Platycodon grandiflorus, referred to more commonly as balloon flower, is a perennial flower native to parts of Asia. Gardeners around the world value the plant for its long-lasting purple to blue flowers that form from balloon-shaped flower buds, hence the plant’s common name. Although Platycodon grandiflorus takes some care to establish, it’s quite easy to maintain once planted successfully.
Starting Platycodon Grandiflorus
Sow Platycodon grandiflorus seeds directly in the garden once the soil has warmed to a workable temperature in spring. Full sun and average soil are best for balloon flower, although it will tolerate partial shade in warmer areas. Cultivate the soil at the planting site prior to planting for the best results.
Platycodon Grandiflorus Care
Water plants about once per week until the plants are well established, which usually takes an entire growing season. Reduce watering to only times of drought beginning with the second year of growth. Mulch in fall to help protect the plant’s roots through the cold winter months. Fertilize in spring with an all-purpose fertilizer and deadhead as necessary throughout the year. Stake tall varieties if they begin to fall over.
Platycodon Grandiflorus Cultivars
Numerous cultivars of balloon flower exist to suit most any garden. Some types feature a more compact growth habit while others are larger. Choose a variety that works best for your perennial flower garden or summer flower garden.
- Miss Tilly – This is an F1 hybrid with a compact growth habit that reaches only 6 to 8 inches in height and produces abundant blue flowers.
- Fuji Pink – Also known as Japanese balloon flower, this cultivar features light pink blossoms and tall growth, although they rarely require staking.
- Fuji Blue – This cultivar is what most people think of when they think of Platycodon grandiflorus. It’s striking purplish-blue flowers are highly valued and the plant can reach up to two feet high with an equal spread.
- Komachi – This unusual cultivar produces flowers that retain their balloon shape, as the flower buds do not open. It has a compact growth habit and lives indefinitely with proper care.