inches long. Floral color is pinkish mauve, with a silvery sheen. Deadheading promotes subsequent bloom.

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10 thoughts on “Mulla Mulla

  1. Hi Tony, I had no idea mulla mulla was available outside Australia, and I don’t see it in gardens here either. For me it is the quintessential desert plant, which takes me back to my time spent working in the desert in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. There are a few colours, but the mauve is the most common.

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    1. It is new to me too. Surprisingly, it seems to be new to many. I would have guessed that it had been available, but that I just managed to miss it. I do not get to nurseries often. That is one of disadvantages of growing anything I want. I have no use for nurseries.

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