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Platycodon (Balloon Flowers): Number 7 in a Garden Photo Series

Updated on March 2, 2017
Balloon Flowers have delightful habits and stunning blooms! Known as Platycodons in some circles, children love their common name.
Balloon Flowers have delightful habits and stunning blooms! Known as Platycodons in some circles, children love their common name. | Source

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
Delicate, yet sturdy.Tiny buds surprise!Look what they become.A regal flower.Platycodons are stand outs.Small buds begin to balloon.Balloons grow largerThen they are stars!As soon as first blooms fade, new ones pop out.
Delicate, yet sturdy.
Delicate, yet sturdy. | Source
Tiny buds surprise!
Tiny buds surprise! | Source
Look what they become.
Look what they become. | Source
A regal flower.
A regal flower. | Source
Platycodons are stand outs.
Platycodons are stand outs. | Source
Small buds begin to balloon.
Small buds begin to balloon. | Source
Balloons grow larger
Balloons grow larger | Source
Then they are stars!
Then they are stars! | Source
As soon as first blooms fade, new ones pop out.
As soon as first blooms fade, new ones pop out. | Source

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?

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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

Are You Familiar with the Amazing Balloon Flower?

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    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      I was not familiar with these flowers and they are beautiful. I wish you could do a panoramic view of all of your garden as the flowers you've consistently shown are so lovely.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      So glad I was able to introduce you to these fun friends! :)

      I may be able to do a panoramic view one day but it may not be before next spring. Right now we are fighting this heat wave. All the blooms are hanging on for dear life, but their little heads are drooping. We are about 10 degrees above our norm this week. It won't stay this way, but when it happens this early everything blooms early and suffers. I'm trying to plan some heat tolerant bloomers for the coming summer!

      Thanks so much for visiting and commenting, Pamela.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I had never heard of the balloon flower, what a delight it is, I am on a mission tomorrow to buy some, I love the video, brilliant hub, thank you so much!

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Another one of my favorite! The Platicydon is amazing and so is this hub! The video of a Platicydon opening was wonderful to see:) Like you I wait for more colors of this beauty, maybe someone will take an interest and succeed with it. But for now the blue color is quite enough and well worth growing. I would love to see your garden. From your great photos I am sure it is an adventure to see it all. Even though it is great to have virtual garden friends, imagine how great it would be to visit! Sharing with others is one of the great things with garden lovers! And don´t get me wrong; I so enjoy to see the beautiful bits from your garden! And I agree with Pamela that a panoramic view from your garden would be fantastic too:)


    • Becky Puetz profile image

      Becky 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      I learned a great deal about balloon flowers through your hub. I plan to try my hand at growing these beauties. I love white too, it's my favorite color. The pictures are beautiful and I enjoyed the videos too. Thanks for an awesome Hub.

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