Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Joey Ptilotus is one of the most exciting new cut flowers for 2009. This is related to love-lies-bleeding. However, Joey’s blooms are quite similar to those of the feather-type celosias.
Joey represents a breakthrough for plant breeders. This is an exceptional variety of a plant that grows in the open scrub brush of the central region of Australia.
This will look especially nice in bouquets. It also makes a delightful everlasting.
Joey is a vigorous plant that is a little over a foot in height. The silvery green foliage produces a perfect background for viewing the bicolored blooms. The tiny flowers are arranged in fluffy, dense conical shaped spikes. They’re somewhat reminiscent of bottle-brush flowers. These tend to become darker colored as they age. Within the flower spike you can see several different shades. These include pink-purple and dark neon pink mixed in with silver. These can have white hairs. The flower heads are about four inches or
so in length.
From each basal rosette, a number of flower spikes will emerge. The plant is exceptionally floriferous. It will produce lots of stems for cut and dried flowers.
Especially recommended for cutting gardens, Joey is mostly treated as an annual. Being winter hardy to zone nine or so, it can be grown as a perennial in warm climates.
Joey will begin blooming about three to four months from the time the seeds are planted. Seeds of Joey are available from many seed catalogs, including Johnny’s. In addition, plants should also be available from local garden centers and nurseries. The seeds will germinate best at about 55 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit. They will sprout in about five to seven days. Don’t overwater the pot or seed flat.
Joey is very suited to hot, dry climates. In the cutting garden, the plants will need full sun. Be sure the spot is well drained as this plant doesn’t like wet soil. It needs a fairly dry soil. So, let this dry out between waterings.
Joe is already receiving honors. It was named an award winner during plant trials at Colorado State University in Fort Collins in 2008. The season was very dry and exceptionally hot, perfect conditions for this plant.
This was also named a winner at The Gardens at Ball in West Chicago. In addition, it received top honors at the University of Florida trials in Gainesville.