You’re gonna just love growing Balloon Flowers, especially if you have kids. As the name implies, the immature flower buds puff up and resemble hot air balloons. Squeeze the flower buds, and they pop! You and the kids may find it irresistible to pop the buds. But, save a few, as the flowers are attractive, too. Established perennial Balloon Flower plants will grow for years and require little attention.
This low maintenance plant is native to Eastern Asia, Balloon flowers open into a two-inch across, five-pointed star of violet-blue, pink, or white, depending upon variety. But, that’s not all. In the Fall, the foliage turns an attractive gold color.
Balloon Flowers are great as cut flowers. But, the stem contains a milky sap. After cutting, seal the cut end of the stem with a lit match or candle.
Balloon Flowers attract butterflies.
Try growing them in containers, flower beds, or as borders.
Flowers Bloom: Late Spring, and again in late summer
Plant Height: 12″ – 18″
Perennial, Platycodon Grandiflora
The plants are grown from seed. They can be directly seeded into your flower garden.
Sow Balloon Flower seeds in the spring, and barely cover with 1/16″ soil. Or set them on the soil, and lightly water them in. Space seeds or seedlings 8″-10″ apart.
In addition, you can root cuttings from established plants. Use young shoots.
Plant division is also possible, but more difficult. The plants do not spread much.
Days to Germination: 5 – 21 days.
Easy to grow plants prefer full to partial sun.
They like moist, rich soil, that is well-drained. Importantly, they do not tolerate wet feet for extended periods and do not do well in droughts.
Water plants regularly, especially in hot, dry weather.
Fertilize plants in the spring, with a high nitrogen formula, And again in early summer, with a general-purpose formula.
Pinch back growing tips, to get fuller, bushier plant growth.
Plants may need staking.
Deadhead blooms to promote more flowers.
For winter protection, add a couple of inches of mulch over the plants. This is very important in colder regions.
Ideal Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.5.
Plant Hardiness Zones: 3 through 8.
Perennial Balloon Flowers are resistant to insects and disease. If insect or disease problems occur, treat early with organic or chemical insect repellents and fungicide.
Plants are deer resistant.