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Ptilotus exaltatus – Mulla Mulla: Australian Gardening Guide

Ptilotus exaltatus is an Australian native with lots of ornamental appeal due to its stunning and distinctive pinkish mauve flowers. Suitable for growing in most parts of Australia, the Pink Mulla Mulla is an easy to look after, hassle-free, attractive plant. 

If you would like to add Ptilotus exaltatus to your garden, here is everything you need to know to sow, grow and care for them at home.


Botanical name:

Ptilotus exaltatus

Botanical family:


What is Ptilotus exaltatus?

Growing Ptilotus exaltatus in Australia

Ptilotus exaltatus is more commonly known as Mulla Mulla or Pink Mulla Mulla. They are famous for their beautiful conical spikes of feathery flowers, which look spectacular as cuttings in flower arrangements. 

A native Australian plant that grows well in warm temperate, semi-arid and arid climates. They are a perennial herb, with a short life cycle so are often grown as annuals. 

It is a small shrub, growing to less than a metre high, with thick blue-green leaves. The Ptilotus exaltatus flowers are typically pink or purple in colour. The striking flower spikes are about 10 cm in size, with dense pointed petals.  

They are heat and drought-tolerant plants that can also withstand light frost when established. 

When to plant Ptilotus exaltatus

If you plan on growing Mulla Mulla from seed the best time to sow the seeds is in November. They then grow rapidly and flower from mid-autumn. Ptilotus exaltatus can be grown all year round but sowing seeds in warmer months is less ideal. 

Where to position Mulla Mulla?

Ptilotus exaltatus should be positioned in a warm, sunny part of the garden. A sunny location is an essential ingredient of success when growing Ptilotus exaltatus. They should be getting at least around 8 hours of sunlight a day. 

Mulla Mulla is best potted or planted in hot, dry areas of the garden, with excellent water drainage. Rockeries or container pots getting full sun are ideal and they can look spectacular as a complement to other natives or annuals.

Given the drought resistant nature of these Australian natives, they are ideal plants for putting in pots on a north facing patio or balcony, where other plants might suffer. Position in the middle or back of a garden display or pot, as the upright flower will contrast beautifully with those plants at the front. 

Ptilotus exaltatus Australian Gardening Guide

Best soil for Pink Mulla Mulla

Ptilotus exaltatus need well-drained soil to thrive. A light, loose sandy soil is ideal, but it will do okay in most soil types as long as they are well-drained. Mix with lots of compost before planting. 

If using a potting mix, look for a quick draining medium, ideally without a long list of additives or wetting agents. 

How to care for Ptilotus exaltatus

Pink Mulla Mulla is a quick-growing, short-lived plant that is low maintenance. The Australian native doesn’t need any additional fertiliser if it was planted in good quality soil, to begin with. 

They are drought-tolerant plants and rarely require watering. A common mistake is to overwater them, as they will often die in standing water. If planted in pots, make sure to let the soil dry out completely between watering. 

When does the Mulla Mulla flower?

In Australia, Ptilotus exaltatus flower from April to November. The long-lasting, attractive flower spikes have soft feathery pink-purple petals and make for a wonderful cut flower. 

How long does it take to grow Ptilotus exaltatus?

The Mulla Mulla plant is quick to grow. It normally takes about only around 14-16 weeks from sowing to flowering. You will then get to enjoy months of brilliant pink-purple colour. 

Now you know how to grow Ptilotus exaltatus

Pink Mulla Mulla are easy to grow in most parts of Australia. They will thrive in good, well-draining soil, if they get plenty of sunlight and you don’t overwater them. Ptilotus exaltatus needs little maintenance and will provide you with an extended display of beautiful pink-purple flowers. 

Enjoy growing these Australian natives and if you have any additional questions about how to grow Ptilotus exaltatus, get in touch

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Gary Clarke

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