This is one of my favorite flowering plants. When we were at the nursery pointing out our landscaping preferences, this little beauty grabbed my attention. When it first begins to flower, a pale green balloon appears at the end of the stem. It eventually turns to purple and then bursts open into the star shape seen in the photograph below. To see the balloon and the other anomalies with one of my plants, stop by my photography blog – just click the “Picture This” tab at the top of the page.
Without further ado, I present the Balloon Flower
|Formal Name||Platycodon grandiflorus|
|Description||This heavy bloomer gets its name from the way each flower bud swells before its starry petals unfold. As one of the easiest perennials to grow, they bloom in profusion in mid to late summer, when many other perennials are beginning to fade.|
|Soil Requirements||Well drained, slightly acidic|
|Water Requirements||Moderate drought conditions are ok, but deep watering is preferred.|
|Height||12” – up to 36” Generally smaller than 36”|
|Growing Zone||3 – 8|
|Manicuring or Pruning||Remove dead branches in early spring. Balloon flowers are late bloomers, coming up long after most other perennials have begun growing. It is best to mark their position so you do not accidentally pull them out as weeds.|
Pick dead flowers as they begin to fade to encourage more blooms. Be careful about it as the next bloom is coming in right behind it.
|Fertilization||Slow-release in the Spring|
|Growth Cycle||Late Spring through frost|
|Bloom Time||Early summer through the next two months after the first blooms appear|
|Bloom Color||Purple (most common), White, Pink|
Drought tolerant once established
|Known Issues||Generally pest-free & easy to grow|
|Planting Instructions||From seed: Press lightly into soil, but do not cover.|
From cuttings: Immediately plant in a good potting medium.