Medal Of Excellence Nominee: Ptilotus 'Joey'
July 8, 2008
The new Ptilotus 'Joey' is truly a breeding breakthrough. A native to central Australia, ptilotus offers exceptional beauty, and the side benefit of heat and drought tolerance. Large, conical spikes of feathery flowers top thick silver green foliage. The 3- to 4-inch bottlebrush flower spikes are glistening silver with a darker neon pink color near the tips.
'Joey' offers growers exceptional germination rates and a high percentage of transplantable plugs. Short crop times (approximately 14 to 16 weeks) allow for quick returns on this truly unique crop.
Excellent as an accent in mixed containers or as a compliment in annual flower beds, 'Joey' is a natural in any sunny garden location. 'Joey' is truly an exceptional plant to offer to customers who are constantly in search of what's new. Pair 'Joey' with eucalyptus 'Silverdrop,' pentas 'Northern Lights Lavender,' and salvia 'Evolution' for a show stopping combination. Perfect for those looking for exceptional heat and drought tolerance.
Life Cycle: Annual
Garden Height: 12 to 15 inches
Uses: Pot plant, mixed combination, landscape plantings
Natural flower time: Continuous
Flowering response: Long Day
Germination: Sow one seed per cell in a well-drained media with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Germinates in 5 to 7 days at 76°F to 80°F. Do not saturate and maintain moderate soil moisture levels.
Plug Culture: During Stage II, maintain 76°F to 80°F temperatures and moderate soil moisture levels. Gradually lower temperatures to 70°F to 76°F during Stage III and lower soil moisture levels. Begin feeding at 50 to 75 ppm nitrogen with a low phosphorus formula. Stage IV temperatures can be reduced to 65°F. Continue fertilization at 75 to 100 ppm. Allow plugs to adequately dry out between watering. Transplant plugs as scheduled and do not let plugs get root bound.
Growing On: Transplant plugs six to eight weeks after sowing into a well-drained medium. Do not overwater and feed at 100 to 150 ppm N, avoiding excess phosphorus and calcium levels. Grow on at 65°F to 70°F. Provide long day conditions for flower induction. Higher light levels promote shorter, better-branched plants with larger flowers.
Crop time: 12 to 16 weeks from sowing to finish.
Hints: Excess moisture at the plug stage will cause uneven germination. Do not allow plugs or plants to become root-bound, as plants will not root out. High light levels or assimilation lighting at all stages of production improve plant quality.