Platycodon (Balloon Flowers): Number 7 in a Garden Photo Series
Do You See Flowering Balloons? Then You See Platycodons!
Also known as Balloon Flowers these delightful plants are so named because their blooms look like hot air balloons. Platycodons may be blue, pink, or white and they are easy to grow, coming back to have a party in your garden year after year.
Before you read more, try saying this three times real fast:
"Platycodon blooms flower like balloons." :)
(If you did it, you are probably already familiar with this garden favorite!)
A Quick TIme-Lapse View of Platycodon Greeting the World!
The Balloon Flower has so Many Names!
Among other names, this flower is also known as the Chinese Bell Flower. The delightful Platycodon has unique blooms with the amazing habit of forming a fat bud, then blowing up like a balloon before unfurling their sturdy petals into a crisp 5-point star shaped like a cup.
Being one of the charmers of my garden, I look forward to them each year because their behavior and presentation are so striking. Their five petaled balloons bloom into beautiful stars. They happily astonish most visitors, stopping them in their tracks, even little children who often want to touch them with one tiny finger.
No matter what they are called, kids seem to simply accept the fact that this is just the way Balloon Flowers were created and go on to enjoy and explore them. Grown ups who have never seen them before always insist on knowing what they are and finding out more about them. Without fail, everyone is curious about the Platycodon!
Platycodon: Enjoy a Time-Lapse Look at the Blooming Process
Blooming Balloon Flowers!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Platycodons are Intriguing Flowers that Bloom with a Pop
While I have an affinity for white flowers, and I do hope to grow white platycodons one day, the brilliance of this purplish-blue color is not very common. My Mariesii is a stand out no matter what else it is planted with. There is another blue that is a dwarf (like the white) and I am thinking of mixing them in a bed in the near future.
I’ve read that Balloon Flowers are delicate plants, but mine have proved to be very hardy, even recovering well when someone who shall remain unnamed stumbled and dropped a package large enough to turn the pot that the balloon flowers were growing in completely over and roll it into a stand of creeping phlox. (I’m glad I saw the event, for I would have found the whole story hard to believe otherwise.)
In that tipsy pot, my first blue balloons of this season were beginning to open under the podocarpus they have been growing with for several years now. I’ve divided them once, and hope to again this year. They grow well from seed, and I plan to harvest those for the first time this year. I’ve never tried to grow them from cuttings, but it is my understanding that it can be done.
Although these flowers can be encouraged to continue blooming by deadheading the plants, Balloon Flowers do have a fairly short bloom season in my area. I’ve decided to try to grow them in several places throughout my front islands in order to get as much impact as possible from their showtime. I especially want to start a stand in view of my kitchen window in which they can multiply at will.
Native as far north as Siberia, they do well in many areas, but are generally hardy in zones 3-8. They like moist soil that drains well, making them great companions for other plants in pots or in garden beds. I’m training my potted podocarpus into a simple topiary shape and the platycodons do a great job of filling in around its base.
Had you ever heard of platycodons before reading this hub?
An Enchanting Garden Walk--Find the Platycodons!
Photos and Videos of Platycodon (Balloon Flowers) for Your Viewing Pleasure
I hope you enjoy the photo montage. I put it together before their trip across the lawn. I enjoyed trying to catch them in that afternoon's lighting. Too bad I didn’t catch their journey of that very evening on camera!
Be sure to check out the included videos of Balloon Flowers opening up, too. It’s pretty incredible to watch them do what they do! If you want to hear more about growing this flowering perennial, catch the video below, just above the comments.
Enjoy a closer look at the happy balloon flower (platycodons) and see if you can resist including them somewhere in your own garden! If you do, you'll find them to be a faithful friend.
Sunlight for Balloon Flowers
Platycodons and More:
- Oak Leaf Hydrangea: Number 1 in a Garden Photo Series
The oak leaf hydrangea's individual flowers are very similar to the dogwoods blooms, albeit a miniature version.
- The Breathtaking Peony: Number 5 in a Garden Photo Series
They remind me of holding a newborn baby girl, or watching kittens when they are first learning to walk.
- Seven Benefits of Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening